The post should probably be left at that, but unfortunately there’s a real story here. According to CBS Sports Radio’s Andy Strickland, both the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators are interested in former St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman. Yes, really.
If the ’Hawks added Jackman, this is how ’Hawks fans hope Joel Quenneville would introduce him to the team…
…just replace “Billy Madison” with “Barret Jackman” and “two weeks” with “one year.”
The Blues are the only team Jackman has known in the NHL, and they informed him earlier this month he would not be resigned. He played all or part of 12 seasons in St. Louis, plus a single game in 2001-02, averaging 20:23 in ice time and about 15 points per regular season. He’s coming off a 15-point regular season and a no-point six-game playoff run.
Jackman played alongside Zbynek Michalek toward the end of the Blues’ season and wasn’t asked to do much more than what Michal Rozsival, David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey were asked to do for Chicago in 2014-15, although with more ice time.
Jackman won the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the league’s top rookie, after the 2002-03 season. But he really hasn’t done much to earn additional recognition over the course of his career. He’s slowed down substantially, as indicated by his average ice time falling significantly over the last four seasons. He was at 20:41 in 2011-12 and finished the 2014-15 season at 16:49. That number fell even further to an even 12 minutes during St. Louis’ six playoff games.
The idea behind signing Jackman would be adding a veteran at low cost who can mentor young ’Hawks defensemen while working on the third pairing. Jackman would conceivably jump at the opportunity to win now, as he’s 34 and still looking for his first Stanley Cup (think Kimmo Timonen, only way less lovable).
We’ve tried to stick to trusting Chicago general manager Stan Bowman, but it would be tough to do so if he signed Jackman. The intention would be good, as Jackman could benefit young defensemen like Stephen Johns, Ville Pokka, Trevor Van Riemsdyk and Victor Svedberg. Plus, Q has a history with Jackman, having been his coach in St. Louis for four seasons.
Now here are the downsides. Bringing aboard a player Q likes and has history with can be dangerous if that player isn’t playing particularly good hockey. And Jackman really hasn’t been much more than serviceable for the last several years. His main contributions to the Blues in recent memory have been irritating opponents, committing penalties and getting skated around by younger, more skilled players.
Basically, signing Jackman would be like signing another Rozsival, though probably at a slightly bigger cap hit. The difference, however, is that Rozsival seems well liked in the Chicago dressing room. Jackman doesn’t seem to be a bad guy off the ice, but his many, many past conflicts with current ’Hawks may not be easily forgotten.
If the ’Hawks signed Jackman, they’d really need more out of him than just irritation and 10 minutes a night. He’d need to be willing to help Chicago’s budding defensive talent while also trying to chip in offensively. Andrew Shaw is an irritating presence for the ’Hawks, but he gets himself to the net for dirty goals. The ’Hawks might just get the irritating presence from Jackman.
It doesn’t sound as though Bowman is on the verge of signing Jackman, so he should continue looking around for other veteran options willing to take a small contract for a chance at a Cup. Jackman could help a team like the ’Hawks, but there are likely better options out there as well.
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