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Jackman rejoins Blues as development coach

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Barret Jackman's absence from the game of hockey didn't last very long.

After announcing his retirement as a player in October, the 14-year NHL veteran will officially return to the Blues as the team's new development coach.

"I actually had conversations with (Blues general manager) Doug Armstrong a couple of years ago about life after hockey," Jackman told stlouisblues.com. "Those talks furthered after retirement and 'Army' gave me an opportunity in the last couple months of the season to do this job on an interim basis just to see if I liked it. I enjoyed hanging out with the guys, being around the locker room with the Chicago (Wolves) and working with the younger up-and-coming guys.

"It seemed like a great fit for me."

Jackman said that as the team's development coach, he would primarily be working with prospects and draft picks, whether they're playing at the college, junior or American Hockey League Level. He already has plans to join the club at the NHL Draft later this month and will also be working with the team's prospects at their annual development camp later this summer.

"I think the development thing is perfect for me," Jackman added. "I have an opportunity just to focus on a couple of guys instead of a whole team. I always felt as a player that I was pretty good in helping the younger guys, and this is an opportunity to continue to do that without having to get beat up on the ice every day."

"We are excited to have Barret back with the Blues organization," added Armstrong. "Barret's leadership and understanding of the game will be a great benefit to our young defensemen."

Video: Barret Jackman: A Career in Review

Jackman, who was drafted by the Blues in the first round (17th overall) in 1999, ranks second on the club's all-time games played list with 803 games, trailing only Bernie Federko (927).

As a rookie, Jackman tallied 19 points, 190 penalty minutes and a plus-23 rating playing alongside Al MacInnis, which helped him become the first and only Blue to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

In his final seven seasons as a Blue, Jackman recorded a plus-46 rating, which tied him for 21st in the NHL in that span. He also was one of 15 defenseman to log over 500 hits and 700 blocked shots in that stretch.

Overall, Jackman accumulated 28 goals, 153 assists, 1,026 penalty minutes and a plus-53 rating in his Blues career. He also played in 39 Stanley Cup Playoff games and scored two of the most memorable goals in recent Blues playoff history. In 2013, he scored the game-winning goal late in the third period in Game 2 of the Blues' first-round series with Los Angeles. The following year, he repeated that performance by ending Game 2 vs. Chicago with an overtime game-winner.

With last week's hiring of former Blues Darryl Sydor and Steve Ott as assistant coaches, and now with Jackman helping to guide the team's prospects, the Blues have assembled a group of coaches that boast more than 3,000 games of NHL experience with those three players alone.

"I'm very excited," Jackman said. "I always wanted to do something in the game when I was done, but now I get to be with the Blues and work with some exciting young players and young men. I always took pride in being professional and I look forward to watching these kids grow and to help them mature as people as well as players.

"It's a pretty good gig to get back into hockey after a retirement year and I'm pretty thrilled about the opportunity the Blues have given me."

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