After running out of steam at the end of the last two seasons, including a goal-less playoff run with the Boston Bruins last postseason, there’s some question about how 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr will fit with the New Jersey Devils and what the Devils can expect out of the legend this season.
Devils President/GM/Ruler of All He Surveys Lou Lamoriello likens Jagr’s presence to that of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny when he played for Jersey from 1989 to 1993; which, one assumes, slow-motion skating but still-brilliant hands.
But both Lamoriello and coach Peter DeBoer said this week that Jagr’s asset will be on the power play, and Lamoriello was rather specific about his assets. Via Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record:
“Jaromir, he knows where he’s at and I know one thing, when we played the Bruins last year we were worried about him on the power play. We were worried about that big rear end of his wherever it was standing and that long stick and how he could thread the needle.”
Big rear and a long stick. The trappings of a power play juggernaut.
“I’m really excited to see him with our power play unit and what he’s going to bring to the table for us in that capacity. And then from there it’s just going to be finding the right combinations with him to complement him on a nightly basis.”
Can he replace the points that left with Ilya Kovalchuk? Said DeBoer:
“Sure. He’s had a history of producing offense. Kovy’s one of the best offensive players in the NHL and we’re going to have to replace some of that as a group, but I think the guys we picked up will have the ability.”
The Devils had the 21st best power play in the NHL last season at 15.9 percent, which hurt when you consider they had the third most power-play opportunities (176). Kovalchuk took 14 power-play points with him to Russia, after 29 in 77 games in the previous season. Jagr had 11 points last season and 20 in the previous season in 73 games with the Flyers.