The Calgary Flames have traded defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a first round pick and prospects Mark Cundari and Reto Berra.

Bouwmeester dealt to the Blues.

Bouwmeester dealt to the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Analysis to follow, but the Flames are blowing their roster big time right now. Once again, it appears the Flames aren’t getting much in return for one of their best players. It was understandable with Iginla, who was an ageing star eligible to free agency this summer. Bouwmeester is 29, still in his playing price, and while overpaid at $6.6 million, still had a year remaining on his contract. It was expected the Flames would get more in return for him. Cundari, 23) was in his third season with the Blues AHL affiliate in Peoria, while Berra (26), has spent his entire career in the Swiss leagues. The first round pick, should the Blue makes the playoffs, could come in anywhere between 10th and 16th overall, depending of course on where they finish. If the Blues don’t make the playoffs, the Flames get the Blues fourth round pick this year, and their first round pick next season. If the Blues make the playoffs, the Flames would have three first round picks in this year’s entry draft, which is expected to be deep in promising talent.

The Blues had been linked to Bouwmeester for some time, and head coach Ken Hitchcock is reportedly a fan of “Jay-Bo”. Ultimately, they got what they wanted without having to give up much in terms of prospects and talent. Adding his salary boosts their payroll for next season to $38.8 million invested in 13 players. On the one hand, it gives them plenty of cap space to re-sign Chris Stewart, Patrik Berglund, Alex Pietangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. On the other hand, it means they’ll have to spend toward the cap ceiling of $64.3 million, something they’re not used to doing. To retain their key players with Bouwmeester on the roster, they’ll have little choice, or else shed salary elsewhere.