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.”
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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