Editor's Note: The Blues have quite a few UFAs whose futures need close examination. This is an ongoing pro/con debate on the fates of each of them.
First off, if you haven’t checked out the article in favor of Jackman serving as the D-corps resident oxygen thief next season, check it out here.
Now, I shall complete the cycle and bring us full circle with a stark and shocking dose of reality.
Hockey is a business designed to make money.
Mind blown, right?
Making money in a business such as hockey is driven by performing well and winning (preferably.) Thus, the folks running any given hockey team are tasked with putting the best product on the ice, and giving the team (and its weary cadre of long suffering fans) the best fucking chance to WIN.
That’s it. Win. Make money.
So, when evaluating the future of long-time Blues defenseman Barret Jackman we need to focus on that one simple question; what is best for the TEAM’S SUCCESS?
Not, "Wouldn’t it be cool if Jackman finished his career with the Blues?"
Not, "We owe it to Jackman to let him sail into the middling defenseman sunset wearing the Blue note."
You know what would be cool? Winning a fucking Stanley Cup before my kids’ kids die of old age or are raptured or whatever.
You know what we owe him? A fucking paycheck. And I am pretty sure if that shit wasn’t being delivered on time we would have heard something by now.
Both Blues legends. Both have statues outside the rink. Both finished elsewhere. And the world didn’t end. And they both came back home.
And the argument that it would be cool if Jackman joined the likes of Niklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Bob Gainey and Jean Beliveau by playing his whole career with the same team is an interesting one. It would totally have been sweet if Jackman had joined the likes of those guys; those guys were pretty much fucking legends. They were game changing franchise players who made shit happen. Oh, and they all also have their name on the Stanley Cup. So yeah, it would have been pretty sweet, but keeping him around for novelty sake isn’t going to make this team better.
Let’s acknowledge what Jackman is; he is an average defensive defensemen drafted in one of the weakest first rounds in modern times who could be replaced by a younger, faster, cheaper AHL call-up.
Love him or hate him, you can’t change what he is.
He plays 3rd pairing minutes and does a decent job. Quite frankly, the $3.2 mil he made last year to play those 3rd pairing minutes was probably too much.
So, the main reason to keep Jackman – novelty’s sake – has been addressed.
Let’s look at the 2 reasons to let him move on; Money, and Space. (You’ll see how they both link back to the whole ‘winning’ thing.)
Contrary to the talking points from the Jackman campaign, replacing him will not cost more. Christian Ehrhoff and Paul Martin are both better defensemen who would be an upgrade, not a replacement. Also, where would be no reason to look at players like that anyway to fill the 3rd pairing spot Jackman has held the last few years.
Take a quick look at the probable blue line next year: Petro and Shattenkirk are locks. Bouwmeester has an NTC so like it or not he will be here. Bortuzzo is a RFA and is likely to be back. After that we have Butler, Gunnarsson, Michalek, Lindbohm and Jackman. 5 names for 2 spots. Michalek is a UFA and will probably cost some coin to keep, so even though I think we SHOULD keep him, let’s take him out. Gunnarsson has a year left on his deal, so we aren’t spending anything extra to keep him. Let’s assume that either him or whoever he might get traded for take up the 5th spot. That leaves us with one spot. Both Butler and Lindbohm made $650K-ish last year. Lindbohm is still under contract and UFA Butler isn’t due for a big raise. So, we plug one of the two of them in and save $1.3 mil against the low end of what Jackman might demand next season.
Money in the bank.
Of course, if Jackman is willing to take a minimum wage gig for the novelty of sticking around, then we should keep him, right?
Which brings me to my next point…
We have a deep blueline. And a lot of fucking good it did us in the playoffs. See, the thing about having quality defenders sitting in the press box during games is, they can’t quite help the team win up there. The other things is, they aren’t getting any fucking better. Having a useful spare who isn’t collecting much salary and in whom we have no vested interest isn’t a bad thing. Let them rust in the PB until needed, who cares, right? But when you have young talent or players with higher expectations sitting out, not getting better, depth can start to become a negative.
Lindbohm looked good in limited duty last year. He isn’t an offensive powerhouse but he is a big dude with a big shot who is probably destined for a 2nd pairing home in the NHL. Let’s plant that seedling in the fertile soil of the 6th spot and nurture it…see what we get…without the old hollowed oak of Jackman stealing its valuable sunlight and nutrients.
Even if it isn’t Lindbohm, that slot is too valuable to the developing players to waste on a rugged old sorta-has-been. Someone up-and-coming should get to fight for it. That is what will make the Blues better.
So, in closing, I beseech you all to be rational. Divorce yourself of your flowery, unicorn-loving, butterfly-chasing lovey-dovey side and think about the business of winning.
And you will see that Jackman in 2016 is MORE OF THE SAME, which, in case you didn’t notice, always fucking sucks around early May for us.
Vote NO on proposition Jackman.
(No candidate or candidate’s committee is responsible for the content of this message.)