Gone are the days of the wait and see Blues, apparently. They saw with Jay Bouwmeester, just like with Jordan Leopold, that the veterans focused and calmed Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo. The defense became a lot more focused with the addition of those two players, and the Blues brass liked what they saw.
They re-signed Leopold to a two year deal, carrying the 32 year old through until 2015 at a reasonable $2.5 million cap hit. Bouwmeester, who is three years younger than Leopold, got a contract extension today out of the blue that's three years longer than Leopold's. It's also significantly more pricy, at $5,400,000 - which is still less than his previous cap hit of $6,680,000. His new contract seems more reasonable for a player of Bouwmeester's caliber, and it's good to know that Pietrangelo has some security in who his defensive pairing partner will be in the future.
It is a little surprising that the Blues would secure Bouwmeester for that long. He's a solid defenseman, has played well with Pietrangelo, and you really can't use the whole "he's only played in the playoffs once!" argument against him considering the teams he has played on. What makes this surprising is the length of the term. Of course, if necessary, Bouwmeester is tradable - and if it's not necessary to trade him, Pietrangelo has a solid veteran presence to continue his development. His season-starting slump turned around with the addition of J-Bo to the line-up. I'm sure that was fresh on Doug Armstrong's mind when this extension was signed.
By all accounts, the Blues worked their magic on Bouwmeester, who joins a long line of guys who have said that they wanted to stay a Blue. It's always nice when they're not saying that on their way out the door, but after they've signed a contract.