With the trade deadline having come and gone, there may be no better way to describe the St. Louis Blues than this: “…the ball is in the players’ court”.
That’s what Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong had to say when describing the current state of his organization.
But for this year’s trade deadline, it seems like the fans prayers were finally answered; Armstrong was finally listening. This team needed to make some moves before the playoff push and Armstrong, at long last, got it done.
And he did it magnificently if I do say so myself.
- Buffalo Sabres defensemen Jordan Leopold for a 2nd round pick and a conditional 5th round pick.
- Calgary Flames defensemen Jay Bouwmeester for two prospects (Mark Cundari (D) and Reto Berra (G)) plus a conditional 1st and 4th round pick.
Steals. Just one word is needed to describe those trades and it’s steals.
Without subtracting a single roster player, Armstrong has turned the Blues into one of the deepest teams in the league on the backend (defensively).
Referring to Bouwmeester, Jonathan Willis (Edmonton Oilers writer) said, “ they (the Blues) managed to add a top-pairing defenseman for what is likely to be a middling first round pick and two guys they likely won’t ever miss.”
And per Andy Strickland:
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) April 3, 2013
Projected Defense Pairs:
Extras: Ian Cole, Kris Russell
That’s depth; there’s really no other way to describe it. And to be perfectly honest Blues fans, if this team manages to squeak into the playoffs this year, then I’d put my money on them to make some noise and make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Jay Bouwmeester -15PTS in 33GP:
Enough about the future, lets talk about the present. There’s still one looming question that remains in the minds of Blues fans: after salivating over the possibility to acquire Bouwmeester for the last several years, will the left handed, top 4 pairing defensemen be that missing piece to the puzzle?
GF20-goals scored per 20 minutes
GA20-goals allowed per 20 minutes
TOI- time on ice
Comparing Bouwmeester’s average statistics over the last two years to the Blues average statistics of their entire defense corpse, it’s clear that Bouwmeester will greatly benefit the Blues in the offensive department.
To be more specific, Bouwmeester will provide tremendous help to the Blues in one key area of the game that actually becomes even more important during the playoffs: the power play.
Compared to Blues leading power play defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Bouwmeester’s TMGF20 (1.729) is lower than Shattenkirks (3.621) while Bouwmeester’s GF20 on the power play is higher than Shattenkirks (3.650 compared to Shattenkirks 2.294).
TMGF20- the average goals scored of the player’s line mates when those line mates are not playing with him
This basically means that fewer goals are scored when Bouwmeester is off the power play than when he is on it. In the playoffs, winning those close, 1-goal games can mean all the difference. Having a dominant power play could mean the difference.
Considering the Blues power play has only scored 3 power play goals in their last 10 games, Bouwmeester can be the difference.
Now while Bouwmeester’s defensive statistics might alarm some people, one has to keep in mind that he’s been a defensive workhorse for one of the worst defensive teams in the league for the last several years.
But to even further deter the notion that his defense will be an issue for the Blues, Bouwmeester has had his best season with the Flames both offensively and defensively when his HART QOT has been in the positives.
HART QOT- overall quality of the player’s teammates
In every other year, it has been in the negatives. Surrounding Bouwmeester with statistically good players has helped his game in the past and this recent transition to St. Louis will be no different.
So Blues fans, I ask you: is Jay Bouwmeester the final piece to the puzzle?
I’d say yes, he is.