BouwmeesterDebate

Was Jay Bouwmeester’s 5-year extension a smart move by St. Louis?

The Blues made big headlines when they signed Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year, $27 million extension on Thursday afternoon. The news was especially surprising considering Blues fans were eagerly waiting for the team to announce a new contract for Alex Pietrangelo. 

Bouwmeester's new contract will begin in 2014-15 and will keep him with St. Louis through 2018-19. Was this a smart move by the Blues?

The news was met with mixed reactions. Analysts and fans quickly took up strong positions either in favor or against the Blues carrying a $5.4 million cap hit through 2018-19. Some viewed it as the Blues locking up another quality defenseman for the foreseeable future. Others viewed it as yet another bloated contract for an aging defenseman. 

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Here at PDL, we chose to argue the Bouwmeester extension. Before arguing, we agreed that Bouwmeester has some of the best facial expressions in the NHL, as seen in the photo above. 

Good Decision
By: David Rogers

I follow the Blues on a regular basis over on FrozenNotes.com. I've been waiting for the Blues to announce a deal for Alex Pietrangelo. Instead, the Blues addressed Bouwmeester while he still had one year left on his old deal. At first I wasn't overjoyed with Bouwmeester's new contract. It sounded a bit too long and it wasn't the deal I was hoping to hear about. However, after reflecting on the deal for a bit, the more I think it's favorable. 

The Blues have rolled out spare parts on the left side of the ice for several years. It's been an area of weakness before Bouwmeester came over in a trade. By locking him up, the Blues give themselves a reliable option on that side of the ice and they have a bit more of negotiating power with Pietrangelo by giving him a quality partner for the next several years. 

To those thinking Bouwmeester was paid too much, stop and consider several factors. The salary cap will be going up over the next few years. As it goes up, Bouwmeester's hit against the cap of $5.4 million seems less and less significant. In fact, Bouwmeester would have probably earned significantly more money if he waited to negotiate his contract during or after the 2013-14 season. As other defenseman around the NHL are given larger contracts, Bouwmeester's might look like a bargain. 

Bouwmeester's advancing age is worrisome, but it's highly likely fans will look back at Bouwmeester's deal once the salary cap is raised and view it as a solid contract.

Bad Decision
By: Jeffrey Kleiman

I think the Bouwmeester signing is a bad move for St. Louis. For starters, Bouwmeester is at-best an average NHL defenseman who the Blues have now committed many years to and will see an inevitable decline as he gets deeper into his 30’s. The hope here is that he maintains some sort of form as he ages in order to be tradable instead of eating a portion of the cap. 

Then there’s the problem with Alex Pietrangelo. He’s still unsigned and is younger and a better defenseman than Bouwmeester. The Blues may have shot themselves in the foot here. If you’re Pietrangelo’s agent, wouldn’t you push for a higher salary than what Bouwmeester stands to make? Of course you would, and you would have a strong case as to why he should make more. Granted, Pietrangelo is a restricted free agent, but his extension will now most likely take even longer as the Pietrangelo camp tries to get more money out of the Blues. 

All in all, I think it’s too much money and too much term for a guy like Bouwmeester and I hope the Blues don’t regret this three years down the road. 

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What do you think about the Bouwmeester extension? Did the Blues make a good extension?

David Rogers

About David Rogers

Managing Editor of the NHL blog Puck Drunk Love, the St. Louis Blues blog Frozen Notes and Awful Advertisements, a blog on ...awful advertisements. Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing.

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