2003-04: Jackson began his first full season in the WHL as a 16-year old after appearing in two games with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2002-03. He scored 4 goals with 9 assists and was +9 with 17 PIM as a rookie on a Seattle team that finished last in the US division. Jackson played for Canada Pacific at the World U-17 Challenge and had three assists in six games.
2004-05: Jackson’s second season with Seattle was much more enjoyable – both from a team and personal standpoint. The Thunderbirds went from last place to first as former assistant coach Rob Sumner took over as head coach. And Jackson’s play was impressive enough to draw the attention of the St. Louis Blues’ scouts. Jackson scored 3 of his 6 goals on the power play and had 16 assists with 46 PIM and was +26 in 72 games for Seattle. He scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -2 with 4 PIM in 12 playoff games as the Thunderbirds defeated Tri-City in the first round before falling to Kelowna. Jackson was selected in the second round (37th overall) by the Blues in the NHL Draft.
2005-06: Jackson suffered two serious knee injuries and was limited to 57 games in his third season with Seattle. He scored 3 goals (two on the power play) with 23 assists and was +4 with 48 PIM. Jackson was at his best in the Thunderbird’s epic seven-game, first-round playoff series scoring 1 goal with 4 assists and was +5 with 12 PIM as the series was not decided until the Winter Hawks scored in overtime in Game Seven. Jackson also played for Team WHL in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge as well as participating in the CHL Top Prospects Game. He was one of 44 players in Canada’s WJC U-20 team camp but was injured when the December camp took place.
2006-07: Jackson was again a key force on the blueline in his fourth year with the Thunderbirds. He scored 4 goals, all on the power play, with 31 assists and was +21 with 52 PIM in 71 games for Seattle, which finished third in the US division and once again advanced to the second round of the playoffs. In 11 playoff games, Jackson had five assists but was an uncharacteristic -9 with 9 PIM. Jackson and the Blues could not agree on a contract over the summer and he decided to return to Seattle for an overage season.
2007-08: Jackson returned to Seattle for a fifth year and concluded his WHL career playing 326 total games. Jackson scored 6 goals with 17 assists and was +25 with 44 PIM in 58 games. In the playoffs, he scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +3 with 8 PIM in 12 games as the Thunderbirds again advanced to the second round but were taken out by Tri-City in five games. Jackson signed a free agent contract with Tampa Bay in July.
HF’s Q&A with Jackson from December 2008.
2008-09: Jackson was assigned to AHL affiliate Norfolk after attending Lightning camp and got off to a slow start in his first pro season. He saw limited ice-time in 17 games with the Admirals and was -2 with 1 assist and 7 PIM when he was sent to Mississippi of the ECHL on Dec 27 to get regular ice time. While his numbers with the Sea Wolves weren’t very impressive (1 goal and -5 in three games), Jackson was quickly back up in Norfolk and had two assists and was +2 in his third game back against Portland on January 3. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a lower body injury which ended his season on February 21. For the season, he had 4 assists and was -1 with 14 PIM in 34 games with Norfolk.
2009-10: Jackson returned from his injury the previous year and had a workmen-like season as a defensive defenseman for the Admirals. Jackson was rewarded for his efforts by the Lightning and was called up and in the lineup for the Lightning in the final game of the season. Jackson had a fairly non-descript game in the scoring column but played almost 14 minutes and witnessed a bit of Tampa Bay history as Steve Stamkos scored his 51st goal into an empty net to tie for the Rocket Richard trophy. In 72 games with the Admirals, Jackson scored 1 goal with 15 assists and was +6 with 32 PIM.
2010-11: Jackson was a consistent, if unspectacular, defensive presence on the back line for AHL Norfolk in his third year with the Lightning organization. Jackson had a +13 plus/minus in 68 games and scored 1 goal with 4 assists and 47 PMs. He was re-signed by the Lightning to a one-year, two-way contract in July 2011.
Jackson is a big defenseman who was selected in the second-round in 2005 due to his size and potential to play a bone-crushing style. While Jackson will use his body to make open-ice hits when the opportunity presents itself, he is more of a cerebral defender and uses his positioning and strength to effectively disrupt the opposing attack. Jackson does not play a particularly nasty brand of hockey (he has been amongst the least penalized defensemen on his teams) but is quietly effective in preventing scoring chances. He likes to keep things simple and uses quick passes to transition from defense to attack. Jackson has usually been among the top plus/minus players on his team.