Veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, 29, said that the reason he signed a five-year, $27-million contract extension with the St. Louis Blues is that the talent is already in place.
"It seems like that they've got pretty much everyone signed now through at least the next couple of years," he said. "You've got that nucleus of guys that probably aren't going anywhere ... The fact that everyone is going to be back, and you add some guys, there's some optimism going forward." Bouwmeester was aware that the Blues wanted to make him part of that nucleus, but wasn't sure how long the club had in mind. He was impressed when GM Doug Armstrong proposed adding five years to his existing deal. "The first offer that was talked about was for that length," Bouwmeester said. "For them to show that interest and I guess have faith in me for that period of time, as a player, you view that as a real positive thing." Bouwmeester has played in 764 regular-season games, but he doesn't turn 30 until September. He will be 36 when his new contract expires.