Kevin Lorenz, Tue, 02 Apr 2013 04:04:00 GMT
(With Jason Fink out of town, I can only try to keep the bar as high as he has set it. Best Wishes and Congrats to you, sir!)
The Blues beat the Wild 4-1 last night, but that’s hardly the lead.
after acquiring jordan leopold on saturday for a second rounder and a conditional fifth rounder that becomes a fourth if the blues win a playoff series, blues’ gm doug armstrong might as well have dropped the mic live on fox sports midwest after announcing the blues’ acquisition of jay bouwmeester from calgary, one of the biggest trades not occurring in pittsburgh during this deadline season.
The Flames will receive Mark Cundari, Retto Berra, and a conditional 1st round pick in this summer’s draft (considered by some to be the deepest draft since your buddy started his Be A GM on beginner). If the Blues fail to make the playoffs, that first round pick becomes a 4th rounder in 2013 and a 1st rounder in 2014.
When the season began albeit a little later than usual, the number one question at the top of many analyst’s predictions –reserved for the two Stanley Cup contenders”was who would play on the left side of the Blues’ defense with Alex Pietrangelo?
The goaltending was supposed to remain solid, (it couldn’t possibly be any better could it?), the team scoring was going to take us for a wild ride with the addition of Russian Phenom Vladimir Tarasenko (who did not disappoint early, began to slip just ever so slightly, then suffered a concussion to derail his season; healthy now, he is slowly re-finding his game), and Alex Pietrangelo was going to assert himself as a Norris Trophy candidate, .as soon as he found a partner that could handle 25+ minutes a game without making too many mistakes along the way.
First it was Ian Cole who was given the opportunity, then Kris Russell, then Wade Redden before Jackman left his padawan learner Kevin Shattenkirk to help stabilize the top pair. The two performed admirably, able to push back those nagging feelings that we all may have had that indeed that pair was a temporary fix to an increasingly frightening problem.
As fears about the left side of the defense mounted, the names started to fly in: Dion Phaneuf of Toronto, Robin Regehr of Buffalo, Nicklas Grossman in Philadelphia, and then always on the fringe, always that last whisper before the message boarders turned their lights off and got tucked in by Mom, that final name was Jay Bouwmeester.
I’m not around the team anymore, but I can say that Bouwmeester is a name that was receiving interest at the end of last season. As I saw his name continue to pop up on twitter, I wondered if it was a symptom of lazy rumor-reporting, or, as I see now, legitimate reporting based on a story that just wasn’t going away. Through that lens, we shouldn’t be shocked that Jay Bouwmeester is finally in St. Louis, through another, it seems like a miracle.
Bouwmeester comes to the Blues with 15 points (6g, 9a) and averaging 25:00 per game. His career high of 46 points came in 2006 with the Florida Panthers. Since being traded to Calgary, he hasn’t scored 30 points, but there are many scouts and insiders that believe Bouwmeester can reach another level, and pairing with Peitrangelo could be what he needs. At the very least he provides great skating, a Pronger-Light outlet pass, a potential to QB on the power play, and some size to the backened. Blues fans will have a chance to see for themselves if his reputation of being soft is deserved, or just another unfair perception that comes from playing with a sizable contract.
Jay Feaster is having a rough tenure as general manager of the Flames. You can see it in what’s left of Calgary’s payroll, and how much money goes to some pretty underwhelming players. You can see it in the way he handled the Ryan O’Reilly offer sheet, not only giving the player a massive overpayment, the team a swallowable haul in picks, but then also having to come up with an alternate interpretation of a waiver rule that could have sunk the whole thing anyway had Colorado not matched. His handling of the Jarome Iginla trade, despite Iginla’s final decision that it would be Pittsburgh or bust, produced a less than stellar return for the Franchise’s newest Icon. And then finally with his last trade piece worth a damn, Feaster sends Bouwmeester to a team desperate for the top 2, left handed, puck-moving role that he plays for Mark Cundari (a 5’9 puck moving defenseman that will have plenty of success in the AHL, but will struggle mightily in the NHL), Reto Berra, a Swiss goalie who at age 26 has not yet left the Swiss league, and doesn’t seem to want to start in the AHL to fight for a spot (Hockey’s Future lists him as a 6.0 D, meaning at his best his a backup goaltender, though he more than likely won’t be near that max-best) and a 2013 First round pick, or a 2014 1st. I suppose that after the Erik Johnson deal, anything were possible, but if you see Doug Armstrong at the deli, give him a little extra on the scale before you charge him; he continues to exude confidence behind the phones in the Blues’ front office.
He’s going to need it. The Blues now have a new problem on defense; a surplus. They have 6 players who can play the left side, and 3 that will stay on the right side. You figure on your œA Game� night Russell, Redden, and Cole will be watching from the press box. Is there another move coming? It should be no secret that the Blues could use another center, even if it is a third liner. What about the sudden increase in payroll? Can they support a defensive squad that includes Bouwmeester making $6.6 Million, Pietrangelo making potentially $7 million, and Shattenkirk making around $5 or $5.5 Million? It’s possible that problem is fixed before Wednesday, though more likely someone gets moved in the summer. Finally, what will the Blues do with the goaltending situation if Halak’s injury, suffered early in the Blues’ 4-1 win on Monday, proves to be bad? Tune in.
The trade deadline is Wednesday afternoon at 2.