(ST. LOUIS, MO) The St. Louis Blues’ most-recent acquisition will have zero impact on the team’s on-ice performance as the 2016-17 campaign launches next Wednesday in Chicago.
That’s okay, for one would be hard-pressed to find someone within the organization or among its fan base that disputed the signing.
On Tuesday afternoon, St. Louis inked defenseman Barret Jackman, whose 14-year NHL career began with the Blues in 2002, to a one-day contract.
You read that right. A one-day contract.
In fact, Jackman’s second tour of duty was swift as he announced his retirement mere minutes after completing the deal.
This now completes the circle for the defenseman – a definitive beginning and end to a career within the Gateway City.
“There’s no feeling like playing in the NHL,” said Jackman at the ceremonial signing held at Scottrade Center. “It’s a privilege. You earn respect in the game and I owe everything to this game. I just want to thank everybody for being here. I’d really like to thank the fans, too, for making me part of St. Louis.”
Teammates. And legends. #stlblues
After becoming the team’s first-round draft pick in 1999, Jackman played his first NHL game with the Blues in 2002 against Detroit. His rookie campaign resulted in 19 points, 190 penalty minutes a plus/minus of plus-23, which resulted in winning the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy in 2003, awarded to the League’s top rookie.
In Jackman’s 803 games with St. Louis over a 13-season stretch, he finished with 28 goals, 153 assists, 1,026 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of plus-53.
More importantly during that tenure, “Jax” evolved as a person, providing leadership as an alternate captain, mentoring younger defensemen and outreaching by participating with area non-for-profits.
Following the team’s 2015 campaign, and after completing the final year of a three-year contract signed in 2012, the Blues informed Jackman that they would not be renewing his contract and would be released to free agency. In effect, his 16-year association with the franchise had reached its conclusion.
He signed a two-year deal with Nashville during the off-season, but something didn’t seem right. He transitioned from being a mentor into one that had more questions than answers. After the completion of his first year with the Predators, Jackman was placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the remainder of his contract.
Without a team for Jackman to call home, and with the possibility of hanging up his skates becoming reality, the Blues’ front office presented the defenseman an opportunity to rejoin the franchise that he started with.
At Tuesday’s event attended by Blues’ players, coaches, office staff, alumni and Jackman’s family, he crossed the solo “t” that sealed the one-day deal. General Manager Doug Armstrong signed the contract alongside NHL Hall of Famers Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger, who served as witnesses.
Who better to witness a one-day contract than Hall of Famers Al MacInnis & Chris Pronger and Cayden and Makena Jackman? #stlblues
Jackman then officially announced his retirement and acknowledged both the organization and its followers and, inevitably, provided optimism.
“The fans have been amazing here,” he said. “I apologize (that) I wasn’t able to bring the (Stanley) Cup here, but I know it’s coming. It’ s a huge honor to wear the Blue Note. I took a lot of pride in it and I’m beyond excited this is where I retire.”
For #5, the career couldn’t have ended any better.
The best 25-minutes you’ll spend tonight is watching Barret Jackman’s retirement press conference. https://t.co/aOMAdGBnWJ #stlblues
The team will honor Jackman prior to the Blues/Redwings game at Scottrade on October 27.