There will never be another Jaromir Jagr


Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images

Reality has settled in: Jaromir Jagr isn't going on an NHL farewell tour. After a failed run with the Calgary Flames that ended with him on waivers, everybody's favorite mullet-sporting veteran has returned to his native Czech Republic. It has everyone wondering if Grandfather Time finally caught up with the record-setting 45-year-old. It also has us wondering if we'll ever get to see him again stateside.

If this really is the end, will we ever see another player like him? Heck, is it even possible for there to be another Jagr? Given the combination of his accomplishments, longevity and personality, it seems very unlikely.

We have to take  look at some of his biggest achievements and wonder if duplicating his myth-like successes is even possible. For example: Will there ever be another triple gold winner from a European country? Jagr gained membership status in that club in 2005 when he won the Ice Hockey World Championship with the Czech Republic after already claiming Olympic gold in the 1998 Olympics and hoisting back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and '92. The feat has been reached in recent years by Canadian players, including Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry — and there are plenty of Canadians who are just one championship away from entering this coveted group. But no other player from Europe is in this club, and we may never see another player from outside Canada or the U.S. enter the mix.

The closest is Evgeni Malkin, who only needs an Olympic gold to join this exclusive group, but he would need the NHL to actually participate in the 2022 Winter Games for a realistic chance of that happening. With his swagger on the ice, the 31-year-old Russian may look like the next generation's Jagr, and the fact he's donned the black and yellow of the Penguins just like Jagr makes the comparison intriguing.

Of course, a big part of Jagr's intrigue is how much he thrived in his golden years, and there's no telling if Malkin will have the staying power of Jagr. And while his game is flashy and impressive much in the way Jagr's was, Malkin has a long way to go to put up the sustained numbers Jagr did. Then there is the fact that, as favorably as their games may stack up, there are few comparisons on their paths. Jagr is more decorated with awards and, after a long 11-year stint in Pittsburgh, became an NHL vagabond, moving from city to city. He was considered an overpriced, aging bust during his two-plus seasons with the Washington Capitals, and his time as a New York Ranger saw a revival that quickly turned into diminishing returns.

From there, he took a hiatus from the NHL, returning to his native country, only to come back to the league with the Philadelphia Flyers as mentor to Philly's captain Claude Giroux and a highly productive veteran presence. He's had stops in Dallas, Boston, New Jersey, Florida and Calgary since, earning an All-Star nod as recently as the 2015-16 season with the Panthers, and played all 82 games just one year ago.

It's hard to believe Malkin, who has spent all his 12 NHL years in a Penguins sweater, would follow such a career arc from here on out — in fact, it's hard to believe anyone will.

Building on that, it's nearly impossible to imagine anyone else playing into their 40s as effectively as Jagr. There's a bevy of vets in their late-30s pushing to show they can compete in a league that seems to get younger by the minute — not to name any names (ahem, Patrick Marleau) — but when we look at Zdeno Chara and Matt Cullen at the 40-year mark, we can't help but wonder if they'll be lacing up their skates five years from now, let alone tallying points in the way Jagr has.

Maybe we should be looking at players currently in their early 30s as guys who will continue to produce as they age. A player like Eric Staal, who has surged back to life after going to the Minnesota Wild, may come to mind, but even at his best he was never on Jagr's level. Even better, what about Alex Oveckin, who is only 32 and doesn't show any signs of slowing down? It's possible that Ovi is gearing up for an extended run past his 30s — it's also entirely possible (and probable) that a long NHL run would be nothing like Jagr's. Just like Malkin, it's hard to envision the lifetime Capital becoming the NHL journeyman Jagr turned into, and without a Stanley Cup to his name, there's no telling whether Ovi will even get a chance to put his name on the most prestigious trophy in sports.

Which brings us to our next question: Will anyone else have the success that Jagr did after turning 40? As of 2017, he holds the coveted "Silver Fox" record with 283 points recorded in 412 games after his 40th birthday. If Marleau stays healthy and plays into his 40s — and keeps up how well he has played in Toronto — could he be that guy? What about his old teammate, Joe Thornton, who took over the 16th slot on the NHL's all-time points leaders list? If he comes back from his current knee injury like he did last season and keeps racking up points, could Thornton and his Zeus beard play for a couple more seasons? Sure, these former teammates — both great players in their own right — could continue to produce, but again, neither player has approached Jagr's peak even at his best.

Now there is a possibility that the "next Jagr" is too young for us to pinpoint yet. Jagr himself started off his NHL career on a very stacked Pittsburgh Penguins team, while he took the league by storm, he was overshadowed by the legendary Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh when he arrived. With so many young players taking the league by storm, there's no telling how far the likes of Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and company can ascend.

The thing is, it's nearly impossible to imagine any of them — or anyone who comes after — could truly be the next Jaromir Jagr. He was the most unique, immortal superstar the sport has ever seen, and when you're someone as rare in so many aspects as Jagr was, it's easy to declare that there will never be another like him.

Flames News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Chelena Goldman grew up on a street where the boys played street hockey and yelling at baseball and football over the radio was a standard -- making life as a sports geek the perfect fit. She believes in dominance on the blue line, good red wine, and the theory that you can never be too overdressed for any occasion. You can find her gabbing away on Twitter at @ChelenaGoldman.

PLAYERS: Jaromir Jagr
TEAMS: Calgary Flames
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
QUIZ: Name the NHL players with the most career games played

How many of the leaders in career NHL games played can you name in five minutes?

Good luck!

CLUE: GAMES / YEARS ACTIVE

Score:
0/25
Time:
5:00
1,767 / 46-80
Gordie Howe
1,756 / 79-04
Mark Messier
1,731 / 81-04
Ron Francis
1,711 / 90-
Jaromir Jagr
1,652 / 88-11
Mark Recchi
1,651 / 83-10
Chris Chelios
1,639 / 82-06
Dave Andreychuk
1,635 / 82-04
Scott Stevens
1,615 / 80-01
Larry Murphy
1,612 / 79-01
Ray Bourque
1,564 / 91-12
Nicklas Lidstrom
1,554 / 96-
Jarome Iginla
1,549 / 50-74
Alex Delvecchio
1,540 / 55-78
John Bucyk
1,540 / 95-17
Shane Doan
1,524 / 87-09
Brendan Shanahan
1,514 / 83-06
Steve Yzerman
1,499 / 89-11
Mike Modano
1,495 / 82-03
Phil Housley
1,493 / 97-
Patrick Marleau
1,487 / 79-99
Wayne Gretzky
1,484 / 89-10
Rod Brind'Amour
1,474 / 83-03
Doug Gilmour
1,457 / 87-08
Glen Wesley
1,451 / 92-14
Teemu Selanne
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MLB to limit mound visits from players and coaches in 2018

Anthony Rizzo opens up about vigil speech: 'Hardest thing I ever had to do'

Silver: 2019 All-Star draft likely to be televised

Jeremy Lin defends JJ Redick over perceived racial slur

Shiffrin’s boyfriend sent home from Olympics after post-race remarks

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joey Votto is sick of losing

Giannis vows to stay with Bucks

Peter King believes Kirk Cousins will end up with Broncos

Teddy Bridgewater calls 2017 ‘my favorite season by far’

Gus Kenworthy happy NBC televised him kissing boyfriend

New format leads to competitive NBA All-Star Game

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

Ten bold predictions for 2018 MLB season

Wil Myers has a tough adjustment ahead of him

10 NFL offseason moves that need to happen

Flyers reverse course behind a balanced attack

Champions League Round of 16 preview, predictions

Signing A.J. McCarron would be a typical Browns move

Big surprises, disappointments heading into NBA All-Star break

Flames News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

The 'Hope springs eternal' quiz

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

The 'My Bronny valentine' quiz

Flyers reverse course behind a balanced attack

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker