At the time of this post, the NHL’s active leader in career points remains unsigned. Jaromir Jagr, 45, is currently a free agent after completing his 3rd season with the Florida Panthers. Jagr recorded 46 points last year for the Panthers. While this was a step down from his 66 points in 2016, his production was on par with several other Top 6 wingers in the league. Jagr has shown no signs of slowing down either. The 2016-17 season marked the first time Jagr played all 82 regular season games. The Czech-born winger is a workout animal. Even at 45, Jagr is likely still more in shape than over half the league.
Going deeper, Jagr checks off all the boxes in the advanced statistics sector. Jagr recorded a Points/60 of 1.75 and a iCorsi/60 of 11.84. He recorded 223 Corsi events in his 82 games played. There no question that Jagr can still make an impact on an NHL roster.
So why is he still unsigned? The main criticism of Jagr’s game is that he is slow. His style of play doesn’t really fit on teams such as the Penguins, who rely heavily on speed to create chances. At 45, Jagr doesn’t have the same speed as he once did. Some question whether the game has, figuratively and literally, passed him by.
However, the fact remains that Jagr is still an effective NHL player. With a new expansion team in play, there is more need than ever for NHL-level talent. Additionally, Jagr is a struggling franchise’s marketing dream. Jagr is a living NHL legend. His presence brings legitimacy to any franchise. The Florida Panthers were irrelevant for years before Jagr arrived. Jagr brought them to the playoffs in 2016 and with that, national attention. Several struggling franchises, such as Arizona or Carolina, could use that kind of attention. Perhaps even the newly minted Golden Knights could benefit from the presence Jagr brings.
So why isn’t Jagr signed? Honestly, he probably is just taking his time; making sure he is 100% comfortable with his new team. The NHL would be foolish to let Jagr quietly walk away. The team may currently be undecided, but Jagr will absolutely be in the NHL next year.