Tag: hypothetical situations

Jaromir Jagr

Playing the “What if?” game with Jaromir Jagr’s career


Philadelphia Flyers winger Jaromir Jagr broke his tie with Joe Sakic for eighth place on the NHL’s all-time points scoring list, adding another bullet point to a no-brainer Hall of Fame career.

The Czech-born forward has played 1,327 regular season games in his NHL career and 169 more in the playoffs, so it’s hard to say that things could have gone any better.

Even with that in mind, there are three moments in his playing days that could have put his amazing run under the spotlight that much more. With that in mind, let’s play the “What if?” game with Jagr’s career – in chronological order.

1. What if he beat out Eric Lindros for the 1994-95 Hart Trophy?

Jagr narrowly lost two Hart Trophy races – both against good old Canadian boys with remarkably similar numbers. The first one came with Eric Lindros won his only league MVP in a strike-shortened 1994-95 season. With the help of hockey-reference.com, here are some quick numbers that show how close the two were.

Points: Jagr and Lindros tied with 70 (Jagr played in 48 games; Lindros played in 46)
Goals:  Jagr was second in the NHL with 32 (Peter Bondra had 34) while Lindros had 29.
Point shares: Jagr barely edges Lindros 27.2-27.1 … whatever that means.
Teammates: Ron Francis was the Penguins’ second leading scorer with 59 points; Mikael Renberg had 57 for Philly
Misc.: Jagr started the season at 22 years old; Lindros was 21. Even their teams were remarkably similar as the Penguins had 61 standings points and the Flyers had 60.

Seriously, Lindros and Jagr might as well have split the Hart that season.

source: Getty Images2. What if Jagr edged Joe Thornton for the 2005-06 Hart Trophy?

Much like the Lindros-Jagr scenario, the Thornton-Jagr voting could have gone both ways, too.

Jumbo Joe lead the league in assists (a ridiculous 96) and edged Jagr in points (125-123), but some might factor into more-difficult-to-get goals into the argument (Jagr was second overall in the NHL with 54 to Thornton’s 29). You can consult the history-reference season summary to quibble over different things such as goals created, but the stats are all very close – again.

Context didn’t do much to distinguish the two, either. Sure, Thornton made Jonathan Cheechoo a mufti-millioniare and 56-goal scorer, but Jagr racked up those crazy numbers with linemates like Michael Nylander and Martin Straka in New York.

3. What if he didn’t go to the KHL?

OK, so maybe those Hart Trophy coin-flips don’t do it for you. The most intriguing hypothetical question is: where would Jagr be if he didn’t go to the KHL for three seasons?

There are so many variables – particularly wear and tear/burnout from not knowing what he’s missing in the NHL – but it’s still intriguing to wonder where he’d rank on the all-time lists if he played in those seasons. I’m not going to speculate on where he’d be, but just look at the point and goal marks that would be within his feasible grasp.


4. Ron Francis: 1,798
5. Marcel Dionne: 1,771
6. Steve Yzerman: 1,755
7. Mario Lemieux: 1,723
8. Jagr: 1,643


3. Brett Hull – 741
4. Dionne – 731
5. Phil Esposito – 717
6. Mike Gartner – 708
7. Mark Messier – 694
8. Yzerman – 692
9. Lemieux – 690
10. Luc Robitaille – 668
11. Jagr – 663


In the grand scheme of things, Jagr maximized his potential in his NHL career. Few players could dream of the money he made, games he managed to play and numbers he put up.

Still, it’s interesting to ponder how people would feel about his career if he had, say, three Hart Trophies and was in the top five in both points and goals, right?

Columnist says Avs should try to get Chris Stewart back


The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater indulged in some rare trade rumor talk based on word that St. Louis Blues power forward Chris Stewart might be on the block. His stance is pretty logical: the Colorado Avalanche should try to get Stewart back if he is indeed available.

In case you need a refresher, Stewart and useful offensive defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk were traded to the Blues for former top overall pick Erik Johnson (picks exchanged hands too).

Why Colorado might covet Chris

Dater emphasizes that Stewart wasn’t happy with being moved and still has plenty of friends on the team. More importantly, he has been disappointing this season for St. Louis and the Avalanche miss his size in their top six forwards, so a deal would make some sense for both sides.

(I’m not so sure that St. Louis would be getting equal value if they move Stewart for fellow struggling scorer David Jones, which Dater discusses as a possible match, though.)

Blues might want more for Stewart, though

The Blues boast a deep offense so it’s quite possible that Stewart could be expendable, but at the same time, big forwards only become more valuable as goals become tougher to come by. Granted, St. Louis is unusually robust on offense, but that could be a real strength in the playoffs.

I’m not so sure I’d move Stewart with his value at a middling level – unless they can get someone who adds a better dimension to their team rather than another hot-and-cold scorer. (Perhaps someone who can add a little zip to their power play?)


What do you think, though? Should the Avalanche try to reunite Stewart with a team he didn’t want to leave? Might there be unresolved issues that expedited his departure in the first place? Share your take in the comments.

Could Shane Doan be a trade deadline target if the Coyotes falter?

Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes - Game Four

The Phoenix Coyotes have had a lot of ups and downs over the last decade or so, whether it’s been on the ice (missing the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons before Dave Tippett took over) or with their well-publicized ownership issues.The one constant has been power forward Shane Doan, often a standout player who’s been a member of the franchise since their last season in Winnipeg and has ranked as one of the league’s most respected leaders since he became their captain in 2003-04. It’s likely that he’ll cross the 300 goal mark with the only team he’s ever played for next season.

All of that sentimentality aside, the sad reality of sports is that even the best relationships must come to an end at some point. There’s no denying the loyalty of the 34-year-old Canadian winger, but with the franchise’s future in Arizona in doubt and Doan’s own contract ready to expire after the 2011-12 season, it’s reasonable to wonder if he might be a popular trade target if the Coyotes struggle without Ilya Bryzgalov in net.

That’s the idea that ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers brought up in a mailbag a few days ago and Lyle Richardson elaborated upon tonight. Before I get into my own thoughts on a possible Doan trade, here’s what Spector had to say about the concept.

Doan might be available if the Coyotes are out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, but it’s not a certainty.

A recent report in USA Today noted Coyotes GM Don Maloney wanted to meet with Doan prior to training camp to discuss a new contract.


Doan has been very loyal to the Coyotes franchise dating back to his time in Winnipeg, so it shouldn’t be assumed he’s keen to test next summer’s UFA market.

Still, if Doan decides to wait until the end of the season to talk contract, or it appears the Coyotes are headed to another city following the season and they fall out of playoff contention by February, rumors of a deadline trade to a Cup contender – such as the Blackhawks – will run rampant.

Again, Doan has been very loyal to the Coyotes and could very well sign a contract extension before the trade deadline comes around. Still, let’s take a quick look at which teams might want to keep Doan on their radars.

Note: Doan registers a $4.5 million salary cap hit, but that amount would be greatly reduced around trade deadline time. Still, cap space will be given at least some consideration in this discussion.

source: Getty ImagesChicago (current cap space: $3.04 million): Rogers mentions Doan as a good fit for the Blackhawks, which makes sense since his rugged play and experience would be worthwhile if Chicago finds themselves in another grudge match against the Vancouver Canucks. That being said, they probably need a pure No. 2 center more than anything else.

Vancouver ($2.53M): Speaking of the Canucks, they could really use a top-six forward and Doan would make an already agitating team that much tougher to play against. How many teams would want to deal with Doan, Ryan Kesler, Maxim Lapierre and Alexandre Burrows in a best of seven series?

Detroit ($5.85M): Red Wings fans learned to hate Doan in their last two first round series, but if Detroit wanted to go all-in during what could be Nicklas Lidstrom’s final season, Doan would give them a physical presence – not to mention a right-handed shot.

Boston ($7.62M): The Bruins have a pretty deep set of forwards, but they also have a ton of cap space and might want a little more scoring variety with hot-and-cold winger Michael Ryder out of the picture. Doan would make the Bruins bigger and badder by bolstering a beefy group that already includes Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.

Los Angeles ($9.34M): Obviously, the Kings won’t have nearly the same amount of cap space after they sign Drew Doughty, but they still should have some money left over during deadline time. Doan seems like an ideal fit for the way Los Angeles does business, although the Coyotes would cringe at the idea of trading their hero to a divisional foe.

Nashville ($15.88M): His full season price tag might be a bit much for the Predators, but adding an impact forward like Doan at the trade deadline might show Nashville’s Big 3 that they’re serious about contending.


Honestly, the previous list is just a small sampling of the teams who should keep an eye on Doan. In an ideal world, he’ll stick with the Coyotes until he hangs up his skates, but you cannot blame fans of other teams for imagining how he’d fit in as a rental player.