The St. Louis Blues pretty much have their defensive core figured out for the 2021 season. It won’t include one man, but that does not mean he is done with the franchise.
The St. Louis Blues lost a big piece of their defensive core when Jay Bouwmeester was sidelined following a heart issue back in February. Once we all knew he would be alright, the focus switched to what Bouwmeester’s future might hold.
Of course, the likelihood was and still is that he will be forced to retire from playing. No official decision has been made and few could fault Bouwmeester if he wanted to chance playing one more season, only because you only have so many years available to play sports.
Nevertheless, the Blues have not closed the door on Bouwmeester as a player, at least publicly. Their roster construction would indicate the team has already moved on though, at least in an on ice capacity.
It makes sense. The device implanted to keep his heart rhythm going can be disrupted by physical contact, so even if Bouwmeester wants to play, there might be insurance issues.
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That doesn’t mean Bouwmeester might not stay employed by the Blues. In fact, if he has a mind to do it, Doug Armstrong has a role in mind for Bouwmeester already.
As reported by St. Louis Game Time, Armstrong told the Cam and Strick podcast that he would like to utilize big Bouw as a scout. Again, it would depend on whether he even wants to do it, but that seems like a perfect role for Bouwmeester.
He clearly has a great mind for the game. The way he sees the ice made him an elite defender when healthy and still a solid defender even when he was dealing with a hip issue.
Sometimes star players don’t make good coaches or analysts because they had too much God-given talent. That makes it harder for them to connect the dots with how to judge what other players can and can’t do.
Bouwmeester had plenty of talent, but he also had to work at it. Combine that with his hockey sense and he would be a very valuable asset to the franchise in that capacity.
This would not be the first time the Blues utilize a former player in a scouting role either. Keith Tkachuk is a part-time scout for the Blues and he played a role in the team selecting Scott Perunovich.
This seems like a perfect transition for Bouwmeester. It would allow him to stay close to the game, while not being away from his family completely if they make him a part-time scout that only covers the areas near where Bouwmeester lives.
Time will tell. Clearly the two sides are still interested in having a working relationship of some sort. At this point, it seems to have to do more with working out the kinks than anything, but we will see. I’d love for Bouwmeester to stick with the franchise.