Buried in Jeff Gordon’s mid-season grades for the Blues is Jay Bouwmeester. J-Bo earns a well deserved D+ overall, redeemed slightly by better play as of late but still not high on the list thanks to his early struggles and absolutely God awful luck.
Bouwmeester hasn’t been the same since his hip surgeries and it wouldn’t shock anyone if he didn’t need some work done after he retires. He also has a contract that has become more of an albatross than anything else. This year is it on a five year contract worth $5.4 million a season, which was a slight dip from the previous five year contract that he had with the Calgary Flames ($6.6 million). $5.4 million for a healthy Jay Bouwmeester is fine. $5.4 million for the Bouwmeester the team has had for the past couple of years is not.
The Blues are in a weird place going into the trade deadline - they’re playing better and just three points out of the last wild card spot. As of right now, the team isn’t in free fall. So do you sell? If Doug Armstrong decides to buy, he’s going to have to sell for salary space if he’d like to buy and sign.
Fans have been hoping that Jay Bouwmeester’s for sale for a while, but with his play this year, who would want him? Rivals, apparently. From Gordon’s column:
GORDO ON BOUWMEESTER: At 35, it’s no fun coming back from hip surgery. It took Bouwmeester several weeks to regain his skating stride this season. His plus-minus rating was minus-10 through November, then plus-2 in his next 24 games. His possession metrics remained underwater past the season’s halfway mark: Relative Corsi For (minus-6.7 through Monday’s game) and Fenwick (minus-6.1). But he has elevated his play to the point where scouts from rival teams are tracking him in case the Blues make him available before the NHL trade deadline.
He’d make a perfectly cromulent rental for someone on the playoff bubble, and then he (and his salary) would go, probably via retirement. Should the Blues ship him off? If Armstrong is confident that it wouldn’t mess up the defense’s chemistry, sure. He’s gone regardless. Getting something while getting rid of that contract would be nice.