LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 03: Barret Jackman #5 of the St. Louis Blues looks on in the second period against the Los Angeles Kings in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Unlike another long-tenured No. 5, Barret Jackman wanted to stay in St. Louis.
The Blues defenseman was set to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1, but that won't happen. Early Monday the Blues announced that the longest-tenured member of the Blues would be around for another three years. The Blues signed Jackman, 31, to a three-year deal. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted that deal is worth $9.5 million total ($3, $3.25, $3.25).
Jackman's return will, once again, reignite the long-standing debate about his worth. Some will say that Jackman is slow, useless, bad at hockey and the reason the Blues get scored on. Others will say those people are wrong.
Jackman had the unfortunate luck of beginning his career playing with Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger and then winning the Calder Trophy his freshman season. Since then, some fans have had this delusional thinking that Jackman was next in line—the next Norris winner. He never was going to be that, but some fans, still, hate him for not scoring 5-10 goals a season, quarterbacking the power play and being a No. 1 d-man.
Jackman is what he is, and that's pretty damn good. He's a stay-at-home defender who is excellent on the penalty kill. He's not afraid to block shots and is known as a good leader and mentor—something needed on a very young blueline. Does he have faults? Of course. He won't win many footraces, his offensive game is pretty limited and he's known to make a bad pass or two. The thing is, everyone does that. The same people who constantly made excuses for Erik Johnson's bad play are the same ones who jumped all over Jackman for a failed clearing attempt.
The Blues are getting a leader, a veteran and a loyal player. On the ice, the Blues are getting a solid second- or third-pairing d-man that can play 20-minutes a night and kill penalties. The market for guys like that is about $3 million a year, so I'd say it's a fair deal. All those fans who wanted Jackman gone never realized that his loss would create a Jackman-sized hole. Yes, he's not Chris Pronger or Alex Pietrangelo. But he's better than Johnny Oduya who just signed for nearly identical deal. If you want to know why Jackaman is valuable just ask a fan of the Wings or Blackhawks. Both fans HATE him. That's good enough for me.
This summer is starting off well for the Blues. They convinced Vladimir Tarasenko to come over, they signed Chris Stewart to a fair "prove it" deal and have now locked up the biggest UFA. Now it's just a matter of signing some RFAs (who really won't be going anywhere so don't worry about David Perron leaving).