There were around 20 teams that inquired about Jaromir Jagr when free agency began. Many of those teams dropped out of the derby when his price tag became apparent — at least $4 million for one year.
The Dallas Stars had a need for a top-six forward, some veteran leadership for a young roster and had available funds for the first time in several seasons after being sold to owner Tom Gaglardi.
So from that perspective, the news that Jaromir Jagr was talking with the Stars made sense.
But now that we've got official word of Cowboy Jagr ridin' down to the Lone Star State … wow.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reported on Tuesday that Jagr and the Dallas Stars agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal. That's $1.2 million more than the Philadelphia Flyers paid him last season, when he scored 54 points in 73 games, helping Claude Giroux to a star-making offensive season.
It's the first time Jagr will play for a Western Conference team, and one that travels farther than most of their rivals. It's also a decision by Jagr to play for a team that has missed the playoffs for the last four seasons and isn't anywhere near the Cup contender that the Flyers were when Jagr signed in Philly.
Jagr joins Ray Whitney (two years, $9 million) and Aaron Rome (three years, $4.5 million) as significant free-agent signings for the Stars, and center Derek Roy (acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres) as a new face in the team's top six.
Keep this in mind about Jagr: In Philly, his work ethic was an inspiration to the Flyers, going beyond the normal workday to keep his 40-year-old frame in shape. The Stars now have players like Whitney and Jagr that are going to be role models for a collection of young talent.
This is certainly one of the strangest and potentially incredibly exciting contracts the Stars could have possibly given out. Jagr has the potential to be another dynamic forward for the Stars, who have added significant offensive firepower this summer -- even if that firepower comes in the form of two of the oldest players in the NHL. It's pretty clear at this point that the Stars are squarely focused on the future of this franchise -- but are absolutely committed to turning this is into a playoff team in the meantime.
Dallas will tell you it also wants to win now, and this gives you a potential top six of: Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder, Ray Whitney, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr. That group has a formidable scoring history _ including some very good seasons in recent years.
So, is it a move to win, a move to bring in leadership to help build a bridge to the future, or just a circus sideshow designed to sell some tickets? Either way, it will probably be pretty entertaining.
Bottom line: Jagr was willing to do things he's never done in his career for some extra money; oh, and would you look at that -- Texas has no state income tax!
The investment might be worth it if it means a few more goals on the board for Dallas — and, let's face it, a few more fannies in seats in the crowd.
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