To solidify its stance that they are going to rebuild from scratch, the Calgary Flames dealt defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues for their first-round and fourth-round draft picks of this year’s draft. If the Blues do not make the playoffs this year, the first-round pick will be deferred to the 2014 draft. The Flames also receive defenseman Mark Cundari and goaltender Reto Berra.
Bouwmeester becomes the second Flames player to be shipped out of Calgary before the trade deadline, as general manager Jay Feaster traded captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh for the Penguins first-round pick in 2013 and the rights to college players Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski.
Bouwmeester becomes the Blues’ highest paid player by a large margin, leaving a $6.687 million cap hit on their books through next season. The move has left some in shock, considering that St. Louis have numerous free agents this offseason that need to be signed, such as Andy McDonald, Chris Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrik Berglund.
Remember that the salary cap drops to $64.4 million come next season, and the shocking part is that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong didn’t convince Feaster to retain some of Bouwmeester’s salary, which is permissible under the new collective bargaining agreement. It’s a lot of salary to undertake for a player who has only 71 goals over the span of his career. At the same time, the Blues have a ton of cap space. In fact, they have one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL ($52.1 million plus bonuses).
On the other side of the coin, Calgary has decided to stockpile draft picks for what is arguably a stacked draft class this year in order to make their team a contender down the road. Their deadline may not be over, as it has been rumored that they have given the Toronto Maple Leafs permission to speak to Mikka Kiprusoff’s agent about a trade and a contract extension with them.