Thread: Confirmed with Link: Jackman signs 3 year deal ($9.5 mil + NTC)
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06-18-2012, 06:01 PM
2 Minute Minor
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Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
The day of the Stillman announcement, Armstrong did the KMOX end-of-season interview and made a point of saying Cole was ready to be in the lineup full time. Just the way he talked about it, there was a clear signal being sent that Cole was expected to start the season with a regular shift.

In the same interview, he followed up the Cole comments by talking about Jackman. He emphasized how even if the Blues wanted Jackman back, it was Jackman's option to test the market and it was a two-way street. My between-the-lines reading was: we'll take Jax at a home town discount but if he doesn't give us the discount we'll happily plug in Cole because he's ready.

So what happened is Jackman took the home town discount and left plenty of money on the table given this particular year's UFA crop. Regardless of how anyone feels about Jackman's on-ice performance, that's a character move and it's underlines why the loyalty bond between this particular player and franchise is so strong.

Now, Armstrong's comments are still set up where Cole could still be in the lineup opening night. Personally, I think he'll make a run at Suter and Garrison. It's sometimes hard to read between the lines but my sense is ownership has told him that if they can get Suter then do it. That one quote about being active in free agency and leaving it at that hints at a different situation than last summer when Armstrong foreshadowed fans not to expect much of anything (and still did pretty well with the vet signings, as well as the contract of the year with Brian Elliott).

But if either Suter/Garrison don't come through then there's a chance Cole is penciled in as a top-six heading into the season. Under those circumstances, I think we can all agree that the Blues will still be looking for a trade to fill that top pairing need. Cole getting more playing time should increase his value as a piece going back, which he almost certainly would since Jackman's not going anywhere and Russell is so well-slotted. IMO replacing Colaiacovo with Cole is not going to hamper them in terms of steaming through the regular season; they should still be able to rack up wins. So they will have time to make that deal.

Before Jackman signed I thought it was ~10% that the Blues went with Cole-Jackman-Russell as the trio on the left side. I know Hooligan and I disagreed on this. As of today there's a better chance he's right. Still think it's under 50%, but the chance of it happening that way have gone up.

I'd be surprised if they signed someone like Bryan Allen and put Cole as the 7th. It could happen that way but if they do it, they're not leaving themselves flexibility. They'd have 3-4 year contracts for both Allen and Jackman, and they still haven't got any true #2 d-man. At least if they start the year with Cole as the top pairing with Petro, it won't hurt their playoff chances and they can still tread water until they can truly acquire the right #2. It also gives Cole a chance to overachieve.

All in all it just seems obvious Armstrong sees the glaring need for a true top-pair guy and I'm confident he'll get that player whether it's in two weeks via UFA or over the next 12 months.
I love the way Armstrong works. The Blues have literally no bad contracts. To the contrary, every time he signs a player he manages to get the on the low end of what I thought it would take. (I think this also points to the players knowing that the Blues are on the cusp of something great.)

Another point in Armstrong's favor. He's made it clear the team wants a top pairing LHD. But he hasn't panicked an pulled the trigger on a lesser player. I think he knows exactly who/what he wants there, and he was patient for an entire season last year. This year, if he can't get someone as an UFA, I suspect he's got a trade or two brewing. But you can bet he won't make a bad deal to fill the spot with a suboptimal choice.

For those looking down the road, I think Andy McDonald may be on the way out in a couple years, freeing up some salary for raises for some of the RFA-level guys. But post-season success should equate with money for their raises, too.

I'm pleased at the Jackman re-signing. I had thought there wasn't room for him AND a top LHD, but it sounds like (reading between the lines) Armstrong is executing his plan. I have a feeling he did something like say, "Barrett, we'd love to have you back but we can't spend more than XYZ at that position. We want to win a Cup and here's my plan:".

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