Jaromir Jagr: New Mullet, No New Contract
The famous mullet first came around in the 1990s, when Jaromir Jagr was a young stud on the ever-thriving Pittsburgh Penguins. The mullet also came with a $150,000 price tag, when he originally joined the Penguins in 1990, to begin what would be a legendary career; one that could very well be over soon.
To this day, Jagr is the only player remaining from the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, and is the oldest player still active in the League, at 45 years old. Along with numerous NHL, Pittsburgh, and New York Rangers records, he is second all-time in regular season points and fourth all-time for games played (only 56 behind Gordie Howe).
Despite having all of these accolades and recognitions, both in the NHL and internationally, none of the 31 teams in the League have any heavy desire to pursue a contract negotiation with Jagr. While a couple teams have apparently shown interest, according to Jagr, the most serious talks he has had are with HC Kladno, who plays in the Czech Republic.
In all honesty, the reason that the most serious talks have been from Kladno is most likely because Jagr has part ownership in the team, and his father is the team president. Jagr even joked about it, stating, “the most serious talks I have are with Kladno, because Kladno has one smart owner who knows what he wants.”
The last time Jaromir Jagr was overseas playing for a different league was in the 2012-2013 season, during the most recent NHL Lockout. Jagr played with HC Kladno, before coming back to America in January to start the partial NHL season.
While none of his stints overseas have lasted long, especially since he created a name for himself at such a young age in the NHL, Jagr is hoping this one wouldn’t last long either; assuming of course he has to pack his bags and head back to the Czech Republic in order to wait for a call from the NHL.
Jaromir @68Jagr skated with his hometown club Kladno. NHL is still priority for him. “I don´t think I am so bad that I couldn´t play there.”
— Zdenek Janda (@zdenek_janda) July 24, 2017
The possibility of Jagr going back to Kladno, at this point in time, is heavy; even if he was just joking since he does partially own the team. If he does return to his former team, there will be a possibility for him to return to the NHL during the Czech season since he’ll be so close to home. He just needs to wait for the available vacancy of a team to strike before he can hop on the plane.
Jagr Stepping Down
Jaromir Jagr has always been a strong player. Even in his old age, he’s been playing on top lines, playing against top players in the league. However, that hasn’t stopped him yet. Considering his age, no one can consider him a “dead weight” just yet.
He was a top-five point scorer for the Florida Panthers (16 G, 30 A – 46 P) during the 2016-2017 campaign, and just a year before, he was the top scorer for the team (27-39–66). There is a possibility that coaches are predicting the future of Jagr’s play-style, and we might see a decrease in his movement and scoring ability. But that hasn’t affected Jagr at all. He might have even been self-praising himself.
“I know very well I’m not the same player like 10 or 15 years ago, when I was able to win games by myself…Maybe it would be even better for me if I played on a second or third line because I would play against worse players and worse defensemen.”
By stepping down, Jagr could possibly even have to “step down” leagues. While he’s willing to go to a second-tier Czech team, in HC Kladno, he might have to open the opportunity to sign an American Hockey League contract or a two-way contract with an NHL team to go up and down between the NHL and AHL.
Side Note: let’s look at that for a minute. Can you imagine? Jaromir Jagr. Playing for an American Hockey League team, against young hot-shots and older players looking to just keep playing the game. He could set some pretty could milestones and memories if he took that route.
Who Should Nab Him?
There is probably at least one fan per team that wants their owner to sign Jagr, just to say “we have him and you don’t. HA!”. But what teams should legitimately go after him to put him on their roster. For more opinions, I asked some of the Win Column Sports writers to see their thoughts. Mine will be listed at the end.
Our founder, Len Nunes, thinks there could be a couple possibilities. One being the Pittsburgh Penguins once again. While this could mean dominate play from Jagr, and possibly another Stanley Cup victory, he would most likely have to take a pretty big pay cut. I mean, he has the mullet again, so why not return to its roots in Pittsburgh?
Nunes also brought up the idea about the newest expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. With other players from the Florida Panthers roster being taken by the Golden Knights (Jonathan Marchessault being the big name when he wasn’t protected in the expansion draft), Nunes said they “need to go to bat for #68” in order for General Manager George McPhee to consider signing Jagr’s name on the dotted line.
Spencer Love, our main wrestling writer who is a hockey nut, finds it “sacrilege” that no team has grabbed him yet, considering his age and hockey ability. He won’t miss a step at age 46, according to Love. However, he also thinks Jagr is a huge marketing opportunity for smaller teams such as Carolina or Las Vegas. “I’d buy season tickets to watch a team if I knew Jagr would be in the lineup.”
I’d personally like him going back to the New York Rangers after some time away from the Big Apple after the Rangers gave up some big names this post season, including Dan Girardi. With some decent cap room now, and hopes for some more scoring to return to the Stanley Cup, the Rangers could offer Jagr a decent contract to lure him into the system.
But, like I wrote earlier, I always think there is the possibility of Jagr receiving a two-way contract so that he can freely roam between the AHL and NHL to suit both Jagr’s aging body and needs, and also the team’s needs in both leagues.
But for now, Jaromir Jagr will still be taking phone calls. One call at a time.
FA 1994- all GMs called , FA 2017- 0 calls🏆😀 pic.twitter.com/7uLJm95CAB
— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) June 29, 2017