Jaromir Jagr

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Jaromir Jagr set to make Flames debut vs. Kings

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Jaromir Jagr’s 24th season in the National Hockey League will begin Wednesday night when the Calgary Flames visit the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

After Wednesday’s morning skate, Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan confirmed that the 45-year-old Jagr would debut with his new team one week after inking a one-year deal.

“He’s practiced on that line. He’s been here a week, so there’s no need to make it any bigger than it is,” Gulutzan said. “We had those chats already. Now they’ve just got to go out and play. Jags had been in on all the meetings and knows the systems; ust make sure he gets the right amount of minutes and see how it goes with the chemistry.”

Gulutzan added that Jagr will skate on a line with Sam Bennett and Kris Versteeg. (Jagr had 441 NHL games under his belt and won two Stanley Cups by the time Bennett was born in June 1996.)

In just a short time as a Flame Jagr has already made an impression with fans. During the first intermission of Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, he surprised the Calgary-based Travelling Jagrs.

Despite his age, Jagr has shown he can still be a productive player in this league. Playing all 82 games last season, he posted 16 goals and 46 points while skating 17 minutes a night. As Kent Wilson of The Athletic showed last week, his output was that of a top-liner.

It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, so it’s a good risk to take for general manager Brad Treliving. While Jagr will hit more milestones this season if he’s healthy and producing, he’ll also be a valuable asset to Calgary’s younger players with the education he can provide them.

“It might be different but I always want to perform on a high level,” Jagr said Wednesday. “But it’s not about me, it’s about the team and my teammates. I want to help them. I don’t want to be there just to be there. I want to make them better.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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Jayce Hawryluk could be intriguing prospect for Panthers this season

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Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon has talked extensively this offseason about giving young players an opportunity to play and trying to create a faster, more up-tempo, aggressive roster.

One of the young players that might get an opportunity to make that sort of an impact is 2014 second-round draft pick Jayce Hawryluk.

Throughout his junior days in the Western Hockey League, Hawryluk developed a reputation for being the type of player you to have on your team and absolutely hate to play against — in other words, a classic pest. But one that can also play. Really, really well.

“We have high hopes for him,” Tallon said, via the Panthers’ official website this past week. “He’s a kid who plays with a lot of passion, a lot of energy. He’s got not only speed and skills, but he’s got a lot of grit.”

The speed and skill part is what really makes it all work for him as a prospect.

He was consistently a point-per-game player for the Brandon Wheat Kings and in his last year with the team exploded offensively with 47 goals and 59 assists in only 58 games. He made his pro hockey debut this past season with Springfield of the American Hockey League where he scored nine goals and added 19 assists in 47 games.

Had it not been for an injury early in the season he probably would have already made his NHL debut for the team. Given the makeup of the roster at this point, especially after the exits of veteran players Jaromir Jagr and Jussi Jokinen this summer, there should be plenty of opportunities for him to make the roster this season.

Obviously until he plays in the NHL we won’t know for sure what he is capable of but if he can turn out to be a Brendan Gallagher type of player (or a poor man’s Brad Marchand) that would be an extremely valuable asset for the Panthers both in the short-and long-term.

PHT Morning Skate: Four teams that have improved the most this offseason

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–The Detroit Red Wings are still trying to work out a deal with restricted free agent Tomas Tatar. The salary is expected to be in the $5 million range, but the hold up is over the term. The Lightning and Capitals have both committed a number of years to players like Tyler Johnson and T.J. Oshie. Would that make sense for Detroit and Tatar? (Detroit Free Press)

–The Dallas Stars brought in Alex Radulov, Ben Bishop and Martin Hanzal this off-season, but beat reporter Mike Heika believes the acquisition of Tyler Pitlick might be the best under-the-radar signing. (Dallas Morning News)

–Now that we’re into the second week of July, we can start breaking down who had the best off-season of all the teams in the league. Sportsnet looks at four teams that have made the biggest improvements this summer. The Carolina Hurricanes have done some good work by adding a bunch of former Chicago Blackhawks and Justin Williams. (Sportsnet)

–Want to see Alex Ovechkin dancing shirtless at his own wedding? Well, here it is. Check out those moves. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

–The New Jersey Devils are getting their first look at Nico Hischier in their uniform this week, so NHL.com breaks down 10 things you might not know about the top pick in the 2017 draft. His favorite TV show is “Prison Break” and his favorite movie is “Happy Gilmore”. (NHL.com)

–Yesterday was the anniversary of the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Jaromir Jagr to the Washington Capitals. Jagr’s stint with the Caps wasn’t great, but it was still one of the rare times a scoring champion was moved in a trade. The Hockey News looks at other examples of former Art Ross Trophy winners that were traded. Obviously, Wayne Gretzky going from Edmonton to Los Angeles is the biggest trade in NHL history. (The Hockey News)

Who’s still left? Here are 10 notable UFAs

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The oldest: Jaromir Jagr, 45, won’t be returning to the Florida Panthers. But he still wants to play. The future Hall of Famer had 16 goals and 30 assists in 82 games last season.

The most points last season: Thomas Vanek, 33, was reportedly talking with “several teams” on July 1, but no deal yet. Vanek split 2016-17 between Detroit and Florida. The fact he only scored two goals in 20 games for the Panthers may have hurt his value, but he did have 48 points in 68 games overall.

The most goals: Mike Fisher, 37, is apparently considering retirement. But if he decides to keep playing, it’s hard to imagine he signs with anyone but Nashville. Fisher had 18 goals in 72 games last season, then helped the Predators to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

The most points by a defenseman: Andrei Markov had 36 points (6G, 30A) for Montreal. The Habs would like to bring the 38-year-old back, but GM Marc Bergevin says his final offer has been made. The message to Markov? Take it or leave it.

The most right-shot defenseman: We’ll give this to Cody Franson, the 29-year-old who’s spent the last two years in Buffalo. Franson is no savior, but he’s not too old, and he was pretty productive on the power play during his days with the Maple Leafs.

The most Rocket Richard Trophies: Jarome Iginla, 40, is still unsigned. The two-time leading goalscorer in the NHL scored just 14 times last season for Colorado. He wants to keep playing, but it remains to be seen if he’ll get an offer he likes.

The most to prove: That would be Shane Doan, 40, after being cut loose by the Arizona Coyotes. Doan had just six goals in 74 games, but apparently some teams are interested.

The most fast (a.k.a. the fastest): Viktor Stalberg can still fly at 31 years old, and he’s got plenty of postseason experience to boot. The Ottawa Senators would like to keep him, and he’d like to stay. But the two sides have yet to reach a deal, so he may have to look elsewhere.

The most under-30: Among regular NHLers last season, 24-year-old defenseman Nikita Nesterov is the youngest UFA. He became an unrestricted free agent after the Canadiens chose not to extend a qualifying offer.

The most points by an under-30 UFA: That honor belongs to 26-year-old forward Alex Chiasson, who was cut loose by the Calgary Flames after registering 12 goals and 12 assists in 81 games.

PHT Morning Skate: Shayne Corson opens up about his battle with anxiety

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–There’s still a number of restricted free agents still unsigned by their respective teams, which means that each of those players could receive an offer sheet. This prompted Sean McIndoe to look back at 11 instances where offer sheets were matched. Shea Weber signed a lucrative deal with the Flyers, but Nashville didn’t let him walk away so easily. (Sportsnet)

–The Devils couldn’t find the right trade partner for forward Ilya Kovalchuk, so he’ll be going back to the KHL for one more year. If he wants to come back to the NHL next year,  he’ll be able to do so as an unrestricted free agent. He’ll be one of the best forwards available on July 1st. The Score looks at some of the other big names that could be had via free agency next year. Guys like Evander Kane, John Tavares and James van Riemsdyk will also be available. (The Score)

–Former NHL Shayne Corson has been dealing with anxiety throughout his life and career. He didn’t tell many people about it, but it affected him in a big way. “There’s no time frame on anxiety. You don’t know if it’s ever going to end. You don’t know if you’re going to get out of it, or how you’re going to get out of it. Some days, it’s almost like you want to rip your skin off. I’d start pacing. You want to get out of your body but you don’t know how. Your heart starts racing.” (Toronto Sun)

–Now that most of the unrestricted free agents have signed contracts, USA Today breaks down six key story lines to keep an eye on. Will Colorado finally deal Matt Duchene? Does John Tavares agree to an extension with the Islanders? Where will Jaromir Jagr end up? (USA Today)

–The Dallas Stars were able to work out a deal with Alexander Radulov, so the Dallas Morning News broke down 10 things you might not know about the Russian winger. Radulov played junior hockey in Quebec, and he lived with hall-of-fame goalie Patrick Roy for a while. (Dallas Morning News)

Patrick Marleau‘s wife, Christina, posted a baby picture of her husband in a Maple Leafs jersey: