Have Jaromir Jagr and his amazing playoff beard skills found a new team? (AP Photo)
Finding a new NHL team is nothing new for 41-year-old winger Jaromir Jagr. The ageless forward made a return to NHL action in 2011-12 with the Philadelphia Flyers before playing with Dallas and Boston in 2012-13, making his first Stanley Cup appearance since 1992. Now, after a lengthy free agency, it appears Jagr has found his new home.
A report by Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post states that Jagr is “99 percent” certain to sign with the New Jersey Devils after taking a tour of their facilities at the Prudential Center on Friday. Both of these insights came from news outlets out of Jagr’s native Czech Republic.
The decision would be a strange one for Jagr, who would be going to a team clearly in transition who would not seem to be competing for the Stanley Cup next year. After losing high-impact forwards Zach Parise (Minnesota), Ilya Kovalchuk (KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg) and David Clarkson (Toronto) in the last two offseasons, the team has signed free agents Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder, and will possibly look to Jagr to continue to fill that void. As Cyrgalis speculated, Jagr could fill the right wing position vacated by Kovalchuk, but there would be a significant dropoff in production with Jagr.
Jagr has been linked to many teams at various points this offseason. Rumors have included the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, and Ottawa Senators, but as has been the case the last two offseasons, Jagr hasn’t been afraid to sign with a team that seems off the radar to some.
The Devils would be Jagr’s fourth team in the last three years. Jagr played with the Devils’ Metropolitan Division rival New York Rangers from 2005-2008 before his departure to the KHL.
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Around the Rink Columnist Joe Ray – @jpray_SK