Philadelphia Flyers: Making a case to bring back Jaromir Jagr

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 02: Jaromir Jagr /

Former Philadelphia Flyers winger Jaromir Jagr is a 45-year-old Highlander that somehow is continuing to play hockey at a high level. He is, however, facing the possibility that if he wants to keep playing it won’t be in the NHL.

With the start of the NHL season just 52 days away, former Philadelphia Flyers vet Jaromir Jagr is still without a team. A legend of his stature should not be trying to find a job via Twitter. The Mullett has averaged 0.67 points per game the last three seasons but Nick Bonino somehow stumbles into a four-year contract worth $16 million.

What the…?

Jagr himself was quoted recently as saying that he still feels like he can contribute in the NHL.

So, what is the hold-up?

Is he asking for too much money? His average AAV the last three seasons was $5.5 million.

Are teams scared of his age? Jagr will be 46 at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.

Both of those factors seem to be valid reasons to not take a flyer on the old Czech. His statistics, however, write a different narrative.

The Old Guy Can Still Play

For as old as Jaromir Jagr appears to be, he produces at a better rate than players who didn’t even exist when he debuted in the NHL in1990. He is a better point per game producer since 2014 than Matt Duchene (26), Nathan MacKinnon (21), and Alex Galchenyuk (23). Jagr’s production is on par with a 1st line winger. He is doing this in his mid-40’s.

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This isn’t to say that Jagr is actually better than either of those three players but it does put into context just how productive he’s been. I mean, observe this player card courtesy of @Ineffectivemath‘s Look at how much better the Florida Panthers were with him on the ice. It’s incredible.

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He scored at a second-line rate while playing what would be considered barely third-line minutes. Jagr did this, mind you, while having the worst shooting percentage of his illustrious career.

  • 2016/17 – 8.8 shooting %
  • Career – 13.6 shooting %

One of the more intriguing things in regards to bringing Jagr into the fold would be his involvement with the Flyers second power play unit, which has not been a strength in recent years. Jagr’s 17 power play goals since 2014 would place him 4th on the Flyers, tied with Jakub Voracek.

Beyond the counting stats and other metrics, the positive influence Jagr could have on the development of young players like Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, and Jordan Weal could be worth more than any stats he were to put up.

Imagine for a moment Jagr skating on a line with Nolan Patrick, him reuniting with Claude Giroux, or plodding along the ice with Sean Couturier. If that doesn’t get your loins a little frothy you might be a White Walker.

The Flyers Cap Situation

The Philadelphia Flyers currently have $3.37 million dollars in cap room. To make a Jagr signing possible they’d have to rid themselves of either Matt Read or Dale Weise. Ideally, we’d be able to get rid of both of them.

Weise isn’t likely to move anywhere though because he’s signed through 2020 ($2.35 million) and it’s not like anyone is banging down the door of the Flyers to inquire about the availability of a forward who totaled 15 points a season ago.

Read on the other hand is still a valuable player due to his expiring contract ($3.62 million), his penalty-killing ability, and the fact that he can score (10+ goals in 5 out of 6 seasons). Does anyone want Matt Read now though, before the season starts? It’s a more likely scenario that Read’s name comes up when the playoff picture begins to come into focus.

It’s not realistic to think that Jagr is desperate enough to play in the NHL for anything less than $4 million. And to argue that he deserves any less than that is insane. Feel free to @ me if you disagree.

Being Realistic About a Reunion

The chances this reunion happens is, in all honesty, not likely. There are the cap implications, the fact that Ron Hextall is determined to get the roster younger, and if he were to come back to Philadelphia, Dave Hakstol would find a reason to scratch him for some asinine reason.

Next: Philadelphia Flyers Defensive Newbies: What should we expect?

While I would probably lose consciousness holding my breath until Jaromir Jagr dons the Orange and Black again, a man can dream can’t he?

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