Monday, July 22, 2013
How Jagr fits in New Jersey
By Luke Lapinski
UPDATE: As expected, Jaromir Jagr appears set to join his seventh NHL team. Our own Pierre LeBrun tweets that the veteran winger is agreeing to a one-year deal with New Jersey.
Jagr's 1,688 career points ranks No. 8 on the NHL's all-time list, guaranteeing him a spot in the Hall of Fame whenever he hangs up the skates. And while he's not the player he once was now that he's 41 years old, the Devils will gladly take any production he can offer up front -- especially now that Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson have left the club. Jagr managed 35 points over 45 games with Dallas and Boston last season -- a number that would have ranked him behind only Patrik Elias (36 points) on New Jersey in 2012-13.
---In terms of past accomplishments, Jaromir Jagr is clearly head and shoulders above anyone else available on the open market right now. It's not even remotely close. But, at 41 years of age, he has to slow down at some point doesn't he? That's the risk involved, and it's likely a contributing factor as to why he doesn't have a team yet for next season.
That said, there certainly isn't a lack of interest in the future Hall of Famer -- assuming he can be had at a reasonable price. Numerous potential suitors have been speculated on, from Montreal to Philadelphia to Carolina to the New York Rangers. The latest possible destination is New Jersey, and that's a scenario that could make a lot of sense for both sides. For one, the Devils have plenty of cap space and a giant void to fill up front with Ilya Kovalchuk in Russia. No one would expect Jagr to step right in and replace Kovalchuk's production at this point in their careers, but he'd be a step up from some of their other options while providing a little star power.
From Jagr's perspective, he'd be going to a club that almost certainly needs him as a top-six forward. And he'd also be on a roster with fellow Czech countrymen Patrik Elias, Rostislav Olesz and Marek Zidlicky -- as well as former Dallas teammate Michael Ryder. Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski notes that Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, would neither confirm nor deny his client's interest in New Jersey. But he did note that a decision would likely be coming "fairly soon".