With the trade deadline quickly approaching this afternoon, the Blues have arguably gotten exactly what they needed with the trades that brought the arrivals of Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester. The Blues had their eyes on Bouwmeester ever since the 2012 draft according to general manager Doug Armstrong. A deal was in the process of being complete at the draft, but nothing ever surfaced and talks broke off. Andy Strickland had a very interesting article in one of his tweets today, mentioning how he had spoken with Bouwmeester’s former teammate in Calgary, Lee Stempniak. Stempniak claims that Bouwmeester is “the best skater in the world.”
Bouwmeester could really return his game back to the all-world level in the Ken Hitchcock‘s defense oriented system. There have been points in the season in which the Blues were having serious difficulties in breaking the puck out of their defensive zone, and Bouwmeester with his great puck moving skills and awareness, could heavily influence the movement of the puck out of the defensive zone and back to a more sustained offensive attack. Bouwmeester isn’t all defense however, and his track record while he was with the Florida Panthers from 2002-2009 proves this. In those 7 seasons, he registered 203 points, including 53 goals. His production slowed down when he was with Calgary, but this is to not take away from the potential that still may loom in his career. Moving to a promising, young team such as the Blues could add a little youth to his game, and see him thrive to his absolute highest potential. I think that playing alongside a fantastic young defensemen such as Alex Pietrangelo will also create for better offensive opportunities and make for a very threatening first pairing defensive team. Tomorrow night in Chicago will be the first chance to see what kind of a player the Blues got from Calgary, and judging by Bouwmeester’s career to this point, I feel Blues fans will be thoroughly impressed.