This post is part of Flames day at PHT…
The hockey world is still waiting to see where Jaromir Jagr plays next season.
In Europe, perhaps in the Czech Republic?
It’s the end of August and the 45-year-old future Hall-of-Famer with 1,711 NHL games played is still without a contract for the upcoming season, although there have been rumblings that perhaps the Calgary Flames may be interested. It’s intriguing for a team that appears to be on the rise in the Western Conference.
It’s been reported before but there’s a past connection between Jagr and current Flames bench boss Glen Gulutzan. The two worked together as members of the Dallas Stars during the lockout-shortened season.
“When I had him … first of all he’s not as fast as he used to be, but below the tops of the circles he is still stronger on the puck than most guys in the League,” Gulutzan said of Jagr last season, per NHL.com. “But probably the most impressive thing with [Jaromir], for me, of all those physical skills, obviously the size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) and the strength and the hands, is his hockey IQ is off the charts.
“We clipped some clips, I remember back in Dallas, that we sat and watched as a coaching staff going, ‘Oh my God, how did he even do that?’ … He can score, he can pass, he can do it all … I think that’s what’s allowed him to play. And he has a real passion for the game.”
So, the Flames coach had high praise for Jagr. That doesn’t necessarily mean it eventually translates into a contract and roster spot.
In his mid-40s, Jagr may not have the speed others need to be successful in the NHL. But equipped with deft skill and a 6-foot-3 tall and 230-pound frame, he still has puck possession skills as a right winger, which is a position the Flames may need to upgrade heading into the season. He was productive last season, too, with 16 goals and 46 points, playing in all 82 regular season games.
The year before that? He scored 27 goals and 66 points — again, despite his age.
He also had good numbers on the power play — an area of strength in Calgary, which ranked 10th in the league last year at 20.2 per cent — with eight goals and 13 points. For a team that made it to the playoffs last season and could take another step toward contending in the West next spring, a player like Jagr may be able to still help a forward lineup that already features some dangerous, young talents.
There has been talk of a possible Jagr-Flames fit dating back to early July after the market opened. A number of factors could go into a possible decision, from both camps. Do the Flames have the money available to make such a deal? Calgary has about $7.1 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, but still needs to get restricted free agent Sam Bennett under contract.