Aleksander Barkov

Report: Panthers ‘enthralled’ with Jagr’s performance, will look to re-sign

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Looks as though Florida’s quite pleased with trade deadline pickup Jaromir Jagr, per ESPN:

Panthers management has been so enthralled with what they’ve seen from Jagr on and off the ice that it’s all but guaranteed they will approach his camp after the season to see if he wants to stay on. The pending UFA winger wouldn’t tip his hand Thursday, but he did mention that when he’s happy somewhere, he doesn’t look to leave.

At the end of the day, there’s a financial negotiation that needs to take place and that numbers have to work for each side. One thing’s for sure, though. Jagr sees a team that’s going to contend in years to come.

“To be honest with you guys, and maybe this will surprise a lot of people, but the talent we’ve got here, it’s a very, very talented team,” said Jagr, his new team clearly a revelation to him once he got there.

Jagr, 43, is on a one-year deal with a $3.5M cap hit and has been pretty strong in March, scoring two goals and eight points in 10 games as Florida continues to push for the playoffs — so it’s no real surprise the Panthers want to keep him around. The organization also appears keen on furthering the mentor-student dynamic, currently at play between 37-year-old Willie Mitchell and 19-year-old rookie Aaron Ekblad; Ekblad is currently living with Mitchell and his wife, a relationship that was recently covered by Grantland’s Katie Baker (which is definitely worth a read.)

Over the last few games, Jagr has played on the “kid line” with 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.

“I know how important it is to give them advice,” Jagr told ESPN. “I know they’re going to find out on their own, but maybe a little bit later. If I give them something and they take the advice, it’s going to be good for them. Like I did.

“When I was younger, I had so many great players around me who tried to help me all the time. It helped my hockey career.’’

Video: Callahan intercepts Panthers’ pass, sets up Johnson’s rocket one-timer

The Florida Panthers have won back-to-back contests, but with the Ottawa Senators threatening to run away with the last Wild Card spot on the strength of their red hot play, the Panthers had a lot of pressure on them coming into tonight’s game against Tampa Bay.

The first period didn’t go their way though. Lightning forward Brenden Morrow took advantage of a rebound opportunity to make it 1-0 just 5:49 minutes into the contest. A little less than two minutes later, Ryan Callahan stole a pass intended for Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and then fed the puck to Tyler Johnson who fired a powerful one-timer past goaltender Roberto Luongo.

You can see that sequence below:

With nine games left in its schedule, Tampa Bay is two points behind the Montreal Canadiens in the battle for the Atlantic Division title. The Lightning also have a shot of taking the Presidents’ Trophy.

Video: Jagr scores 718th goal, passes Phil Esposito

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Jaromir Jagr’s climb up the NHL’s all-time leaderboards continued tonight with another huge milestone.

With the help of 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov, Jaromir Jagr, who is older than both of them combined, found the back of the net for the 718th time in his career to give Florida a 1-0 lead over Detroit. Jagr has now surpassed Phil Esposito to claim sole ownership of fifth place on the NHL’s career goals list.

If Jagr is able to extend his career into the 2015-16 campaign, then he’ll have a chance of surpassing Marcel Dionne and perhaps even Brett Hull. Jagr trials Dionne by 13 goals and Hull by 23 markers.

Brandon Pirri scored for Florida less than four minutes later and Jagr assisted on that marker. With two points tonight, Jagr is up to 1,791 in his career. He ranks in fifth place on the all-time leaderboard in that category as well, just behind Ron Francis (1,798).

Jets lose game, Myers vs. Panthers in key contest for Wild Card races

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Few teams in the NHL need points right now more than Florida and Winnipeg. The Panthers and Jets are key squads in the Eastern and Western Wild Card races respectively, so given the importance of this contest it was appropriately close. However, Florida ultimately squeaked by with a 4-2 victory.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr led the Panthers with two points each, but the hero tonight was 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov who scored the game-winning goal at 16:07 of the third period.

Nick Bjugstad helped himself to his 24th marker of 2014-15 by firing on an empty Jets net with less than a minute left in regulation time.

The Jets, which held the second Wild Card spot going into tonight’s action, desperately needed a win tonight with the defending champion Los Angeles Kings on their heels. However, the missed points might prove to be just the tip of the iceberg. The Jets also lost defenseman Tyler Myers after he crashed into the post and then boards.

Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice didn’t update Myers’ condition following the game, per the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe.

For Florida these two points help, but the Panthers’ situation is getting desperate. They’re chasing Boston for the second Wild Card spot and remain six points behind with just 15 games left. Meanwhile, the Senators are only one point back of Florida after Ottawa earned its ninth win in 11 games.

Related:

Video: MacKenzie dives forward to score incredible goal

Panthers thrilled to get Jagr, who might be more than a rental

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The Florida Panthers’ young core of forwards got a reinforcement and new mentor on Thursday when GM Dale Tallon acquired 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils.

To say that he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table would be an understatement. His NHL career started in 1990 while the Florida Panthers made their debut in 1993. Jagr has participated in 202 playoff contests. Florida has been in 38.

“(The message is) that we’re buyers and committed to winning,” Tallon said, per the Sun Sentinel. “[Owner Vinnie Viola] and we all said we want to win a championship. We’re putting the pieces together step by step. Hopefully, Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It’s a win-win for us.”

The future Hall of Famer will play alongside either 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov or 22-year-old Nick Bjugstad in his Panthers debut on Saturday. In addition to his keadership role, the Panthers are also hoping Jagr can bolster their offense as the team has averaged just 2.28 goals per contest. That lack of firepower is the single biggest reason Florida is two points shy of the Boston Bruins and the second Wild Card spot.

While Jagr’s experience isn’t in question, his production isn’t what it used to be. He has 11 goals and 29 points in 57 contests in 2014-15 and saw his role with the New Jersey Devils decrease following the firing of head coach Pete DeBoer in December. At the same time, Jagr can still contribute and has made it clear that he doesn’t want this to be his last season in the NHL.

In Tallon, it seems Jagr has found a man that’s on the same page.

“I’d love to see him play another year or two here,” Tallon said, according to the Miami Herald. “That’s what his goal is. His fitness level is second to none.”

Meanwhile, the new Jagr jerseys have already been prepared: