This post is part of Panthers Day on PHT…
A lot of the Florida Panthers’ off-season changes felt “old-school.”
Gone now are analytics/value-friendly forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith. Jussi Jokinen was bought out. There have been a few murmurs about the Panthers at least wanting to trade Keith Yandle and/or Jason Demers, two pricey holdovers from that brief management change.
In the case of not bringing Jaromir Jagr back, it might not be as simple.
Now, it’s true that Jagr grades shockingly well in “fancy stats” for a 45-year-old. His possession numbers were pretty bonkers at times last season, to the point that it’s tough to merely chalk it up to linemates (especially since Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleskander Barkov dealt with injuries in 2016-17).
In all likelihood, Jagr’s age and specific desires ended up being too rich for the Panthers.
Florida – and other teams – likely feel that it is too risky to hand Jagr a salary in the neighborhood of $4 million, especially if he also wants a top role on the power play. There’s also the perception – fair or not – that a team has to bend its structure uncomfortably to “slow things down” for the aging legend.
That’s understandable, but Jagr still managed solid counting stats (16 goals, 46 points), played all 82 regular-season games, and is the sort of box office draw that a struggling team like the Panthers could use. He managed a 66-point campaign as recently as 2015-16.
There are some strong arguments why plenty of NHL teams should or should not sign Jaromir Jagr, but let’s focus on his most recent employers. In your opinion, did the Panthers make the right move in letting him go? Weigh in via the poll below.