St. Louis Blues Will Let Barret Jackman Go in Free Agency


As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Rutherford reported early Thursday, the St. Louis Blues will not re-sign defenseman Barret Jackman when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, effectively ending the reign of the longest-tenured professional athlete in St. Louis.

It’s not an exceptionally surprising move, considering that the Blues need to conserve cap space in order to lock up their best player, forward Vladimir Tarasenko, as he becomes a restricted free agent this summer. Two young defensemen, Petteri Lindbohm and Robert Bortuzzo, emerged in a big way for the Blues this past season, and they just signed former first-rounder Jordan Schmaltz to an entry-level contract. Thus, filling Jackman’s roster spot shouldn’t be difficult from a production standpoint. However, replacing one of the club’s veteran leaders will be more difficult.

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Jackman, who has served as an alternate captain in recent years, has played in St. Louis since April of 2002. He won the Calder Trophy during his first full season in 2002-03, and he’s been a pretty steady contributor ever since. Jackman is a “defensive defenseman” and has registered just 28 goals and 153 assists during his NHL career, but he has a plus-minus rating of plus-53, even after dealing with several catastrophically bad Blues seasons in the mid-2000s where he posted double-digit minus ratings.

It’s probable that Jackman will end up playing for another team during 2015-16, but once his NHL career is finished, it’s likely that he’ll go alongside Bob Plager for the “honored” number 5 in the rafters. Jackman is second only to Bernie Federko in games played with the franchise (827), and he’s fourth all-time in penalty minutes among Blues players. While he was never a major statistical producer, Jackman was a steady stay-at-home presence and provided an intimidating presence in the defensive end for many years. For that, he’ll be remembered for years to come as one of the great players in franchise history.

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