Jaromir Jagr was ready to continue his Hall of Fame National Hockey League career with the Philadelphia Flyers in the fall of 2011, after spending three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. This season, No. 68 has been noticeably absent from the Flyers’ offensive scene.
Philadelphia’s decision to allow the free agent to leave last summer was understandable. Despite the 19 goals and 35 assists that he scored last year, re-signing the 40-year-old forward (even on another one-year deal) would have been questionable.
While No. 68 appeared in 73 regular season games during the 2011-12 season, he did miss time and play through pain due to re-occurring groin injuries. There were concerns that Jagr seemed to be wearing down as the season progressed. But, he did score eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 11 playoff games.
The $4.55 million contract that the Dallas Stars gave to this still-effective power forward worked for their budget, but wasn’t going to realistically fit under Paul Holmgren’s Flyers’ cap.
However, losing “Jags” has left a gaping hole on his team’s top line. Combine that with Scott Hartnell’s recently broken left foot and his likely return to action sometime in March, and it’s no wonder that the Flyers aren’t scoring. Let’s not forget that “Hartnell Down’s” addition to the Giroux-Jagr line led to his first All-Star appearance, along with a career-high in points (37 goals, 30 assists) scored.
Giroux has scored four points (two goals, two assists) through the team’s first eight games.
Peter Laviolette is obviously not happy that his ice boys are sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference. But, what can he really do at this point other than rely on people like old friend Mike Knuble and potentially promising younger players like Tye McGinn?
The unsettling answer to that last question is: Almost nothing.