It is hard to think about Jagr’s career without wondering “What if?”. His numbers have been greatly affected by numerous lost seasons. There was the lockout season of 2004-05, and his stint with Avangard Omsk in the KHL also cost him three seasons (2008-2011).
With his 700th goal, Jagr now sits only 42 behind Brett Hull for sole possession of third place on the all-time goals scored list. In second is Gordie Howe with 801, and then of course the “Great One” Wayne Gretzky leads the pack with an astounding 894 goals. However, it is not hard to imagine that maybe Jagr could have been celebrating becoming the all-time goal scoring champion if he did not lose four seasons in the league. In 21 seasons in the NHL (keep in mind that this season is obviously not over), Jagr has averaged over 33 goals a season (33.33).
Times that by four seasons, and Jagr could have possibly missed out on an average, of 133 goals which would put him in second place on the all-time list and within striking distance of Gretzky’s record. Of course, there are so many factors that go into whether Jagr would have scored more or less goals during those four seasons, and he has even said that his stint in Russia inspired him to come back and play longer in the NHL.
It is something great to debate about, and sadly the hockey world will never know what Jagr’s goal total could have been if he did not have any lost seasons. One thing is certain though — he should not only cherish the moment of joining the exclusive 700-goal club, but should take pride that even at the age of 42, he is helping the Devils win games during their playoff push.