It’s mid-August and Jaromir Jagr is still a free agent. He’s recently said a few NHL teams have contacted him, but nothing serious or concrete has emerged.
“The most serious negotiations I have are with Kladno. Because Kladno has a smart owner who knows what he wants,” joked Jagr, who owns the team in the Czech Republic’s second-tier professional league. “No, really, I don’t have a clue. I leave it all on my agent [Petr Svoboda]. There is a couple of [NHL] teams that showed interest, but nothing specific yet.”
Jagr at age 45, finished his year with the Florida Panthers with 16 goals and 30 assists for a total of 46 points in 82 games. He’s second in league history with 1,914 points and second in games played (1,711), 56 more games and he’s tied for first with Gordie Howe. Given all of this, it’s odd that no team has seriously inquired signing him for the upcoming season.
Jagr’s bounced from team to team quite a lot in the last decade or so of his NHL career. We’ve seen him in the playoffs twice in the last five years: Bruins in 2012-2013 (22 games played) and the Panthers in 2014-2015 (6 games played). There are a few teams that would greatly benefit by signing Jagr: Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes, and Carolina Hurricanes to name a few. These teams could use an experienced leader and physical forward on the ice, and for the latter two, adding Jagr could be just the thing that gets them closer to a playoff spot.
Regardless of where Jagr signs, let’s hope it’s at least in the NHL. It would be great to see him claim the title of the most NHL games played this season and even possibly make an appearance in the playoffs. If Jagr moves on from the league, it will be a loss to all hockey fans.