Jaromir Jagr is incredible, with 22 points in 28 games for the New Jersey Devils. Jaromir Jagr is also incredibly old at 41, which means he probably shouldn't have to carry as much of the offensive load as he has this season for the post-Kovalchuk Devils.
He’s averaging 18:43 in ice time per game, his highest since coming back from the KHL, and has played over 20 minutes in three of his last four contests.
The problem is that outside of Patrik Elias, Jagr is the only Devils player that makes opposing defenses wake up from their slumber and worry about a New Jersey scorer. Jagr has 11 goals; no Devil has more than six.
They’re relying too much on him. They’re going to burn him out.
At the very least, Coach Peter DeBoer knows this, via the Star-Ledger:
“I didn’t expect he’d be able to take the kind of work load we’ve given him so far. Frankly, in my mind, we’re playing him too much,”DeBoer said. “We’re overplaying him and a few other forwards, partly because of depth and injuries. We need some secondary guys to step up and help some of those guys out.”
Ah yes, there’s the issue: Jagr plays because the rest of the lineup can’t muster the offense he can. From DeBoer:
“The minutes have just been a little high. He’s earned them. He’s been key getting some of the wins in some games. For me, the bigger issue I shouldn’t have to play him that much. We have to find other guys to take some of those minutes and right now we’re looking for people to seize some of those opportunities.”
The Devils are still missing one guy that could share those minutes in Ryane Clowe, who is out with a concussion until he returns and gets another concussion. And then it'll be back to Jagr playing Ryan Suter minutes.