The St. Louis Blues made a big move on Thursday, signing defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year, $27 million contract extension — ensuring he won’t go to free agency when his current deal expires at the end of 2013-14.
The extension is interesting on a number of fronts.
One is the timing perspective — St. Louis completed it prior to (or, made it a higher priority than) re-upping with prized RFA defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who has been without a contract since July.
According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Bouwmeester deal apparently won’t affect any future contract for Pietrangelo.
Also intriguing is the amount of money St. Louis has locked into its defense.
The Blues are carrying Bouwmeester’s extension, Kevin Shattenkirk’s four-year, $17 million deal, Roman Polak’s five-year, $13.75 million deal, Barret Jackman’s three-year, $9.5 million deal and Jordan Leopold’s two-year, $4.5 million deal.
Add it all up, and the Blues are now spending $3.3 million per defenseman, according to CapGeek — the fourth-highest total in the NHL.
And that’s without Pietrangelo.
Another interesting wrinkle? Bouwmeester is taking a pay cut to stay with the Blues.
His current deal carries a $6.68 million cap hit (a five-year, $33.4 million contract originally signed with Calgary in 2009) whereas his new one comes in at $5.4 million annually.
With the extension, St. Louis has the 29-year-old rearguard under contract until 2018-19.
Bouwmeester was acquired by the Blues prior to last season’s trade deadline and appeared in 14 games for the club, scoring seven points.
He also made his playoff debut in St. Louis’ opening-round series loss to the Kings, averaging 25:08 TOI per game — second only to Pietrangelo.
This is the second five-plus-year deal Bouwmeester has signed over the course of his career. Combined with his first contracts in Florida, he projects to make $72.9 million in lifetime NHL earnings, also according to CapGeek.