COMMENTARY | Certain names often come up on the trade block. For the Colorado Avalanche, the names Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly are often tossed around come the trade deadline, March 5. This year, P.A. Parenteau is another trade rumor around for the Avs. Apparently he was looking good to go to the Montreal Canadiens.
One name that hasn't come up as a trade rumor is Jaromir Jagr. However, it should. The Colorado Avalanche should do whatever it takes to trade for Jaromir Jagr.
Number 5: He's cheap.
Considering his $4.5 million salary, calling Jagr "cheap" may seem odd. However, Jaromir Jagr is an elite player from a time when elite really meant something. He has played with the greats, people like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. He is now chasing down their records - and surpassing them. $4.5 million is pretty cheap for a future Hall of Famer of that caliber.
Next year the Colorado Avalanche are going to be tapping on that salary cap. This year, though, they are underpaying some key players -- who will all get nice salary hikes next year.
- Captain Gabriel Landeskog only makes $925,000, which will jump next year.
- Matt Duchene makes $3.75 million, which will go up next year, as it should.
- Rookie and phenom Nathan MacKinnon makes about the same as Landeskog.
- Semyon Varlomov's salary will increase next year, thanks to the contract extension he just signed.
This year, though, the Avs are relatively cash-rich. They can afford Jagr - this year. Next year they couldn't afford him, but that's next year.
Number 4: The Colorado Avalanche are a "crazy young team."
In the words of Max Talbot anyway, the Avs are crazy young. They're not the youngest team in the league, but they're wicked young. The majority of their key players are 25 or younger. One of their best scorers right now is rookie Nate MacKinnon, a lad of just 18 years old.
Jaromir Jagr was a crazy young player once, seeing success at a young age. He was one of the youngest players in NHL history to score a Stanley Cup goal - and his plays of the time were well-lauded. They still are.
Jaromir Jagr had the benefit of veteran players, leaders in the locker room, especially the great Mario Lemieux. Young pups Duchene, MacKinnon and Landeskog don't have a veteran great like Lemieux. There's leadership on the Avalanche bench, but not that level of greatness. All the greatness is behind the bench now.
During the recent Avalanche-Devils matchup, Jaromir Jagr took possession of the puck midway through the third period. His team was up by one, so he indulged in a small display of his puck-handling skills. He just cycled the puck around in the offensive zone. You can barely say he was dangling or deking as the Avs players - MacKinnon and Landeskog among them - seemed unable to do anything but watch.
Imagine what the young pups could learn from Jagr if he were a teammate rather than a twice-yearly opponent. Jagr could teach them lessons no one else still playing in the league can.
Number 3: He's currently not playoff-bound.
The New Jersey Devils aren't looking good to make the playoffs. Jaromir Jagr turns 42 this year, and he can't have that many seasons left in him. He has won two Stanley Cups, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, in 1991 and 1992. That was a long time ago. He could use another.
The Colorado Avalanche are looking really good the make the playoffs. They're also no strangers to drafting a veteran player to get him a Cup - Ray Bourque won his only Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 after having spent 21 years as a Boston Bruin. They could do Jagr a solid by trading for him.
Number 2: He's a superstar.
The Colorado Avalanche do best when they have a superstar or two (or three) on their team. Remember the triumvirate -- Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic. The Avs currently don't have even one superstar. They have at least a couple future superstars, players such as Duchene and MacKinnon who have real possibilities of becoming elite players. They do not have an elite player of the moment, though.
Jaromir Jagr is an elite player. His trade could be akin to the Patrick Roy trade of 1995 in terms of scope.
Number 1: The Colorado Avalanche could win a Stanley Cup with Jaromir Jagr.
All of the above just leads to the conclusion - the Avs could win a Cup with Jagr. He's got beautiful stick handling. He's still a fine skater. He matches if not excels Patrick Roy in hockey smarts. He knows what it takes to win a Cup - and how to do it as a "crazy young" player.
The Colorado Avalanche do not have any of that on ice right now. They have a few players who have won Stanely Cups, including Alex Tanguay, who won one with the Avs. None of them are Jagr's caliber though. No offense to them - practically no one is Jagr's caliber at this point.
Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Semyon Varlamov - they're not enough to win a Stanley Cup. They're enough to take the Avalanche to the playoffs, which have been elusive in recent years. At their current level, though, they're just not enough to bring the Cup back to Colorado.
Jaromir Jagr is. He could be 2014's Ray Bourque or Patrick Roy. He could make just that difference.
Paul Stastny, P.A. Parenteau, Ryan O'Reilly - I don't want to say a single one of them is expendable. To get Jaromir Jagr, though? Send all three, even though just one of their salaries would cover Jagr's. I love those guys, but send all three if necessary - Jaromir Jagr would be that rare addition that can't be turned down.
Nadia Archuleta is a native Coloradan and professional writer. An Avalanche fan since their beginnings, she has a sports blog, Hockeygrrls on Blogger, and writes content for several websites.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Jaromir Jagr
- Colorado Avalanche
- Mario Lemieux