On July 23, 2013 the New Jersey Devils announced they had come to terms on a one-year $2 mil deal with unrestricted free agent forward Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr was last seen in a Boston Bruins uniform after the latter had rescued him from the purgatory known as the Dallas Stars at the 2013 trade deadline.
Jagr skated on the Bruins’ top line, and though he did not score a goal in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, his puck possession skills proved valuable to the Bruins. He did total 10 assists in 22 playoff games played.
On July 5, he hit the free agent market.
When New Jersey signed the 41-year old former superstar, it was met with mixed reactions. Upon further review, the variables are positive.
Here is some encouragement for Devils’ fans.
1) The one year deal is salary cap friendly: Even in a worst-case scenario, it’s all over at season’s end. Unlike the Ilya Kovalchuk acquisition of 2010, this move actually makes sense.
2) Puck possession: Though Jagr is nowhere near the scorer he was in his prime, he still has some of the best puck possession skills in the world. On a team struggling to find scoring, puck possession time is paramount. He is still also very valuable on the Power play.
3) Leadership: In years past, Jagr has been portrayed as a somewhat moody prima donna. This is more media hype than anything else. There have not been a lot of complaints from players regarding his lockerroom demeanor. He has been through the battles, and wants to win.
4) Championship pedigree: He was on a talented Pittsburgh Penguins team which won back to back championships in 1991-1992. Won Olympic Gold medal in Nagano in 1998. Won Hart trophy (NHL MVP) in 1999.
5) He understands his evolving role: Jagr is now playing for the pure love of the game. His pure reasons for playing, will be an inspiration to the rest of his team. He also understands that his 41-year old body cannot do the same things his 21-year old, or 31-year old body could do. There will be no conflicts.
This is Jaromir Jagr’s seventh NHL team (previously played with Pittsburgh, Washington, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Boston).
*Jagr was a First team NHL All-Star in 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2006.
Played in NHL All-Star game in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
A native of Czech Republic, Jagr has 681 career goals, and 1007 career assists in the NHL.
He is a future Hall of Famer.