Due to his overall effort last season, it seems likely that the fans will see him at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia next season. As to what uniform he will be wearing during that time is the question on this summer's table.
Back in business
After leaving the New York Rangers in 2008, Jagr spent three years in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League.
Despite interest from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings last year, he agreed to a one-year contract with the Flyers on July 1, 2011. The Flyers offer of $3.3 million was believed to be the highest of all proposals that were made.
While groin issues did affect part of his 2011-12 season, Jagr managed to play in 73 regular season games and 11 combined postseason contests against the Penguins and New Jersey Devils. As long as he is able to remain relatively healthy and retains his desire, I could see him deferring retirement indefinitely.
Will the 40-year-old choose to stay with an organization that he became a positive part of last season, move to a team that might have a stronger chance of winning the Stanley Cup in 2013, or be influenced by other factors?
Jagr told me that, "You appreciate things after you lose them." His comments came just prior to the playoffs and were reflective of how much he valued being back in the National Hockey League.
Whenever I saw him in the locker room, be it at the Flyers practice facility or after games, he was always the same. Sure, like any player, he was influenced by whatever the surrounding events were at the time. But, the man was clearly grateful to be playing the game that he loved on the biggest iced stage in the world once again.
Last summer general manager Paul Holmgren believed that the future Hall of Famer still possessed the needed skill level to be an effective forward in the League. It's likely that he also thought that someone of Jagr's stature would make a positive impression on a roster that was undergoing a major revamp.
The right blend
There is no doubt that the Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jagr became what it was due to a terrific blend of personal chemistry and physical skills. Yes, that is how all dominant lines gel. In this instance, the power of Jagr's persona clearly enabled Giroux's massive talent (career high 1.21 points per game) to be exposed and allowed Hartnell to 'get down' with moving to the very top (career high 0.82 ppg) of his game. Obviously, both players also helped number 68 to feel young again.
Jagr's point production (84 combined regular season and playoff games: 20 goals, 42 assists) can be replaced. His presence can't.
If money matters are realistic on both sides, it would be nice to see him continue his career revival in that same orange sweater that many never thought he would wear.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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