By all accounts, 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr is having a great season — he’s leading the Devils in scoring with 22 points through 28 games.
But his head coach thinks it might be too much.
“I didn’t expect he’d be able to take the kind of workload we’ve given him so far,” Peter DeBoer said, as per NorthJersey.com. “Frankly, in my mind we’re playing him too much. We’re overplaying him.”
Jagr is averaging 18:43 per game this season, his highest total since returning to the NHL in 2011-12. As DeBoer mentioned, the Devils have been forced to rely on Jagr due to a number of injuries at forward — Patrik Elias and Ryane Clowe have both missed extensive time — and the fact that Jagr has been his most consistent scorer throughout the season.
After a relatively slow start — just three points in his first seven games — Jagr has caught fire, notching 19 points in his last 21. This includes a notable uptick in goals (six in his last eight, 11 all told), something that’s put him on pace to score 30-plus this year… meaning he could register his first 30-goal season since doing it with the Rangers in 2006-07.
Despite Jagr’s great play, DeBoer insists he needs to cut the veteran’s minutes.
“I look at the fact that this is an Olympic year, [Jagr’s] probably a guy that’s going to go to the Olympics, we’re in a condensed schedule,” he explained. “The minutes have just been a little bit high, that’s all.
“He’s earned them and he’s been key in getting some of the of wins in some of those games, but for me the bigger issues is I shouldn’t have to play him that much.”