The Calgary Flames traded defensemen Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues on Monday as they have fallen well out of playoff contention and look to win the upcoming draft lottery in April. Bouwmeester will go to the Blues in exchange for defenseman Mark Cundari, the rights to goaltender Retto Berra, and a conditional first-round pick in 2013.
According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Flames will receive a fourth-round pick in 2013 and a first-round pick in 2014 if the Blues fail to make the playoffs. Bouwmeester currently holds the longest active streak in the NHL for most regular-season games without a playoff appearance at 750 games.
He now has a chance to end the streak, as the Blues are currently holding onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With a month left to play in the regular season, the Blues are just one-point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers for eighth place in the West.
The Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Monday, but will have to pick up the pace if they expect to hold on to the final playoff spot. The Oilers have won four straight games, surging up the Western Conference standings in the process.
The Flames are in a much less attractive situation, as they are at the bottom of the conference with the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams are in a battle to see who will hold the worst record in the league at the end of the season with the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning of the Eastern Conference.
The team with the worst record will have the best chance at receiving the first pick in the upcoming NHL Draft, though all 14 teams that fail to make the playoffs have a shot. In retrospect, the worst team in the league has a 25 percent chance of winning the first pick in the draft in comparison to having a .5 percent chance if you are the last team to miss the playoffs.
As you can see, the Flames are doing all that they can for the first pick. After losing Miikka Kiprusoff for most of February, the Flames fell out of the Western Conference playoff race and decided to go in a different direction.
The Flames continued to struggle and eventually went on to trade Jarome Iginla to the Penguins and have now traded Jay Bouwmeester in hopes of rebuilding the team. Did the Calgary Flames make a mistake by trading away their star players and giving up on the season for an advantage in the draft lottery?
[Image via Creative Commons]