Tonight will be a special one for Barret Jackman.
Jackman will play in game No. 780 tonight, moving him past former Blues captain Brian Sutter and into second place on the franchise’s all-time games played list — trailing only St. Louis legend Bernie Federko.
“I think one-team longevity is uncommon now,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said of Jackman, per the team website. “I don’t think you see it very much anymore. It’s nice to see a guy that’s a good player get to stay with the same team for a long period of time.
“To have Jax here for this extended period of time, I think it helps you continuity-wise with your program. He can help a lot of the young players out. I think he’s established in the community, so, there’s a real identity with him and the St. Louis community.”
The Calder winner as NHL rookie of the year in 2003 — beating out Henrik Zetterberg and Rick Nash — Jackman has been a model of consistency during his 13 years with the Blues, and is the longest-tenured athlete in St. Louis professional sports.
More, from the Blues website:
When the Blues face the Dallas Stars tonight at Scottrade Center, Jackman will surpass Brian Sutter for second place on the Blues’ games-played list. Sutter spent his entire 12-year playing career in St. Louis, including nine seasons as a captain. The two are not only linked in longevity, they are mirrored in method.
Jackman and Sutter are two of four players in club history to have collected over 1,000 career penalty minutes. During his career, Jackman’s body-sacrificing style has produced 909 hits and 1,196 blocked shots – two numbers that only nine other NHL players have reached since those stats both began tracking in 2005-06.
“You couldn’t ask for a better teammate, a better leader,” said Blues forward T.J. Oshie. “He’s played a lot of games and gotten pretty nicked up. He’s definitely a warrior in every sense of the word.”
A pending UFA, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Jackman this summer. It seems unlikely he’d want to play anywhere other than St. Louis but, with the Blues carrying a relatively high payroll and salary cap uncertainty for next season, he might be forced to take a hometown discount from the three-year, $9.5M deal he’s currently on.