Many people head down to Florida to retire. Jaromir Jagr went down to Florida to try and win a Stanley Cup. The 44-year-old forward has inked a one-year, $4 million deal with the Florida Panthers. He can earn another $1.5 million thanks to a games-played bonus included in the contract.
There aren’t many players who have had more illustrious careers than Jagr. He has played 22 seasons in the NHL and has 749 goals, good for third most goals of all-time. He has 1,119 assists, good for sixth all-time, and is third in points with 1,868. Even more amazing is the fact that he didn’t play in the NHL from 2008-11.
This past season, Jagr turned back the clock and helped lead the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12 and just the second time in the last 15 years. He led the team in points with 66 and was second on the team in goals while averaging just over 17 minutes of ice time per game. Jagr was part of an exciting line that featured Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, and scored 75 goals this past year.
The Panthers are lucky to have Jagr around for at least one more season. He was a veteran presence on a very young Panthers team. More importantly, he is one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of skates and the NHL is lucky to have him around. It isn’t often you get an internationally marketable superstar playing at an elite level this late in his career.
Jagr has flirted with retiring in the past but when it comes down to it why give up something that is still fun? Why give up the international models who love to be seen with the Czech superstar? Why give up making young goalies look like out of shape amateurs on a nightly basis? Jagr can still play at an elite level and probably has a few more years of good hockey in him. Hockey wouldn’t be the same without Jagr and Jagr wouldn’t be the same without hockey. Thankfully it isn’t time to say goodbye.