Jaromir Jagr: the ageless wonder
When Jagr left the NHL in 2008 to join the KHL's Avangard Omsk many thought that he would never come back to the NHL and we had seen the last of him. Over in Russia he was the same star that he had been in the NHL and help Omsk to the playoff's every season he was a part of their club. Jagr was named an all star for all three years he was over in the KHL, and helped Omsk to the Continental Cup in 2011. But after that season he would return to the NHL join his form teams cross state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. Jagr's return was an exciting event for many in the NHL, the signing with the Flyers shocked many Penguins fans who expected him to return to his original team.
He scored his 1,600th NHL point during his debut, assisting Claude Giroux's goal in a 2-1 season opening win over the Boston Bruins. While his season with the Flyers went well he wasn't resigned and was thrown into free agency. He signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Star for a reported $4.5 million dollars, signing with the Stars was his first appearance in Western Conference. Jagr scored 13 goals and 26 points in 34 games with the Stars. He was dealt at the deadline to the Boston Bruins who were looking for depth as they entered the playoffs. He scored two goals and nine points in 11 games with the Bruins, he was also a key part to the Bruins 2013 Stanley Cup run tallying 10 assists in 22 playoff games. He was injured in game six against the Blackhawks with a reported groin injury and wasn't able to finish the game.
He was subsequently sent back into free agency where he signed a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils for a $2 million dollars guaranteed and 2 million more in incentives in his new contract deal. On November 21, 2013, Jagr tied Gordie Howe's record of game-winning goals with 121. It was his 690th career goal moving him into a tie with former teammate Mario Lemieux for ninth place on the all time scoring list. Month later he scored his 693rd goal putting him in 8th place over Steve Yzerman, just a day later he tied Mark Messier for the seventh on the all time list. Later in the season he passed Messier with his 695th career goal putting him 14 away from Mike Gartner. He scored his 700th goal as a member of the Devils in a 6-1 victory over the New York Islanders. The Devils resigned Jagr to another one-year contract on April 30th 2014. In his 1,500th game he moved in 5th place on the all time points list with 1,772, he became the oldest player in NHL history to score a hat trick at 42 years 322 days.
On February 26, 2015 he was traded to the Florida Panthers for a second round pick in 2015 and third rounder in 2016. Jagr has been a bright spot since coming to the Panthers, they were a young team with very little direction and a lack of veteran leadership. Since arriving he has made an immediate impact, he brought his hard work and dedication to show these high round picks how to play. The Panthers cast of players include many high first rounder’s including Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Erik Gudbranson. Jagr has been a bright spot this season while helping the Panthers to one of their most historic seasons in history. The Florida Panthers have already won a franchise record 12 games in a row this season, and currently sit atop the Atlantic division standings.
He has said that he wants to play until he is 50 years old, if that happens then we will likely see him break many more records. One thing is for sure we are witnessing a legend in the back end of his career, who can still turn the clocks back. As these next few seasons come and go one thing is certain Jagr can only add to his case to be a first ballot hall of famer, and maybe the greatest player to ever play the game.