Jaromir Jagr was seeing his role decline with the New Jersey Devils, but the trade to the Florida Panthers seems to have done him a lot of good. The 43-year-old has gotten regular minutes with 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov and that’s helped Jagr record 14 points in 18 games with the Panthers.
With Florida mathematically eliminated though, it’s time for both sides to look towards the future. Jagr, speaking Czech Daily Sport, expressed an interest in inking a two-year deal with Florida, which is a deviation from his policy since returning from the KHL of only signing one-year contracts.
“It’s still too soon to anticipate anything, but there is a pretty big chance we’ll come to an agreement (with Florida). It depends on the club. If they want to sign me for one year, or for two years,” said Jagr, per NHL.com’s translation. “I did, but let’s see what happens now. It’s too soon to say anything now.”
Florida might ultimately be more comfortable signing Jagr for a single season given his age, but the fact that he’s interested in a two-year deal likely reflects both his feelings about the Panthers and his desire to continue to push the boundaries of how long a player can stay competitive in the modern NHL.
Jaromir Jagr says 'what's not to love?' about potential return to #FlaPanthers next season. Appears interest is mutual.
As for this season, it’s been both odd and disappointing. The Devils began with one head coach (Peter DeBoer) and, barring something crazy, will finish with three (Lamoriello, Adam Oates, Scott Stevens). They also missed the playoffs for the third straight year, something former captain Zach Parise said he “never would’ve predicted.”
“Just because of the way things are run,” Parise said in early March, per the Star-Ledger. “I hope they can pull off something at the end of the year, or next year, and get back in.”
Your guess is as good as any to why the Devils aren’t handing out hardware. If it’s because Lamoriello and company didn’t want to celebrate a disappointing campaign, that’s fine, but New Jersey gave out trophies last year — Jaromir Jagr won MVP, Andy Greene earned Unsung Hero and Ryan Carter took home the Players’ Player — despite the fact the Devils finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, with just 35 wins.
As is often the case in New Jersey, you can probably chalk this latest decision up to Lou being Lou.
Jagr now shares fourth on all-time points list with Ron Francis
The Florida Panthers kept their faint playoff hopes alive on Thursday with a crushing 6-1 victory over Carolina. Along the way, Jaromir Jagr collected his 721st career goal and 1,077th career assist.
Those 1,798 points put him in a tie with Ron Francis for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time scoring leaderboard. Francis joined the Pittsburgh Penguins during Jagr’s rookie campaign with the franchise and the two played together until the 1998-99 campaign.
Jagr turned 43 on Feb. 15, but he has still managed to score 16 goals and 43 points in 73 contests in 2014-15. To put that in perspective, of players who were 42 or older by Feb. 1 of the applicable campaign, Gordie Howe is the all-time single season leader with 52 points. Jagr is just the fifth player to get at least 43 points in a season at 42 (again, by Feb. 1) or older along with Mark Recchi, Igor Larionov, and Mark Messier, per Hockey Reference.
“Nobody really gives those kids any credit,” said Jagr of the young team in Florida. “How young they are, they’re so talented. They’re going to surprise the league in two years. They might win the cup the way and they’re going to get better and better. They don’t even have to do anything and they’re going to get better.”
Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland had the other Panthers goals while Dan Ellis made 25 saves for the win.
Florida has points in three straight games and five of their last six.
Senators captain Erik Karlsson scored his 20th of the season and Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the other for Ottawa. The Sens have lost three straight for the first time since Feb. 3-7.
Craig Anderson made his second straight start and made 33 saves in the loss.
After all, the Panthers are still trying to claw their way into the playoffs.
“This is too important a time; we’ll get to it when time is right,” Tallon told the Miami Herald.
“We’ll talk after the season. … He has interest [in staying] but is a free agent on July 1. He’ll make up his mind when he makes up his mind. From what I’ve seen and what has gone on, it would be tremendous to have him back here.”
Jagr has two goals and 10 points in 13 games with the Florida Panthers and has tried to be a mentor for his linemates, 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.
Florida is four points behind the Boston Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card seed with seven games remaining in each team’s schedule.