Guest Post – Is St. Louis the place to be?

The following article is a Guest Post. From time to time Frozen Notes will feature the work of other writers with the intention of providing a different perspective on the St. Louis Blues. In this instance, the following article is from Alex Jackson and it takes a look at the recent Jay Bouwmeester extension. 

One of the most important events of the summer for the St Louis Blues was getting defenseman Jay Bouwmeester locked into a longer a deal. In one swift extension, the Blues greatly enhanced their reputation as a club that's willing to spend to put together a contender. 

In the words of Doug Armstrong, it made a statement about the club. Armstrong was very clear that the outfit is entering a new phase of their existence; their investments have made St. Louis “the place where good players want to be”.

That is a lofty statement but, given the signing of Bouwmeester and the other events that have taken place this summer, NHL betting pundits believe that it is very hard to argue against him. Bouwmeester's new deal may have been the most recent example of the new era in St. Louis, but plenty has gone on before then to leave the club in a very strong position as they enter the new season. Armstrong's confidence is valid. 

Over the course of the summer, St. Louis retained numerous key free agents — Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart, Patrik Berglund, Jordan Leopold, Jake Allen — while adding depth at forward in the form of Derek Roy, Maxim Lapierre, and Keith Aucoin.

All of those deals were the platform for Bouwmeester signing a five-year, $27 million extension. Despite having a year left on his old deal, Bouwmeester agreed to play in St. Louis long-term; a sign of great confidence in the club.

If Bouwmeester is one of the final pieces of the puzzle, restricted free agent defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would be the ribbon and bow tied around the roster. 

Armstrong again seems very keen to get a deal done with Pietrangelo. This statement for a club that has been fairly thrifty in the past and enjoyed operating below the salary cap is a bold one; the Blues have always seemed to be conscious of their spending and operated $18 million under the salary cap last year.

This year, though, they appear to be very willing and able to use that gap in the salary cap and sign Pietrangelo. If you add him to the other deals, plus the team’s young core and a stable of talented draftees still on entry-level deals — Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Ty Rattie, Dmitrij Jaskin — it's no surprise that fans betting on the NHL are excited about St. Louis.