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Bouwmeester signs one-year contract with Blues

Defenseman gets $3.25 million, could have become UFA on July 1 @NHLdotcom

Jay Bouwmeester signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

The 35-year-old defenseman had 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 78 games with the Blues this season. He was in the final season of a five-year contract signed Aug. 2, 2013, and could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I think if it was something you're going to do, just get it done and out of the way," he said. "I'm happy. I like it here. I never shied away from that. It's a good place for a family, we have a good team."

Bouwmeester has 115 points (16 goals, 99 assists) and a plus-42 rating in 434 regular-season games with the Blues, who acquired him from the Calgary Flames in a trade on April 1, 2013.

Bouwmeester ranks 10th in games played and 15th in points all-time among Blues defensemen.

General manager Doug Armstrong said Bouwmeester is "a very important player for us, a top-four defenseman. I think he was third in average ice time for our defense, so it's nice to have him under contract for another year.

"As we enter the second season now, we'll have no further contract negotiations or talks with anyone. This was the only one that was outstanding. We're excited to have that behind us now and we're looking forward to the second season."

Selected by the Florida Panthers with the No. 3 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, Bouwmeester has 415 points (87 goals, 328 assists) in 1,184 games with the Blues, Flames and Panthers. He has six assists and a minus-8 rating in 49 Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with the Blues.

The Blues, who finished third in the Central Division, will play the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference First Round of the playoffs. Game 1 of the best-of-7 series is Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, FS-MW, TVAS3).

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