Jaromir Jagr

End to End: Jaromir Jagr is still available … Flyers?

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End to End: Jaromir Jagr is still available … Flyers?

Throughout the offseason, we’ll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com reporters John Boruk, Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone.

The topic: Jaromir Jagr is still available … Flyers?

Boruk
It’s extremely rare for Philadelphia to have this endearing loyalty to any athlete following a one-year love affair, but from Day 1, Jagr connected with hockey fans on South Broad. He had the hair, the smile, the occasional salute, his tireless dedication to his craft, but there was more to it than that.

Understand one of the biggest reasons Jagr is so revered in Philadelphia was his decision to spurn the Penguins at the last minute to sign with the Flyers. He rejected old friend and former teammate Mario Lemieux so he could join their most heated rival. You just can’t buy that level of respect and admiration!

Playing on a line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell for much of that 2011-12 season, Jagr turned in a respectable 54-point season. That trio clicked for the first three months of the season, but Jagr started to fade after December as he re-acclimated his body and conditioning to the NHL’s 82-game schedule, which came four years after his last season in the NHL with the Rangers. He also struggled to contribute in the playoffs with one goal in the Flyers' 11 postseason games.

Since that season, Jagr has bounced around the league, playing for four different teams since 2012 — the Stars, Bruins, Devils and Panthers. His act would play perfectly on the Vegas strip, and Jagr has proven he can still contribute into his mid-40s. He’s recorded 30 assists in each of the past four seasons — a total that only 35 other players have achieved.

At the very least, Jagr deserves to outlast the NHL career of Chris Chelios, who played seven games for the Atlanta Thrashers at the age of 48.

If this Flyers team needs Jaromir Jagr to reach the playoffs again, then it's in some serious trouble. After further thought, why not bring Jagr in on a training camp invite, if anything, to make training camp fun again? He could fill our smartphones and tape recorders with quotes for half a season. He could mentor the prospects and put a smile on Little Mario (his nickname for Giroux). In fact, I could probably sway Jagr to return with little more than a gift card to Costco. He took $2 million for one year to join the Devils and then proceeded to score 24 goals and 67 points in 2014. If Ron Hextall was so inclined, he could sign Jagr at a 50 percent discount. One million dollars for one season would get it done.

Dougherty 
Flyers GM Hextall vehemently downplayed the idea of signing Jagr, or any other veteran free agent that would block the youth movement, on July 2. “Not the direction we're going in,” he said then. But as we enter the dog days of the NHL summer, Jagr remains without an NHL contract.

I don’t believe signing Jagr would fit into the Flyers’ plans. It doesn’t align with how Hextall runs his operations, and Hextall is on the record saying Jagr isn’t where he’s headed. But. How Jagr still doesn’t have a contract baffles me. He’s still productive and would improve any team that signs him. He would be an instant upgrade to the Flyers. There’s no doubt.
 
Perhaps the biggest roadblock as to why Jagr remains unsigned is the role he wants and the role NHL teams believe he’s capable of handling as he turns 46 in February. Last season, Jagr scored 16 goals and 46 points for the Florida Panthers, who have moved on from the future Hall of Famer. Those 46 points would have ranked sixth on the Flyers, and his 16 goals would have ranked fourth on the team — ahead of team captain Giroux’s 14.

Jagr remains in phenomenal shape. His workout regimen is one of legend. But as he approaches 50 years old, there’s no denying he wears down as the season goes on. That’s been the story the last few seasons in Florida, where he’s been ever so productive but has worn down. Perhaps Jagr realizes this, perhaps NHL teams realize this too.

Perhaps we’re making too much of the fact that Jagr remains unsigned. Could he decide to head back to the KHL, where he could be guaranteed a large role? I think that is very much a realistic possibility at this point in time. But I also believe teams could prefer waiting to sign Jagr, rather than bringing him in for the start of the season. I could see teams waiting out as long as possible before offering Jagr a contract enticing enough for him to sign.

And perhaps Jagr is OK with this too. It is astonishing to see him unsigned — I still think he belongs in the NHL and that he can still play, and play at a high level too. In the end, I do think we’ll see Jagr in the NHL again this season — when and where is the question.

I don’t think it will be the Flyers. But the obvious answer is: Yes, Hextall and the Flyers should consider Jagr. Every NHL team should. Because at 45 years old, Jaromir Jagr is still a very productive player and he will make an impact anywhere he goes.

Hall
Albeit an interesting thought and a bit more intriguing now with Jagr still out there, my answer is the same as when we discussed a possible Hartnell reunion.

No.

Jagr can still play — maybe he could help the Flyers in a few areas, both tangibly and intangibly.

But this season should be about taking a step forward by injecting more youth into the equation. The Flyers finally have some opportunity for prospects to make the jump and start their NHL development. And the kids are expected to make an impact, too. 

Last season, we saw the positives of having youngsters in Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny. This season, it's time for many more. Hextall even acknowledged that just four days after the 2016-17 regular season ended.

"Our young players, they've done enough," he said. "Our young players are going to get a long look. We don't plan on going out and signing veterans on the back end. Our kids, it's time to give them a shot, and we're going to do that."

If the Flyers wanted to sign Jagr, it would obviously be for one season. Still, that's one season of blockading a forward prospect from being here or playing meaningful minutes — someone like Mike Vecchione or Scott Laughton (yes, he's still a prospect and worth watching). Or, it could even change a lot for the likes of Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick.

As fun as it would be to see Jagr back in Philadelphia, the answer here is an easy no.

Paone
With all due respect to Jagr (and he's an absolute legend who's due a lot of it), that ship has sailed here in Philadelphia.

Let's weigh this out here: What could a soon-to-be 46-year-old Jagr bring to this group of Flyers?

Sure, he could bring that invaluable leadership and example to the Flyers that was so important during the 2011-12 season. Remember the effect he had that year alongside Giroux, who ran wild across the league with a career-high 93 points? A handful goals and points here and there from Jagr would always be helpful, too.

But no way does that stuff outweigh eating up a roster space for a young player who's ready for a taste of the NHL level and using any precious cap space on the oldest player in the league rather than keeping more of the already slim flexibility the Flyers have.

Hextall's vision is all about the youth and development from within. That's the focus of the club from top to bottom right now. Needless to say, Jagr doesn't come anywhere close to fitting that vision or focus. I doubt Jagr has ever even popped up on Hextall's radar this summer. Want proof? During a conference call earlier in the summer, Hextall was asked about Jagr and emphatically slammed the door shut on that idea in not so many words, as Tom mentioned above.

The fact of the matter here is the Flyers just don't have a spot on the roster or a role for him — Jagr never has been and never will be a fourth-line player. Why even consider him if there's no roster spot, no role, he doesn't fit the vision the team has molded for itself and if cap space is at a premium? Why even waste the energy or breath?

Do I feel Jagr will get picked up before the season starts? Yeah, I do, by a team closer to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender that's looking for some veteran punch. And he'll make an impact because that's just what a legend like him does.

That team just isn't the Flyers.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

NHL Notes: Stars ink Alexander Radulov to 5-year deal; Jagr still available

NHL Notes: Stars ink Alexander Radulov to 5-year deal; Jagr still available

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have signed right winger Alexander Radulov to a $31.25 million, five-year deal.

Radulov will count $6.25 million against the salary cap through 2021-222 after getting the biggest contract in free agency. General manager Jim Nill announced Monday that the Stars signed the top player available on the market on Day 3 of free agency.

The 30-year-old Russian had 18 goals and 36 assists for 54 points last season with the Montreal Canadiens after returning to the NHL following four seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. He played on a $5.75 million, one-year deal and was looking for a long-term agreement this time around.

Radulov got that from the Stars, who also signed center Martin Hanzal for $14.25 million over three years (see full story).

Big names still available in free agency
A busy weekend to kick off NHL free agency has left a few prominent players still looking for landing spots, and teams still needing to fill some holes.

The leftover list is a who's who of stars from previous decades, notably Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla, while Montreal is working to bring back Andrei Markov and Alexander Radulov. Now that Joe Thornton has returned to San Jose and Patrick Marleau has moved on to Toronto, much of the intrigue has been taken out of the offseason.

There are still a few big loose ends to address with two months left before training camp, though:

Old fish
Outside of 30-year-old Radulov, the most productive players remaining on the market are on the downside of their careers: Jagr at 45, Iginla at 40, Markov at 38 and Thomas Vanek at 33. Then there are 40-year-olds Shane Doan and Matt Cullen and 37-year-old Mike Fisher trying to decide whether to play another year.

Cullen in particular showed he still has something left by helping Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons. He could help any contender.

"Cully was just such an amazing friend and an amazing teammate that no one would be surprised, at least that played with him, if he came back," said former Penguins center Nick Bonino, who signed a $16.4 million, four-year deal with the Predators. "Physically, he's in great shape. I think for him, it's mentally if he wants to do another season of it."

Jagr won't be back with Florida, and Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said he won't consider signing him for a second tour in Philadelphia.

A couple of young players worth watching are former top prospects Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, who weren't given qualifying offers as restricted free agents. Yakupov and Grigorenko are 23, could come cheap on prove-it contracts and still contribute after rocky starts to their NHL careers.

Kovalchuk back to KHL?
Ilya Kovalchuk has been exploring a return to the NHL, but there's no evidence that's going to happen next season. The New Jersey Devils own the Russian forward's rights for one more year, and GM Ray Shero said it's first up to agent Jay Grossman to talk to interested teams about Kovalchuk before he even gets involved to potentially work out a trade.

That hasn't happened yet.

"I assume at some point in the next few days, we should have a real good indication of what's going on or what he's going to do," Shero said.

Kovalchuk could play one more season in the Kontinental Hockey League and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018 at age 35, when he'd also be eligible for an incentive-based contract.

Capital improvements
Washington is making some major changes, which have less to do with an early playoff exit than an impossible salary-cap situation. Either way, the Capitals still need to confront some things. After signing right wing T.J. Oshie ($46 million/eight years), defenseman Dmitry Orlov ($30.6 million/six years) and center Evgeny Kuznetsov ($64.2 million/eight years), they cleared over $4.5 million in cap space by trading forward Marcus Johansson to New Jersey, but they can't be done.

Washington has about $9.2 million to sign restricted free agent forward Andre Burakovsky and goaltender Philipp Grubauer and have enough remaining to fill out the roster with at least five other players.

Trade market
July has become a popular time for significant trades because teams have more cap space to maneuver than at the deadline. Because the expansion draft froze player movement for almost a week in June, there has been plenty of chatter, and the deals are expected to continue.

Vegas has already flipped defensemen -- Marc Methot to Dallas, Trevor van Riemsdyk to Carolina, Alexei Emelin to Nashville and David Schlemko to Montreal -- and acquired center Marcus Kruger from Chicago. The Devils are still looking for a defenseman and could use their forward depth to acquire one.

And then there's Colorado center Matt Duchene, who was at the epicenter of trade talk in February and still hasn't been dealt. Columbus, Pittsburgh and Nashville have been rumored as potential destinations for Duchene.

"I don't create the rumors and I don't really comment on them, so it doesn't really matter to me on rumors," Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said. "You guys will know if we decide to make a move that we think improves our club."

Extension season
New contracts signed already that kick in for the 2018-19 season include Canadiens goaltender Carey Price's $84 million over eight years, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's $56 million over eight years and Sharks goaltender Martin Jones' $34.5 million over six years. Price's new $10.5 million cap hit ties him with Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the highest in the league -- for now.

That's because the Edmonton Oilers are expected to soon finalize a deal with 20-year-old captain and Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid that could be worth in the neighborhood of $12 or 13 million. Edmonton also has to sign restricted free agent forward Leon Draisaitl this summer, and that won't come cheap.

John Tavares' situation with the New York Islanders bears watching, with speculation that he'll go into next season without an extension. Tavares is a nearly irreplaceable franchise player, though he has to believe that the Islanders are building a Cup contender in order to commit long term.

Ex-Flyer and ageless legend Jaromir Jagr is killing it on Twitter with free agency

Ex-Flyer and ageless legend Jaromir Jagr is killing it on Twitter with free agency

Want a must-follow on Twitter as NHL free agency kicks into high gear?

Jaromir Jagr.

No, he's not breaking any big news, but he's absolutely killing it. And he's keeping us all posted on his status as an unrestricted free agent.

So, what's the interest in the ageless wonder? According to the 45-year-old — nada.

Jagr then depicted a compare and contrast.

Who wouldn't want this guy for one more season?

I mean, look at this hair.

Jagr has played for eight NHL teams over a remarkable and age-defying 23-year career. Last season with the Panthers, he played in all 82 games, recording 16 goals and 30 assists for 46 points.

He played one memorable season for the Flyers in 2011-12. Maybe Ron Hextall inks him this offseason, bringing him back to bolster the Flyers' youth movement.