Jay Bouwmeester just became the hottest name on the trade market.
After rejecting a multi-year deal last week that would have severely underpaid him for his services in Florida, J-Bo has instead signed a one-year deal worth $4.8 million.
SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers General Manager Jacques Martin announced today that club has agreed to terms on a one year deal with defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
Bouwmeester, 24, played in all 82 games with the Panthers last season recording a career high 15 goals, while ranking first in the National Hockey League with 27:28 of ice time per game. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound blueliner has played in all 82 games for the Cats in each of his last three seasons. For his NHL career, he has played in 389 games, all with Florida, scoring 38 goals with 123 assists and 261 PIM.
The Edmonton, Alberta native represented the Panthers in the 2006-07 NHL All-Star Game and played for Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. He has also represented Team Canada three times in the World Championships (2003, 2004 & 2008), while also playing on Team Canada’s gold medal winning World Cup of hockey squad in 2004.
Bouwmeester, whom rumormongers have already linked to about 15 different teams regardless of their ability to trade for him, will almost certainly be dealt before the trade deadline this year, and likely earlier. As I said last week, the line to just negotiate for such a trade will surely be around the block.
However, given that Martin has everyone in the league over a barrel with this bargaining chip, and given that he might be one of the worst general managers in the NHL, it’s tough to imagine that a Luongo-type trade is not in the works.
A certain rumor maker-upper has him going to at least half the Eastern Conference:
Toronto (15%) Ottawa (5%) Boston (10%) Edmonton (5%) San Jose (10%) Dallas (15%) Colorado (15%) St Louis (15%) Pittsburgh (10%)
This also ignores the fact that hardly any of these teams have the juice (read: high draft picks and top prospects) or the desire to deal said juice to acquire Bouwmeester. It also ignores that this blogger/Sportsnet employee (which tells you everything you need to know about Sportsnet) has in the past two weeks also linked J-Bo to Calgary, Washington, Buffalo, the Rangers, and St. Louis. Being that St. Louis is the only team to make both lists, I assume that’s where Bouwmeester is headed.
To St. Louis: Jay Bouwmeester
To Florida: Dan Hinote, Andy Wosniewksi, 4th round pick.
For the sake of our hockey sanity over the next six months, please make it happen, J.D.