The St. Louis Blues took a big step to ensure that they will have one of the top groups of defenseman in the Western Conference for years to come, as they signed Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year extension on Thursday. The Blues gave up two prospects and a first round draft pick at the trade deadline to get Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames, and were clearly impressed with what they saw in his 14 games with the team last season. There was one year remaining on Bouwmeester’s previous contract (2013-14 season), but now the Blues don’t have to worry about him being a free agent next summer. With Bouwmeester, Barrett Jackman, Jordan Leopold, Roman Polak and Kevin Shattenkirk all signed all the Blues have left to do is lock up Bouwmeester’s defense partner Alex Pietrangelo to a long-term deal and they will have a group of six blueliners that should help them return to the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
Coming to St. Louis has worked out pretty well for Bouwmeester so far, too. After years of toiling with basement-dwelling Florida Panthers and Flames teams, he finally reached the playoffs last season with the Blues. In 764 career games, Bouwmeester has scored 72 goals and has 307 points. He also owns the fifth-longest ironman streak in league history, and is the current leader in that category with 635 consecutive games played. The Blues know he’ll be in the lineup whenever possible, and now they know that he truly believes in the future of the team. A five-year deal that pays him $5.4 million per season beginning with the 2014-15 campaign isn’t a bad deal either as it is less than the nearly $7 million he will earn this season. It’s also important to remember that for all of his experience, Bouwmeester is still only 29 years old. All that’s left for the Blues now is to get a new deal for Pietrangelo done.