Parise Open to Devils Return?
It’s hard to believe D-man Barret Jackman is only 31 years old. It feels like he’s been with the organization for 20 years. Actually I’m not that far off as this fall he’ll begin his 15th season (including lockout) with the Blues organization. The former Captain of the Regina Pats came into the league as advertised outdueling Henrik Zetterberg and Rick Nash to capture the Calder trophy his rookie season. In 2001-2002 he registered 266 penalty minutes in 75 AHL games in his only full season with Worcester.
During the 01-02 season here was a lot of talk regarding Jackman and the season he was having in Worcester. Joel Quennevile was so intrigued he dressed him in the final playoff game that year in place of the injured Chris Pronger. After the game Quenneville said Jackman was the best player on the ice for the Blues.
That was just the beginning for Jackman who nearly 600 games later is still with the same organization. It’s pretty remarkable Jackman is still playing for St. Louis when you consider how few players stay with the same organization for any real length of time anymore.
Jackman tells me the temptation to test free agency was there but his heart remains with the Blues. Most knew if he could make it work he wasn’t going anywhere. It still comes down to hockey and both sides appear to be on the same page in terms of how Jackman fits into the plans moving forward. He sees himself as a top four D-man and after having multiple conversations with GM Doug Armstrong he feels comfortable in how he’ll be used. He had one of his best seasons in years playing with Kevin Shattenkirk and I would expect this pair to remain intact entering next season.
He’s always had a warrior-like reputation for his ability to play through injury. This season was actually the healthiest he’s been in years as the only injury he dealt with was a torn gluteus muscle thanks to a hit from Montreal’s P.K. Subban.
Jackman’s contract totals $9.5 million and comes with a full no-trade clause.
The Blues still need to address the defense position before next season which they’ll do either through a trade or in free agency. Finding a player to play with Alex Pietrangelo should be a priority. Sure he could play with Kevin Shattenkirk but that’s only if there are no other options. I don’t doubt Pietrangelo can play the left side but there’s no sense in taking him away from his natural side unless it’s really necessary.
There’s limited players available in free agency that register on the excitement meter. I’m not sure the Blues can afford a player like Matt Carle who will fetch north of $4 million come July 1st. Others such as 36 year old Bryce Salvador missed a full season with an inner ear issue two seasons ago. Salvador could still return to New Jersey but will be hoping for a three year deal similar to the contract Jackman received. He may have to settle for two.
The Blues have told Ian Cole he’s guaranteed a top seven spot but it’s up to him to nail down a top six position. He’ll need to improve his skill level to play with Pietrangelo. Blues assistant coaches worked several days towards the end of last season on improving his skill while the former Notre Dame standout was out of the lineup.
Just look at the defense of the last two Stanley cup winners and it gives you a good idea of how much the Blues probably need to improve to truly contend.
Look for both Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol to both re-sign one year deals with the Blues sometime this week or next.
Good luck to Ken Hitchcock, Doug Armstrong, and David Backes at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas.
Ryan Suter watch….
Sources very close to Suter tell me he’s had strong communication with Predators GM David Poile. Word is Suter has been told by the club of their intention to be very aggressive in free agency. Suter wants to see it before he signs and if Nashville delivers on their promises then there’s a decent chance he remains in Nashville. If Nashville strikes out Suter will be playing elsewhere. This is a strange twist as throughout the year Suter was telling those around him he was likely gone after the season.
Parise to return to Devils?
No one thought this was possible during the regular season, but when you Captain your team to the Stanley Cup finals it can change things in a hurry. Parise nor his agent will be commenting anytime soon but I’m told he will give the Devils every opportunity to re-sign him. The Red Wings or even the Wild could have something to say about this.
Cristobal Huet Eyeing return…
Sources say former NHL goalie Cristobal Huet would like to return to the NHL next season if he can land a backup job.
Hawks Re-sign Smith and Bollig…
As I reported on twitter yesterday Chicago has re-signed both Ben Smith and St. Louis native Brandon Bollig to two-year deals. Both sign two-way deals in year one before a one-way kicks in the second year.
Smith…12-13- $550/$105 13-14-$575,000
Fraser Joins Stars staff...
Longtime coach Curt fraser has been hired by Dallas as an assistant coach after spending the last several years as Head Coach of Grand Rapids in the AHL. Fraser is one of the true good guys in the NHL.
More to come,
The Latest Truth
Post about tonight's Isles-Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Berglund Says He's Full of Confidence
Post about tonight's Blues-Kings game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Blues Look to Rebound in LA
Post about this afternoon's Blues-Sharks game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Blues-Avs game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Wild/Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more