After being left for dead by fans in the early part of the season, Jay Bouwmeester has experienced a career revival in the second half and will be a key part of the St. Louis Blues playoff hopes. Today he was rewarded for that rebound season with a one-year extension worth $3.25MM taking him through the 2019-20 season.
Bouwmeester was set to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this summer, but will now be back in St. Louis under an age-35+ contract. The left-handed defenseman will turn 36 in September, but was still able to suit up for 78 games this season and record 17 points. Once a premier minute-munching two-way defenseman, Bouwmeester has watched his ice time decline in recent seasons. Still, he finished the year averaging nearly 21 a night on a blue line that is relatively right-heavy. Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo were the only two who logged more minutes at even strength.
He’ll be asked to do much of the same in the playoffs, where he actually doesn’t have a ton of experience. Though Bouwmeester has suited up 1,184 times in the regular season, he has just 49 playoff games under his belt, all of them coming since joining St. Louis in 2013. He has never scored a playoff goal and has just six point in those 49 postseason contests, a number that he’ll try to increase this time around.
The Blues have two other veteran defensemen coming off the books this season as Michael Del Zotto and Carl Gunnarsson approach free agency, meaning they’ll still have room for some younger players to take bigger roles. Bouwmeester is taking quite a pay cut to stay with the team—he carried a $5.4MM cap hit this season—meaning he very well could be fine with a reduced role as well. All of that will be decided in a few weeks though, as all the focus is now on the Winnipeg Jets and the first round of the postseason.