Former St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman announced his retirement from the NHL after 14 seasons Monday. Drafted 17th overall by the Blues in 1999, Jackman spent his entire career in St. Louis until 2015, when he signed with the Nashville Predators after the Blues elected not to retain him due to salary cap restrictions.
To finish his career with the organization that meant so much to him, Jackman signed a one-day contract with the Blues during a press conference Tuesday, officially retiring as a member of the Note.
“Day in and day out, (Jackman) dedicated himself to being the very best he could be for his teammates, for the Blues organization, and for Blues fans,” Blues owner Tom Stillman said Tuesday. “He wore the Blue Note with pride and he represented us with humility, honesty and toughness."
Before Jackman signed with Nashville in 2015, he was the longest tenured athlete in St. Louis sports. He played in 842 games for the Blues from 2001-2015, a key cog on seven different playoff teams in that span.
Even by the measure of a defensive player, Jackman was not a heavy contributor offensively. He lit the lamp only a few times per season, notching 27 career goals in St. Louis, to go along with 149 assists. His value as a hard-nosed defender and team leader, however, was tremendous, and resonated with a generation of Blues fans.
“I would really like to thank the fans for making me a part of St. Louis,” Jackman said Tuesday. “There is no place I that could think of retiring and putting down roots than St. Louis. The fans have been amazing here. I apologize I wasn’t able to bring a Cup here, but I know it’s coming.”
After appearing in one game for St. Louis in the 2001-2002 season, Jackman played in all 82 games as a rookie in 2002-2003, scoring three goals with 16 assists as a +23 player, which earned him the NHL’s Rookie of the Year award, the Calder Memorial Trophy. Jackman is one of only 11 defensemen ever to win the award, demonstrating the significance of his contributions.
Despite his lack of offensive prowess, Jackman did have a couple memorable moments as a goal-scorer. His game-winning goal against the Kings in the 2013 playoffs was special, but if one moment stands out to Blues fans from Jackman’s career in St. Louis, it’s probably his overtime winner against the Blackhawks in 2014 to put the Blues up 2-0 in the playoff series.
Jackman was with the Blues through some notable highs and forgettable lows in franchise history, but will always be remembered for his tenacity and team-first mentality.
“Barret played for the Blue Note—He never played for the name on the back of his jersey,” Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said. “He didn’t care about ice-time. He didn’t care about accolades. He cared about the team. It’s easy to say that, but it’s very difficult to follow that through.”