It is now August and Jaromir Jagr somehow still is without an NHL contract, who would have predicted that at the end of last season?
Its been said countless times but Jagr truly is a living legend and one of the best ever to play the game, even at 45 years of age now. He wasn’t named one of the top 100 NHL players of all-time for nothing.
No one is denying that Jagr isn’t quite the same player he was in his prime, but he’s still strong on the puck and has the ability to produce points and play big minutes. Age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down the way that it has so many other players. It’s surprising the Panthers didn’t want him back, he’s been as productive as other players who got big deals this summer.
Jaromir Jagr had as many points last season as Patrick Marleau.
— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) July 5, 2017
Why Jagr Makes Sense for the Blues
Jagr plays right wing, a position that the Blues are seriously lacking in depth at. Sure they have Vladimir Tarasenko, but that’s really it. They don’t have a true secondary right winger on their team at the moment. Looking at the line projections for the upcoming season for the Blues on dailyfaceoff.com it shows Brayden Schenn as the number two right winger. Schenn spent the past six seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers playing center, whereas Jagr is a natural right winger and would be much more suited to the position.
Imagine a second line that had Alexander Steen on left wing, Schenn at center and Jagr on right wing. Much like Schenn is naturally a centre, Steen is naturally a left winger (look at his NHL.com page if you don’t believe me) so a Steen, Schenn, Jagr line makes complete sense. Lets be honest, that’s a pretty scary second line and would have to be rated as one of the best in the entire league. Tarasenko cannot be expected to continue to carry this team on his back for the most part year after year. Other teams seemed to have realized that if they can shut Tarasenko down in the post-season they’ll likely win the series. Until the Blues get some true depth at right wing to take some pressure off Tarasenko it’s hard to see the team making a deep run in the playoffs anytime soon.
Signing Jagr could also potentially help improve the Blues power play significantly. Jagr scored a total of eight goals on the power play last season, just one less than Tarasenko who led the Blues in power play goals last season. Jagr’s eight are more than anyone else who played for the Blues last season though.
Remember Jagr spent last season with the Florida Panthers, a team that failed to make the playoffs, and was near the bottom of the league in terms of power play production. Not to mention all the off-ice distractions the Panthers faced with their head coach being dismissed rather unceremoniously early into the season.
On a good team like the Blues, without all the distractions, Jagr could be a severe threat on the second power play unit. Once he has the puck it’s almost impossible to take it from him and he has an amazing ability to create space and time for himself out of virtually nothing. There is every indication that his goal and point totals on special teams would rise from what they were last season if he were playing for a better team such as the Blues.
Why Sign Jagr Now
The Blues window for a championship with their current group is closing. Tarasenko is only 25 years old and barring some horrific injury has a long career ahead of him. Much of the rest of the team core of the team though is beginning to exit the prime years of their career, Jay Bouwmeester and Steen are each 33, Paul Stastny is 31. It sounds odd to say that bringing in a 45-year-old makes this team more competitive but with Jagr it really does make sense.
Radulov at 5v5 last year: 8 goals and 23 assists in 1113 minutes.
Jagr at 5v5 last year: 8 goals and 25 assists in 1129 minutes.
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) July 2, 2017
The only person who really knows how much money and term Jagr wants in a contract is Jagr himself. Jagr has said he wants to play until he’s 50. I don’t think signing him for that long is a good idea but why not two years? The Blues are up against the cap but as the summer drags on and the start of the season looms ever nearer you have to think that Jagr’s price goes down if he wants to continue the play in the NHL. The Blues seem like a good fit for him.