Player Previews: Part 11 – Jaromir Jagr

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By Trevor Jahnke

#68 – Jaromir Jagr – Winger

2013 Season Stats 

Games played: 45

Average Time on ice: 18:20

Points: 35 (16g, 19a)

Plus/Minus: minus-2

Analysis:

Season Grade: B+

Comedian Jack Benny once said, “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” This certainly seems to be the case for Jaromir Jagr, the 41-year-old, future first ballot Hall of Famer from the Czech Republic has decided to spend his 21st season with the New Jersey Devils after splitting an impressive season between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins last season.

Even his advanced age couldn’t keep him from posting what any fan would consider a successful season, totaling 35 points with 16 goals and 19 assists.  This gave Jagr more goals than the highest scorer on New Jersey.  He then capped his 19th NHL season by helping his Bruins team to an Eastern Conference Championship, and coming within two games of his first Stanley Cup championship since 1992.

However, that cap might mark the one sore spot Jagr has from last year.  While he was undeniably great during the season, Jagr seemed to slow down, literally and figuratively, once it came time for the playoffs. He posted only 10 assists and failed to put one in the net.

2014 Preview

When the Devils came short of the cup two seasons ago, one thing many of the players said before this season was that they were hungry to get back there again. Will Jagr be just as hungry as the Devils were at the beginning of the season? When it comes to the Cup, you better believe it.

Jagr is a surefire Hall of Famer. His skill is still very impressive and one thing that never fades from a veteran legend is all of his experience.

When he was with the Flyers his expertise helped develop Claude Giroux and we can only hope that he can do the same with Adam Henrique (or one of the other young forwards).

Projections: 

Age eventually catches up with everyone, and no one is immune.  Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, even Martin Brodeur; everyone slows down to a degree.  The great ones aren’t great because they never wore down, but how they adjusted when the inevitable happened.  In the end, they played as hard as, or harder than, everyone on the ice and still managed to produce a lot of points. Due to his skill and the offense that has been placed around him, there’s no reason to think that Jagr will be any different.

Throughout his career Jagr has never had a 82-game season where he didn’t produce at least 50 points with his career low at 54 points (19g,35a), which he tallied in the 2011-12 season when he played for the Philadelphia Flyers.

I see a good year from Jagr with 24 goals and 28 assists. Without Kovy, this team will embrace the depth of the lineup.  With Jagr directing the power play on the ice, and it not being completely reliant on one player, the Devils special teams will be much improved from last year. It might even end up being one of the team’s strong points.

Last season will eventually be viewed as a high point in Jagr’s career, but right now, it still stings.  He’s coming to this team with a drive to win that should match a Devils team anxious to prove that they can survive and even thrive without the players they lost.  If this season turns out to be Jagr’s swansong, then he’s going to want to go out with a bang. He’ll push everyone to make sure that this is a good year.

In case you missed them, here are the first six parts of the series: 

Part 1: Andy Greene

Part 2: Michael Ryder

Part 3: Cory Schneider

Part 4: Andrei Loktionov

Part 5: Patrik Elias

Part 6: Jacob Josefson

Part 7: Adam Henrique

Part 8: Peter Harrold

Part 9: Bryce Salvador

Part 10: Rusty Olesz