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: