Jay Bouwmeester trade: Doug Armstrong gets the 'elite player' he wanted


The Blues GM said his team has "coveted" Bouwmeester for a long time.

The trade deadline isn't until Wednesday, but it looks like teams aren't going to sit around and wait until the last hour to acquire assets. That's especially the case for the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames, two teams that desperately needed to begin a fire sale before the deadline passed. Both continued that process on Monday night.

The Sabres traded veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr to the Kings, and the Calgary Flames traded Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues for Mike Cundari, Reto Berra and a first-round draft pick in 2013.

For the Blues, it's a chance that GM Doug Armstrong couldn't pass up. Armstrong has wanted a left-handed defenseman to go along with Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk all season, and he called Bouwmeester an "elite player" that he's "coveted for awhile."

But St. Louis Game Time wonders if that's one left-hander too many on the blueline:

Bouwmeester has another year on his contract at $6.68 million. He's now the highest paid person on the Blues and a big help on defense for the team. The thing is, this causes a huge logjam on the left hand side. Toss in Jordan Leopold, Wade Redden, Barret Jackman, Kris Russell, and Ian Cole, and you have about two too many. But hey, at least we have quality to choose from. Or quality to trade from; chances could be good that Armstrong is working towards acquiring a forward who can score on a regular basis.

As for Calgary, they get an undrafted defensive prospect and a goaltender that probably won't help them long-term.

The 22-year-old Cundari has played three seasons with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL, scoring 20 goals and 50 assists over that stretch. He's only 5'9, which is a considerably small size for a defenseman, but he seems to make the most out of it offensively. He's also accumulated 80 penalty minutes this season.

Cundari told the Peoria Journal Star that he's honored to be included in a trade for Bouwmeester:

Cundari has missed the last three games with a wrist injury. He had a breakout season for Peoria, with 7 goals, 18 assists and a +1 rating in 56 games.

He'll likely join Calgary's AHL farm club at Abbotsford.

"The trade caught me off guard," said Cundari said. "It's an honor to be in a trade with Bouwmeester, though, one of the best defenseman in the NHL.

"I don't know a lot about the organization I am going to. But I'm excited to get an opportunity to play there. I enjoyed my time in Peoria, too, but it's time to move on."

As for Berra, the Swiss netminder was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in 2006 but hasn't made much headway in reaching the NHL level. At 26, it's not likely he'll be considered the heir apparent to Miikka Kiprusoff that Flames fans are dying for. He did, however, do this in December:

Perhaps that's why Calgary GM Jay Feaster told reporters his team has the best two goaltenders not in the NHL?

At any rate, the Flames' return for Bouwmeester is curious considering how highly the Blues view the defenseman.

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