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Talented blue-liner Bouwmeester calls trade to St. Louis "bittersweet"

Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester speaks to reporters in Calgary on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 regarding his trade from the Calgary Flames to the St. Louis Blues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

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Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester speaks to reporters in Calgary on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 regarding his trade from the Calgary Flames to the St. Louis Blues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

CALGARY - Jay Bouwmeester has been in this position before.

Florida's first-round draft pick in 2002 toiled with the Panthers for seven playoff-free years before being acquired by the Calgary Flames in 2009.

Since Bouwmeester has arrived in Calgary, the Flames have shared the same post-season fate as the Panthers. Calgary is now slowly being dismantled and the talented defenceman, who holds the current NHL ironman streak, is off to the St. Louis Blues.

"I've been in situations like this where it doesn't work out and they start moving guys and it's a terrible feeling because you care about those guys," Bouwmeester said Tuesday in a final availability in Calgary before joining his new team. "It's kind of a bittersweet thing I guess.

"I've been in that situation in Florida where it would seem you'd get to the end of the year and there was a few guys leaving and everyone else was still there," he said.

"You're not in the best mood because you're kind of looking down the road and it's tough. Everyone has got a lot of pride and wants to have success. It makes it a little bit tough when you see guys moving out of town."

Bouwmeester, 29, said he was approached about possibly being traded a few weeks ago but it still comes as a shock when the deal is done. But as far as destinations are concerned he's excited to be moving to the Blues, a young team with a lot of upside.

"It's a place I look at and I think they have a good young team, and not just for this year, and there's potential to be there," he said.

"If I was looking to move somewhere I didn't just want to go somewhere for a couple of months. It looks like a good spot and hopefully a good fit."

Bouwmeester is in the fourth year of a US$33.4-million, five-year contract he signed with the Flames in 2009. He currently holds the NHL's consecutive games streak at 611, which remains intact.

His trade was announced after the puck dropped between St. Louis and Minnesota, which made Bouwmeester ineligible to play in that game, but before Calgary's game in Edmonton.

"It was a classy thing. They didn't have to do that," said Bouwmeester.

"They probably jumped through some hoops to actually make it happen. It's kind of a lucky streak and something that just sort of happened but to do that was just kind of a nice gesture."

The move comes on the heels of Calgary dealing captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh last week.

The Flames get a conditional first-round draft pick, 22-year-old defenceman Mark Cundari and 26-year-old Swiss goaltender Reto Berra for Bouwmeester. For Iginla, Calgary picked up a first-round pick and two college forwards from the Penguins.

If the Blues don't make the post-season, Calgary gets a fourth-round pick in this year's draft from St. Louis and that first-round selection will be deferred to 2014.

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