Tag: Jay Bouwmeester

Zbynek Michalek

Michalek to make Blues debut vs. Wild


Defenseman Zbynek Michalek is expected to make his Blues debut tonight when St. Louis hosts the Minnesota Wild.

Michalek was partnered alongside Jay Bouwmeester at the team’s morning skate.

The Blues acquired Michalek from the Arizona Coyotes on March 2 along with a conditional third-round pick in exchange for prospect Maxim Letunov.

The 32-year-old has not played since Feb. 14 due to a concussion.

In 53 games with the Coyotes this season Michalek had two goals and six assists to go along with a minus-6 rating while averaging 21:05 in ice time.

Blues beef up defense, acquire Michalek from Coyotes

Zbynek Michalek

The St. Louis Blues have bolstered their defensive depth for the playoffs, acquiring veteran Zbynek Michalek and a conditional third-round pick from Arizona, per ESPN.

UPDATE: Per ESPN, prospect Maxim Letunov is on his way to Arizona. The Russian forward was St. Louis’ second-round pick (52nd overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and is currently playing in the USHL.

Michalek, 32, has appeared in 53 games for the Coyotes this season but is currently sidelined with a concussion. Prior to getting hurt, he was averaging over 21 minutes a night and was one of the league’s top shot-blockers — he currently sits 12th in the NHL, with 130.

In St. Louis, he’ll join a blueline that’s relatively stacked with Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Gunnarsson, Petteri Lindbohm, Ian Cole and Barret Jackman comprising the top-six. Once Michalek and Kevin Shattenkirk return from injury, Cole and Lindbohm are the two most likely to be dropped out of the lineup, but the pair will give head coach Ken Hitchcock nice depth options in the postseason.

For Arizona…well, the tank is officially on. The club has lost nine straight and shipped out three key pieces in Michalek, Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle over the last 48 hours. The Coyotes are now in a legit dogfight for top spot in the McEichel sweeps, along with Buffalo and Edmonton.

That said, Coyotes GM Don Maloney seems pleased with landing Letunov.

“Maxim is a big, skilled center with excellent upside,” Maloney said, in a statement. “He will play at Boston University next season who do a great job developing players We are excited to have him join our organization.”

Update: Michalek updated his current health status, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac…

Worth pointing out that Michalek isn’t coming to St. Louis cheaply — he’s on a five-year, $20 million contract with a $4M annual cap hit. That said, he is in the last year of that deal and an unrestricted free agent on July 1 — and Arizona will reportedly retain 50 percent of Michalek’s salary.

With Byron and Stajan out, Flames recall ’13 first-rounder Poirier

2013 NHL Draft

The Calgary Flames could get a look at one of their brightest prospects on Tuesday when they take on the Rangers at MSG.

Today, the Flames called up Emile Poirier — the 22nd overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — from AHL Adirondack, to fill one of the roster voids with Paul Byron going on IR and Matt Stajan leaving the team for the birth of his son.

The Flames also called up Michael Ferland, who appeared in 10 NHL games last season.

Most eyes, though, will be on the 20-year-old Poirier, the former QMJHL Gatineau standout that made the AHL All-Star Game this year as a rookie (Poirier leads Adirondack with 14 goals and 30 points this season.)

Taken one spot ahead of Washington rookie Andre Burakovsky in ’13 — with the pick Calgary acquired from St. Louis in the Jay Bouwmeester trade — Poirier is regarded for his strong shot and skating ability, both of which have served him well at the American League level.

“He’s one of those guys that tends to find the areas where the pucks are going to be, and he puts himself in a good position to shoot. He’s got a great shot when he does let it go,” Adirondack head coach Ryan Huska said, per NHL.com. “He’s a deceiving skater.

“I would bet most defensemen in our conference know who he is and when he’s on the ice because they have to be on their toes when he’s out there because he skates very, very well.”

Blues hoping to fill the Shattenkirk ‘void’

Kevin Shattenkirk

Two of the best teams in the NHL will meet tonight in St. Louis when the red-hot Blues host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You never know, this may even be a Stanley Cup Final preview.

Granted, the mood in St. Louis hasn’t exactly been jubilant since it was learned that defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would be forced to undergo abdominal surgery and be lost indefinitely.

Shattenkirk has 40 points in 49 games, second to only Calgary’s Mark Giordano (43 points) among NHL d-men. His 20 power-play assists are the most in the league, tied with Arizona’s Keith Yandle.

“He’s a vital part of our team. He’ll be missed, but someone else is going to have to step up and fill that void,” forward David Backes said, per NHL.com. “We can’t dwell on what we’re missing. We’ve got to move forward with the 20 guys in the lineup, wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he’s back sooner than later. But these things happen and everyone will have to pick it up just a little bit and keep moving forward.”

The Blues still have a couple of pretty good defensemen in Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo, but Shattenkirk’s absence will be felt in all situations, from even strength to the power play and penalty kill. Chris Butler is expected to draw into the lineup on defense, and he’s only played 20 games this season.

St. Louis will also be without key forwards Jori Lehtera (concussion symptoms) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder) against the Lightning.

Sharks’ McLellan: ‘We have to get better in a lot of areas’


Just five days after losing 7-2 on home ice to the Blues, the San Jose Sharks were spanked by the same score Thursday night in St. Louis.

Alex Steen, Jay Bouwmeester and Paul Stastny gave the Blues a 3-1 lead after one period.

Jori Lehtera restored the two-goal lead after Melker Karlsson had pulled the Sharks to within one and T.J. Oshie made it 5-2 after 40 minutes.

Patrik Berglund and David Backes scored third period goals while Brian Elliott made 24 saves for the win.

“For us, the two games against St. Louis give us an indication of where we’re at as a club, and where we need to go,” Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan said post-game. “There’s some high-end players on our team that really have to pick it up, and there’s also some role players that have to pick it up.

“We all have to grow as a group, and we have to get better in a lot of areas if we expect to compete against teams like St. Louis. Right now, it would be hard to find a team better than that.”

Logan Couture had the Sharks other goal while Antti Niemi made 16 saves on 21 shots before being replaced by Alex Stalock.

“You can sit here and make every single excuse in the book, but to lose 7-2 is unacceptable with this team that we have,” Couture said. “We just got beat, plain and simple, again, by that team.

“We’re better than what we’ve shown. To go out and play that team two games and get spanked like that … we haven’t been good in front of our goalies against these guys.”