The St. Louis Blues signed Jay Bouwmeester to a one-year extension. The risk/reward is on the Blues side for this one.
The details on the contract are for one more season. Bouwmeester will be paid $3.25 million. There was not any immediate information on the clauses in the deal, but it would be safe to assume the no trade clause will remain in affect.
While I have not had the chance to skim over social media. I would imagine there is somewhat of a meltdown going on by those that are against Bouwmeester and there are plenty.
I would argue the Blues are taking a risk with this deal, but the reward is higher. Bouwmeester is no longer an elite defenseman, whether you ever considered him one or not, but he is still better than plenty of the options out there.
He is going to turn 36 during his new deal, which is a drawback. However, you could argue he does not have the same mileage since he has missed games due to injury.
Also, he is healthier now than we might have ever seen him outside of his first year or two in St. Louis. You could clearly see the difference between Bouwmeester from early in 2018-19 to now. The difference has almost been night and day.
Although we were told he was healthy in training camp and the coaches said he looked good, he looked like a lost puppy out on the ice to start the year. His footwork was like having skates in cement blocks. His positional awareness was next to zero. Bouwmeester looked like a guy that was needing to hang things up.
He stuck with it and the Blues stuck with him through those bumps and bruises. When his hip finally got up to speed, the game returned to normal for him. His offense will never be what fans hoped for when the Blues signed him, but he has morphed himself into a solid defensive defenseman.
Bouwmeester constantly breaks up plays now instead of making mistakes. He might still have lost a step, but his footwork has improved and he is usually in good position now too.
The Blues also managed to save some money. It will not be the full $5.4 million fans were hoping to have off the books, but you are still getting over $2 million to spend elsewhere.
Additionally, most don’t like this idea these days, but Bouwmeester is still a better option than most of the team’s blue line prospects. Jordan Schmaltz has not gotten an extended look, but he has not given coaches a reason to let him continue playing. Jake Walman is still high on the depth chart for the organization, but he has yet to prove he can thrive at the professional level either.
In the end, this deal is fine. It would have been nice to have the full $5 million off the books, but you never know what is available on the free agent market. Keeping what you know can be just as good.