There's really no sugar-coating how terrible Barret Jackman was in the St. Louis Blues' second-round loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. He was a minus-6 with one assist in the 4-game sweep; a physical player who saw his pairing with Kevin Shattenkirk — which was so good in the regular season — overwhelmed and eventually broken up.
That led to speculation that the 30-year-old defenseman's days in St. Louis were numbered, given his unrestricted free agent status and the assumption that he could make some bank as a defensive defenseman on the open market.
But Barret Jackman has decided to remain St. Louis's scapegoat, signing a 3-year, $9.5 million deal with the Blues that breaks down to $3 million (2012-13), $3.25 million (2013-14) and $3.25 million (2014-15). Andy Strickland reports it has a no-trade clause.
From ye olde press release:
"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."
"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."
It's a moderate surprise. He's good in the room, great in the community and his partnership with Shattenkirk yielded strong regular seasons from both players.
But his status as a top-4 defenseman is tenuous as best.
From Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, when asked about Jackman's future last month:
His playoff performance (like the team) was not good. With Kevin Shattenkirk failing to step up, Jackman was exposed and it put a dismal finish on a consistent season.
Is he the best option for the Blues as a top-four defenseman who makes $3-plus million a year? Many will argue he's not and perhaps there are alternatives. But Armstrong is big on paying for the player he knows on and off the ice over the player he's not familiar with, and the Blues are confident in what they have in Jackman.
Better the scapegoat you know than the scapegoat you don't know. Hence, Barret Jackman's back with the Blues.