Jay Bouwmeester will be back for at least one more season with the Blues.
News broke this morning that the St. Louis Blues had signed defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a one-year extension worth a little north of $3 million.
Reaction among the fans and media has been mixed, as you might imagine.
Early this season, he looked lost and slow, and many fans looked anxiously forward to the end of the season, when Bouwmeester would be a free agent and therefore no longer on the team. The past few seasons, Bouwmeester has made above $5 million per season, which when his contract began, was top pairing kind of money. He’s not a top pairing type anymore, and even though his play on the ice has been adequate, he’s not worth $5 million.
Well, that problem is solved. Bouwmeester will take a significant pay cut next season. His salary is much more in line with his age and capabilities.
Even so, there are those who are frustrated that he’s coming back at all. A section of the fanbase had all but tarred and feathered and burned him in effigy, so there’s little to no chance they embrace him now, even at a lower salary.
Well, let’s think of Jay Bouwmeester as a depth defenseman or 3rd pairing guy, and turn our attention to the blueline as a whole for 2019-2020.
Under contract are: Pietrangelo, Parayko, Dunn, Bortuzzo, and Bouwmeester. The Blues will control the fate of Joel Edmundson, who is a restricted free agent-to be. Carl Gunnarsson and Michael Del Zotto are pending UFAs.
Let’s assume Edmundson will be back, which is quite likely. That would give the team 6 defensemen under contract for the 19/20 season. If there’s a prospect in mind to break into the mix, then we can assume that the Blues don’t think they’ll bring back Gunnarsson or Del Zotto.
So is the blueline pretty much set for next season? Barring a major shakeup that, at this point, seems unnecessary, it’s hard to see how it isn’t. And that’s a good thing.