Jay Bouwmeester Returns to the St. Louis Blues Lineup

Jay Bouwmeester
DENVER, CO - MARCH 21: St. Louis Blues defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester (19) during a regular season NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the visiting St. Louis Blues on March 21, 2017, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jay Bouwmeester will play his first game of the season with the St. Louis Blues tonight against the Edmonton Oilers. Bouwmeester fractured his ankle after taking a puck to it during training camp. He missed 21 games.

Jay Bouwmeester’s Impact

While the Blues have been winning without Bouwmeester, they have been struggling on the penalty kill. The Blues penalty kill percentage is currently 22nd in the league at 78.3 percent. Last season when Bouwmeester was healthy, the Blues penalty kill percentage was third in the league at 84.8 percent.

Head coach Mike Yeo had this to say about his return, “A veteran presence, defender, skating ability, definitely have missed him on the penalty kill, looking forward to getting him back.”

Blues starting goaltender Jake Allen is also pleased with his return, “Consistent play, penalty kill, eats up big minutes against opposing teams, which is tough to do.”

Fitting Bouwmeester In

With the return of Bouwmeester, the defensive pairings will look like this:

Joel Edmundson and Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn and Robert Bortuzzo

For now, Bouwmeester is replacing Carl Gunnarsson in the lineup. Once Bouwmeester gets back into the swing of things and feels more comfortable, he could switch places with Joel Edmundson and be part of the top pairing with Alex Pietrangelo. It will probably take a few games before this is even considered. Rookie Vince Dunn gets to keep his spot in the lineup for now.

Bouwmeester’s Career

Bouwmeester was drafted third overall in 2002 by the Florida Panthers. He has played 1071 career games over 14 seasons with the Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, and St. Louis Blues. In those 1071 career games, he has 391 points. Between 2004 and 2014, he appeared in 737 consecutive NHL games, which is one of the longest iron-man streaks in NHL history. Throughout his career, he has averaged 24:38 minutes of ice time per game.

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