Flames Continue Moves, Send Bouwmeester To The Blues

Jay Bouwmeester Flames
Jay Bouwmeester has been traded to St. Louis. (Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)

Just a few days after sending team captain Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins for three future assets, the Calgary Flames have done the exact same thing with alternate captain Jay Bouwmeester.

The team announced early Monday evening that they have traded Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for minor-league defenseman Mark Cundari, Swiss goaltender Reto Berra and a first round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. If the Blues fail to make the playoffs this season, the first round pick will be deferred to the 2014 draft, but the Flames will receive St. Louis’ fourth round pick in this year’s draft instead.

Bouwmeester, 29, ends a four-year stint with the Flames that began with his acquisition at the 2009 NHL Draft – arguably Darryl Sutter’s last great move as Calgary’s general manager. Lauded for his smooth skating and ability to eat up tons of minutes, Bouwmeester owns the NHL’s longest active consecutive games played streak at 621 games. It was noted by Flames GM Jay Feaster that the Flames and Blues arranged for the trade conference call to occur at such a time that Bouwmeester wouldn’t be available to either club – keeping his “iron man” streak intact. In remarks to the media prior to leaving for St. Louis, Bouwmeester expressed appreciation for that gesture by his former team. Bouwmeester has the unique distinction of being the NHLer who has played the most games without making a single playoff appearance. The Blues hope that streak ends this year.

Cundari, 22, is in the midst of an All-Star season at the American Hockey League level with the Peoria Rivermen. The 5-foot-9 defender doesn’t have a ton of size and joins a defense corps that doesn’t have much either, outside of 6-foot-7 Chris Breen down in Abbotsford. But for a club that really suffered from a lack of scoring from the back-end last season, and for a coach in Bob Hartley that relies on getting defenders involved in the rush, Cundari will fill quite a few needs. He’s a pending restricted free agent in the off-season.

Berra, 26, has been a strong netminder in the Swiss National League A, most recently for EHC Biel. He’s the third 26-year-old in the Flames goaltending system, along with KHLer Karri Ramo and AHLer Danny Taylor, but gives the team options. Flames coach Bob Hartley is likely quite familiar with Berra, having coached against him last season in Switzerland. His acquisition gives the Flames some options, but also acts as a pre-cursor to further moves. At present, the Flames have Miikka Kiprusoff, Joey MacDonald, Danny Taylor, Leland Irving, Barry Brust, Joni Ortio, Karri Ramo and Reto Berra as professionals in various leagues and stages of development, and with WHL star Laurent Brossoit likely turning pro next season, the team will have to make decisions on who’s staying and going.

The potential for an additional first round selection in this year’s draft may be the highlight of this deal for the Flames. Feaster has noted that the club is pleased with the results from the past two or three drafts and with this year’s top-end expected to be quite deep, having three picks in the first round (if St. Louis makes the playoffs) could provide the Flames with an excellent windfall. Even if the Blues miss the playoffs and the first is deferred to 2014, multiple top picks in multiple drafts could also be quite the resource for the team going forward.

At present, the Flames have the following selections in the upcoming NHL Draft:

  • their own first rounder
  • Pittsburgh’s first rounder
  • St. Louis’ first rounder (if the Blues make the playoffs)
  • their own third rounder
  • their own fourth rounder
  • St. Louis’ fourth rounder (if the Blues miss the playoffs)
  • their own sixth rounder
  • their own seventh rounder
  • Ottawa’s seventh rounder

If you follow the Flames, word from the hockey Twitterverse is that you probably shouldn’t go too far away from your phones or laptops between now and the trade deadline. With Miikka Kiprusoff reportedly speaking with the Toronto Maple Leafs (with Calgary’s permission) and the team floundering, it’s possible that anyone could be moved from the Stampede City.