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Flames send Bouwmeester packing

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CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames continued to usher big names out the door with the trade of defenceman Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

The move comes just ahead of the NHL's trade deadline Wednesday and 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.

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

"He's certainly a big body and he's a tremendous skater," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He's a workhorse back there and he logs 25 minutes a night on a regular basis. He gives us, really, what we believe is one of the stronger defences in the NHL right now.

"When you bring Jay and (Jordan) Leopold into it with the consistent players we have on the right side, we have a lot of players now."

For Iginla, Calgary picked up a first-round pick and two college forwards from the Penguins.

Bouwmeester was in the fourth year of a US$33.4-million, five-year contract he signed with the Flames in 2009.

The departure of he and Iginla represents almost $14 million salary cap dollars off Calgary's payroll.

Calgary was 13-16-4 and 14th in the Western Conference heading into Monday's game versus the Oilers in Edmonton. The Flames announced the Bouwmeester deal prior to puck drop.

Facing a fourth straight season out of the playoffs, it appears general manager Jay Feaster has been given the green light from a Flames ownership to ship expensive veterans out of the lineup.

When he traded Iginla, Feaster said he didn't want to use the term "rebuild" but the Flames are clearly collecting draft picks and prospects with a view to becoming a playoff team in the future.

Bouwmeester, 29, has been a durable, big-minute man for Calgary, averaging just over 20 minutes per game this season. The Edmonton native has six goals and nine assists in 33 games.

Meanwhile, veteran defenceman Robyn Regehr dropped his no-trade clause to allow the Buffalo Sabres to deal him to the Los Angeles Kings, where he'll be reunited with his former coach, Darryl Sutter.

The trade was announced by both teams on Monday night, with the Kings saying the deal is contingent on Regehr passing a medical exam. In exchange, the Sabres acquired the Kings' second-round picks in 2014 and 2015.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 2, 2013 C4

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