In my opinion, the re-signing of Barrett Jackman has set things in motion for the Blues to make a much larger deal before the 2:00 PM CT trade deadline Tuesday afternoon. For weeks, the Blues and Jackman had discussions on a contract extension, but it didn't get any further than both sides tossing out numbers. Jackman beleived he was worth "market value", that being the $3.5-$5 million range for top-tier defensemen in the league. It was widely specualted here in the St. Louis area that Jackman would be the most likely candidate to be shipped out of St. Louis if an extension was not signed by the deadline, and because of the speculation of Dan Boyle re-signing with Tampa Bay (which we also saw happen tonight), teams were hot on the tracks of acquiring Jackman.
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In the end, the asking price became too high for Barrett. The Blues all along were looking to acquire a roster player that could help the team immediately, a mid-to-high level prospect, and a first round pick in return for Jackman. One team in particular from a source of mine, New Jersey, came close to making a deal with the Blues for Jackman, but once Zach Parise's name came up as a return possibility, all bets were off. The Blues knew they couldn't wait for the offseason to try to re-sign Jackman, because there was no way they would've been able to. I feel the Blues were backed into a corner and had to make this move, and late tonight, both sides agreed on a four-year, $14.4 million contract. What it all boils down to is Jackman will be making roughly around $3.6 million per-season, and he has gotten what he has wanted: To remain a Blue, and to get paid in the process. The Blues have been known to overpay for defenseman in the past, most notably Jay McKee after the 2004-05 season. Time will tell if this is another example of this concept, or if it will actually pay off in the long run.
Now to some late night Blues rumors:
- With the Jackman sweepstakes coming to an end, the focus now shifts to Bryce Salvador, and how the Blues are going to be able to afford to keep him aorund. Salvador is asking for around $2-$2.5 million per-season, which is significantly less than Jackman. The difference is Salvador's long-term return seems brighter than Jackman's. The Blues definitely don't want to move Salvador. The front office knows they need him around. He is the core that keeps this somewhat shaky defense at times together. The Blues could wait until the offseason and see what he commands, but that would be very risky to do. The problem is, how are they going to afford to re-sign Salvador when they have almost $18 million invested in five defensemen (Jackman, McKee, Backman, Erik Johnson, and Brewer)?
- In cooperation with trying to re-sign Bryce Salvador, the Blues are looking to unload a couple of defenseman and their salaries onto clubs willing to take them on. Those defensemen would be Jay McKee, Christian Backman, and Matt Walker.
- Jay McKee seems to be becoming a hotter commodity on the market in terms of lesser-known trade bait. Two teams from what I have heard, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, are trying to acquire McKee. Many rumors have surfaced that the Devils and Blues were working on a multi-player trade that included McKee. Although I am not completely sold on these New Jersey rumors, it could be a possibility. Pittsburgh seems like the better choice because they have more to offer in return than the Devils. The New York Rangers are also interested in McKee as well.
- Matt Walker has stated that he wants out of St. Louis, citing lack of playing time. Management told Walker to sit tight and they will see what they can do. The problem with trading Walker is he's not a very tradeable asset. The Blues would get little or nothing in return for Walker, so the most likely scenario is that he remains a Blue.
- Christian Backman recently returned from a broken foot, and he is back on the block as well. If Pittsburgh doesn't get McKee, I expect them to be players for Backman.
- Martin Rucinsky has stated he is willing to waive his no-trade clause. The Rangers and Bruins have expressed interest in acquiring Rucinsky at the deadline. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Blues make a trade with the Rangers to acquire Petr Prucha. Rumors have been bantied about that a trade could be in the works that would send Rucinsky and Jay Mckee to New York for Prucha, Marek Malik and a pick.
- The Blues have interest in Minnestoa Wild forward Mikko Koivu. I have my doubts that Minnesota would trade Koivu unless they receive a lot in return.
I'll be aorund the hockeybuzz chat room and the talkshoe chat room updating the latest movement involving the Blues tomorrow, and will be occasionally calling into the live stream of the deadline coverage that Eklund is doing. Everyone get your rest, becuase tomorrow's gonna be a wild one!
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