There was perhaps no sadder moment in the NHL offseason than when Jaromir Jagr tweeted out his free-agent lament: There have been no calls to the 45-year-old legend from general managers.
For the first time, we all started to really consider if this was the end of the line for the ageless one, despite 46 points and 17 minutes per game for the Florida Panthers last season.
We also all started fantasy casting ways for Jagr to continue his career in the NHL, but those options were flying off the table during free agency. The Kings addressed their old-ass right wing need with Mike Cammalleri. Carolina added Justin Williams and is stacked up on the wing. Despite Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello in Toronto, there’s probably not a fit there, either. And so on.
But that will not deter us from finding a home for Jagr in 2017-18.
We don’t offer any palpable inside information here. The man is a modern day Jedi, and Jedi are not often known for their candor. Well, except for Anakin, who couldn’t stop with the creepy proclamations of lust for Padme. And look how that ended up.
Here’s a look at some Jagr Watch possibilities, if he decides to grace this planet with his talents for another season.
The Coyotes used to be the go-to place for legendary players to ride off into the intense desert sunset (Hull, Roenick) but their recent treatment of aged veterans clearly signals a change in policy (see: Doan, Shane). That said, super stat nerd John Chayka clearly understands the possession impact Jagr makes, the team has a need on right wing and their cap space is larger than the GDP of some island nations.
See, this is an interesting one. It hits on a positional need for the Flames. It’s a team that has some cap space. It’s a team that has the type of young forwards for whom Jagr can be an inspiration.
Does he fit the Flames? Here’s FlamesNation on it:
If Jagr is expected to be a top line player, he’d almost certainly be alongside Gaudreau and Monahan – two 60+ point young forwards – and considering the way Glen Gulutzan deploys his forwards, Jagr would undoubtedly be put in a position to succeed. From there, all he’d have to do is keep up with a couple of players in their early 20s, which he’d already been doing during his time in Florida. Same stuff, different team, another year older. That’s what we’re looking at.
He could make a top 10 power play even better. And we’re all for the Adventures of Jaromir and Johnny, Hockey Rock Stars.
Detroit Red Wings
We’re not entirely sure why the Red Wings would do this, but then we’re not entirely sure what the Red Wings are doing overall. Jagr on a one-year Vanek contract? They haven’t had an immovable object on the power play like this since Johan Franzen. (Also, this would greatly increase the chances that Jagr picks up an octopus and fashions it into some kind of cephalopod mullet.)
The idea of Jagr, at this point in his career, skating with Connor McDavid is like the idea of Tony Bennett singing with a speed metal band. But if there’s one virtue Jagr has that fits here, it’s his mentorship. Having Jagr’s work ethic, and the way he uses his body, as a model for Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi would be great. And it’s not like they don’t have the cap space.
The ECHL Florida Everblades
He owns his hometown team, having played there during the most recent lockout. If he wants to play, he can play. If he wants to help grow the game back home, he could do that too. And while Jagr might be a supporting cast member in the NHL, he’d be King Hockey back home.
Plus there might be a whole new generation of models that want to blackmail him on social media.
Look, if you’re going to keep Tomas Plekanec around for another season, might as well bring in his Czech national team (and Kladno) linemate and do something with him, right? Plus, Jagr on the half wall of a power play that features Brendan Gallagher in front and Shea Weber on the blue line? Hey, this could work! (But please, everyone: NO ONE TELL JAROMIR ABOUT THE TAXES.)
New Jersey Devils
This would be a second go for Jagr with the Devils. All About The Jersey makes the case that Jagr still fits:
So what is the reasoning behind signing a 45-year-old player to a team in a still-ongoing rebuild? Simply put, he makes them better right now and requires zero commitment long term. The Devils have a need at right wing, and he is hands-down the best one available at this point. And this summer, Ray Shero has made it clear that he doesn’t really want to offer term to any players if he can avoid it, making a guy like Jagr, who wouldn’t command anything past one year, ideal.
It’s hard to imagine him going to back to Jersey, especially now that Patrik Elias is no longer active. But hey, they have the roster and the money if staying in the NHL is paramount to him.
I mean, it’s already an (e4) for Jagr to the Senators:
— Djugarden (@dju089) July 17, 2017
What would Mike Hoffman ask for if Jaromir Jagr needed No. 68? A yacht?
But honestly: Where would he fit and why do they need him and wait hold on maybe Eugene sees ticket sales here?
C’mon, we all want this to happen.
This matchmaking was the genesis for #JagrWatch a few years ago. We all want this water to be under the bridge. We all want to see Mario and Jagr recreate this photo. (Even if Sid and Geno did a decent job of it.) We all want to see him on Malkin’s wing so he scores 36 goals and ties Gordie Howe. OK, maybe Red Wings fans don’t want to see this.
It doesn’t matter if he’s an empty husk of a shell of himself and needs to be dragged up and down the ice by his mullet by younger, better players: Jagr on the Penguins would be the “Selanne returns to Winnipeg” moment we never got, times a billion.
Professional Tryout Contract
Life in the NHL, under the salary cap, means that plenty of star players have to go this route near the end, from Scott Gomez to Christian Ehrhoff. We all want to believe that Jagr is an actor who just gets parts but never has to audition for them, but maybe he needs to if he wants a callback. Here’s to the fools who dream. Crazy as they may seem.
San Jose Sharks
Thornton and Jagr would be the best line pairing ever put together in NHL 07.
As much as Jagr and the Sedins would be the greatest nostalgic act to hit arenas since the G’n R reunion, sadly there are only 20 minutes in a period and a good portion of that might be spent watching them skate out of their own zone. Also, with the Sedins there, Vancouver doesn’t even need Jagr as a veteran mentor.
Vegas Golden Knights
YEAHHHHHHH, we’ll bet the “Don’t Pass” line on this one.
Finally … Gulp … Retirement
Jagr deserves better than some ignominious farewell in an NHL offseason, treated with the dignity of an old car that ends up on someone’s lawn with “OR BEST OFFER” written on the window. He’s a hockey deity. The mind boggles over the notion that he won’t go out on his terms, or that he can’t help someone next season.
But if this is the end, and perhaps it might be, we’ll go back to a previous point: Sign a one-day deal and retire as a Penguin. That’s the only way we could cope with the retirement of Jaromir Jagr without a farewell tour.
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