The St. Louis Blues' and general manager Doug Armstrong announced on Monday that they have re-signed veteran defenseman Barret Jackman to a three-year contract worth $9.5 million.
“Barret has been a solid leader for our club, on and off the ice, and we’re happy to have him in the fold for the next three years,” said Armstrong. “He’s a staple of the organization and the community and his positive influence on our young core has and will remain an invaluable asset.”
“We had a good discussion after the season and when I got back from the World Championships I wanted to make sure Barret felt that this was still the right place for him to continue his career and he felt that he wanted to stay here,” said general manager Doug Armstrong. It then became a business decision, an economic decision, and we were able to work through that. Both sides are satisfied and excited about moving forward.”
The Blues chose to start conversations with Jackman before any of the other unrestricted free agent defenseman because of his role.
“We chose Jackman because of his tenure here, and the role he played on our team not only on the ice but as a leader. He was a primary guy for us to go to, so he was the first player in that area that we went to in order to get a quick solution with him so he stays here.”
The 31-year old veteran dressed in 81 games for the Blues in 2012 accumulating 13 points (one goal, 12 assists). Jackman's regular season was above average for him, as shown by his plus/minus rating of +20. Jackman is always one of the top shot-blockers on the Blues team, and this past season he put his body in front of a team-leading 153. His veteran experience and leadership in the locker room was a quality the Blues did not want to lose after having their second best regular season in franchise history.
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“He played very well last year and he’s been through a lot of experience here in St. Louis and we need him to be a player first and foremost, leadership is a secondary thing," said general manager Doug Armstrong. His five on five play is strong against other team’s good players, and his penalty killing is something we wanted to ensure we have.”
“We looked at his season this year, and we think that he still has a lot of good hockey left in him. We had five defensemen and we needed seven, ‘Jax’ gives us six and now we are on the hunt for one more.”
It was estimated that Jackman would fetch around $4 million, or more, if he decided to test out the free agent market, but it is apparent that he cared more about remaining in the city and the organization he has called "home" since being drafted by St. Louis in 1999.
“St. Louis is our home and my family and I are excited to be staying,” said Jackman. “I am proud of the progress we made this season but our fans deserve a championship and our team will not be satisfied until we achieve that goal."
The 6-foot, 205-pound defenseman has spent his entire 10 year NHL career with the Blues, compiling 139 points (20 goals, 119 assists) in 598 games. He is the Blues' only Calder Trophy winner, a feat that he accomplished in 2003 as the NHL's top rookie. Despite St. Louis being his "home", Jackman wanted neither side to do any "favors" for the other party and Doug Armstrong felt the same.
“I think you have to be honest to your franchise and your team, and compliment players that you believe can help and we think ‘Jax’ fits in that category.”
The left-handed defenseman was drafted by the Blues in the first round ( 17th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He is now the longest tenured Athlete in St. Louis among all sports teams.
According to Capgeek.com, the Blues still have $12.2 million in cap space remaining to spend, and have two restricted free agents they want to get inked to deals in T.J. Oshie and David Perron.