The already meager list of quality defensemen slated for free agency dropped by one today, as the St. Louis Blues signed Barret Jackman to a three-year contract worth $9.5 million.
Jackman is an archetypal defensive defenseman. He ranked third in total ice-time for the Blues this year, despite seeing no power play time, playing a nightly average of 17:11 at even-strength and 3:26 on the penalty kill. He was also far and away Ken Hitchcock’s top choice for defensive zone work, he saw quality opposition and given the situations he was playing in his Relative Corsi number was superb (Relative Corsi is a measure of all shots, missed shots and blocked shots while a player is on the ice, adjusted for team strength, and serves as a strong proxy for puck possession).
Jackman’s 31-years old, and while he has had some injury trouble he has played 60+ games every year since the NHL lockout and is coming off an 81-game season.
This is a huge win for the Blues and a big loss for teams hoping to shore up their back end this summer. Jackman’s cap hit on this deal drops by a hair under half a million, and makes him a very affordable piece of the St. Louis defense corps for the next three seasons. He almost certainly would have commanded more as a free agent, but the prospect of playing for a legitimate contender in St. Louis – the only organization Jackman has ever played for – has great value too.
This summer’s free agent class is now projected to have just six defensemen under the age of 35 who played 20+ minutes per game last season and appeared in at least 25 contests. That group includes Brad Stuart – likely to be signed by San Jose before July 1 – and Ryan Suter, who will be able all but name his team and price in free agency. July could be a very profitable month for players like Dennis Wideman, Matt Carle, Jason Garrison and maybe even Scott Hannan.
This week by Jonathan Willis
- Are the Blue Jackets and Oilers good trading partners?
- Dale Tallon: things get worse before they get better
- The Edmonton Oilers are getting a little light on forward prospects
- How much did Nail Yakupov’s knee injury impact his offensive numbers?
- Should the Edmonton Oilers talk to San Jose about Douglas Murray?
- Big decisions: Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene for Lubomir Visnovsky
- Is big forward Ludvig Rensfeldt worth drafting?
- Red Line Report: “We think Edmonton is open to shopping that top pick.”
- Should teams build from the net out, like the Kings did with Quick?
- Jon Cooper, the most interesting man in hockey
- Congratulations to the 2012 Los Angeles Kings
- Craig MacTavish returns to the Edmonton Oilers