WWYD Wednesday: Sign Jaromir Jagr?

It’s the middle of August and a couple of things still haven’t happened yet: the Calgary Flames haven’t bolstered their suspect winger depth and Jaromir Jagr hasn’t signed with an NHL team.

On the surface, it seems like a natural marriage. Calgary’s RW depth is particularly shallow and Jagr is looking to play at least one more season in the league before he retires to the Czech Republic. In reality, however, there are likely certain obstacles standing in the way of the two getting together.

The question is, are those issues insurmountable?

Let’s get this out of the way: it’s entirely possible that Jagr has no interest in playing in Calgary. It’s cold in the winter, we’re not a “global” city like New York, and there’s a lot of travel during the season. For now, we’ll assume his options are limited enough – and that his interest in sticking around the NHL is earnest enough – that Calgary is considered an option.

We’ll also establish that Jagr is still a quality hockey player, at least according to his results last year. He finished fourth in Panthers scoring with 46 points in 82 games, just eight back of team leader Vincent Trochek. The season before last, he scored 27 goals and 66 points.

In addition, all of Jagr’s underlying numbers were above average despite his advanced age:

Jarome Iginla added for context.

As a result, Jagr projects as the kind of guy who could slide onto the third line without much issue:

That said, here are the three considerations that may prevent any of us from buying an official Calgary Flames Jagr jersey this year:

Jagr is old and slow

His results remain above board, but there’s no fighting the fact that Jagr is 45 years old and not all that fleet of foot. This could be a problem from two angles:

  1. He falls off a cliff this year. Jagr has broken the typical aging curve so we can’t be certain of what to expect out of him in 2017-18. Maybe he continues to defy mother nature and be an above average forward. Or maybe he finally gives in to mother nature and drags the Flames’ third line down in Brouwer-like fashion.
  2. His pace is too slow for the Flames system. It’s possible that Glen Gulutzan’s coaching and/or Jagr’s probable linemates require someone who can get around the rink in a timely fashion. Even if Jagr is relatively efficient thanks to his strength and smarts, the team may not be interested in trying to bolt him onto their current processes.

Calgary’s cap problem

The Flames still need to re-sign Sam Bennett and Brett Kulak. They have about $6M in cap space to work with, give or take, which will be a pretty tight fit. Bennett will likely settle in the $2.5-$3M range, leaving $2.5-3M for Jagr and Kulak combined. With almost no cap space left to manage things during the season.

Maybe Jagr is desperate enough to accept a cheap, bonus-ladened deal to help out? Then again, maybe not.

Room for the kids

As things currently stand, Calgary has maybe one spot on the team for a young player. Here’s how the depth chart settles out currently:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland

Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik

Versteeg – Bennett – Lazar

? – Stajan – Brouwer

Freddie Hamilton

On the fringes, the Flames have Mark Jankowski and Spencer Foo pushing for a spot on the parent club, with other darkhorses including Hunter Shinkaruk and Andrew Mangiapane. Garnet Hathaway is also a guy who could battle for 13th forward duty.

If Calgary signs Jagr, however, it closes up any immediate opportunities for the organization’s hopefuls. Of course, injuries happen and can make for an impromptu chance for a kid to move up, but those gaps can be random and often short lived.

On the other hand, take a look at that depth chart again, and imagine what would happen if just one or two of the Flames’ top six wingers were injured for any length of time. Things get awfully thin in a hurry, so there is an argument to be made either way.


Jagr seems like he could be a cheap, capable solution to the Flames’ depth problem, but there are risks worth considering. Not only is the player relatively old and and slow, the Flames have a tenuous cap situation and kids pushing for promotion.

So what would you do? If you could sign Jagr and fit him under the Flames’ cap… would you?

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    • Skuehler

      Man there are a lot of question marks in that forward group this season. Adding Jagr for a season doesn’t turn us into contenders, without a lot of those questions marks turning into check marks out of the gates. Door of opportunity is wide open for some kids to step up this year. Would prefer to see one of Lazar, Poirier, Shinkaruk take their game up a level. Same could be said for Bennet and Ferland.

  • Off the wall

    Jäger? Yup, yup yup

    The last time he won a cup was way back in 92

    Drives possession and is capable of being a difficult guy to get the puck from.

    I could see him landing on the Monahan line ( no slight to Ferland)

    JG- Monahan- Jagr
    Versteeg – Backlund- Frolik
    Tkachuk- Bennett- Ferland
    I don’t care who makes up our 4th line…

    That’s insane good!

    A guy can dream right?!

      • Off the wall

        Haha Puck and you’d be the 1st to boo if he hoisted Lord Stanley at the ripe age of 45 in a Flames uniform?

        This is a sports legend who I’d love to see exit on a high note.

        I doubt it will happen (Jagr) that is signing with us, but it is a hockey man’s dream.. who could script a better farewell?

    • Kevin R

      I’m with you in the get Jagr camp, but only if it’s a reasonable cap hit. To me, the better lineup would be:
      Let the rest of them fight for that 4th line probably Versteeg/Stajan/Brouwer with Lazar getting in & out of that 4th line.

      Jagr can play on the 1st PP with Gaudreau & Monahan, speed would not be an issue. He can let Bennett & Tkachuk speed in & dig for pucks & then take possession & set an amazing forecheck press.

      Ideally, if we were to sign Jagr, Tre needs to move Stajan or Brouwer & that might come at a cost of Shinkaruk or Klimchuk to a team like Vegas.

  • Nick24

    Signing him is the smart thing to do. Provided you can get him or a reasonable deal, it makes a lot of sense. Maybe he falls off a cliff, but if that’s the case, you could always move for contract termination and then Jagr would go back to the Czech Republic.
    His results from last year are too inspiring to pass up, especially if you need help on the right side like the Flames do. No one suing for the spot is good enough to contribute as much to the line up as he would be able to, and it would be worth the risk.

    I mean, if the Flames were comfortable with trotting Brouwer around as top-6 forward as much as they did last year, it doesn’t make much sense to ignore Jagr because of his speed.

  • Not Ryan Pinder

    would love to see it happen just so i can get the jersey. But i seriously doubt it will. i would rather give the spot to a young gun like Hathaway or Jankowski who will likely be shot out of a cannon this year

  • Atomic Clown

    No, please. Outside of players drafted in the top 10, the flames rarely give their youngsters quality ice time. Jankowski has nothing left to prove in the AHL besides adding 10ish more pounds, he needs to play. By Christmas, you ideally want Foo and at least one other winger from the 2013 class knocking on the door, ready in case of an emergency call up. So no, no Jagr.

    • Just.Visiting

      Check out the end of season interview with Janko for which he’s wearing a t-shirt. I was shocked at how much he’s already bulked up. The one intriguing thing about him is that I’m not sure we actually know yet how good he might be, since he hasn’t really grown into his body yet.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    Maybe if and when all other options have been exhausted?

    But I think it’s too much to assume that he’d tolerate the spotlight of a Canadian market. There’s only so much; “Hey did you know that you’re really old and you’re on a team with young players in Canada?” that a guy can take.

  • Just.Visiting

    I’ve always liked Jagr, but I think the disciplined thing to do is to pass.

    The team has a window to contend that exceeds one season. In that context, the prudent thing to do is to leave a spot in the top nine open for one of the prospects to earn.

    To illustrate, Janko potentially brings an all round game that would mesh nicely with the Mikes. This would allow the Flames to move Tkachuk with Bennett and Versteeg to give three really solid lines, thereby enhancing the third line performance and making it more difficult to defend against the Flames.

    If Janko isn’t ready, Foo, Lazar, etc. might be.

    The answer cannot continue to be “let’s bring in a veteran whose best years are behind him to lead us to victory.”

    Winning requires the unexpected exceeding of expectations, not just meeting modest expectations.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    As much as I’d like to own a jagr jersey, I agree we have question marks in Stockton and the only way you answer a question is to address it by giving them a chance to prove themselves in the Nhl. I say no, we have many players on the cusp and cheap rookie contracts could potentially push us into cup contention. We need to prove to these kids that if they work hard the can be nhl flames.

  • Toofun

    Don’t you hate the fact that we have Brouwer instead of Jagr?

    It’s this type of “bad contract” regret that almost makes me feel sorry for Edmonton fans over the next several years.

    • The Doctor

      It’s the worst thing about the salary cap — the fact that you can’t even spend your way around an albatross contract. The salary cap makes an albatross contract doubly painful and debilitating.

  • Squishin

    Off topic and breaking news: Draisaitl has signed. 8 years @ $68 mil. Ties him with Stamkos at $8.85 AAV.

    In regards to this article, I think we would all love to see Jagr on the team…10 years ago. There are just too many negatives associated with signing him now (cap issues, age concerns, prospect room, etc.) for us to chance it. Let’s give some ready kids a chance to make the difference.

    • BendingCorners

      Maybe for one single heartbeat but not for a whole season. Pretty slow but if it did happen and if he did mesh with Johnny and Mony we could bench Troy:
      Even if Michael stays on the top line, Kris-Sam-Jagr would be a good third line.

      • The Fall

        Compare his HERO chart from the past three seasons to any other player (in the entire league) and Jagr looks pretty amazing. …not to mention the insane run on Jagr jerseys.

  • MarbledBlueCheese

    I can convince myself at different times objectively that this is both a good or a bad idea.

    And yet I’m unable to be objective about it. Confliction in evidence is being overridden by my emotional desire to see Jagr play for my team. Interestingly I want this far more than to see Iggy back; I believe he has clearly hit his best-before date and this sort of a return would only tamper with my prior memories of his time here.

  • Trevy

    I really love Jagr, but I honestly believe he either doesn’t want to play in Calgary as mentioned, or he’s looking for maybe a 2 yr term and at a price we aren’t willing to pay. Therefore, we either stay the course with our prospects and hope that a couple will show they belong with the big club or try and make a depth trade. I posted this a while back, but I still think trying to get James Neal from LV for a prospect (not sure who) would be great fit. One year left and plays RW. Only trouble is he makes $5 mill so either money has to be retained or in a perfect world, Brouwer and a very tempting prospect goes back. No not Bennett!

    • Squishin

      I think we’d all love that deal. It’s useless to propose it though, because Vegas will never take it. Never ever. Even though MacPhee is not that good of a GM, there is no way he would give up some of his already limited scoring for a prospect (he already has plenty of prospects and draft picks). And why would anyone want Brouwer?!? When you propose a trade, it has to work for both sides.

      • Trevy

        McPhee is all about prospects and draft picks. Everyone, including him knows they’ll never even come close to making the playoffs, so losing a piece like Neal for a prospect would only make sense, especially since he’s only there for one more year!

    • Just a Fan

      In my opinion, Neal gets you double at the trade deadline what he gets you right now. At the trade deadline contending teams have money to spend and visions of Stanley. Wait till April and he gets you a first and a prospect. With the future already mortgaged, which prospects are you willing to give up?

    • The Doctor

      I’m a bit concerned about Neal’s durability. Plus a couple of years ago, it looked like he was at the super-elite level, but I just don’t see Neal there anymore. I’m concerned Neal might have peaked, production-wise.

    • TheoForever

      Best d in the league, great young players upfront. Only bad contract is Brouwer.
      Sekera, Lucic, Russell, and after this year a lot of hurt. Do you think there will be money for the guy that carried your team on his back, you know Talbot.

      • The Doctor

        Stajan was also a bad contract, though not as egregiously bad as Brouwer. But bad in terms of way too expensive, way too much money to be paying an aged 4th line centre with limited offensive upside. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Stajan hater, he’s done yeoman duty for the team and is a good guy who plays hard and honestly. But on a value basis, we should be paying him one-half to one-third of what we’re paying him.

        • TheoForever

          I forgot about Stajan, he is still capable 4th liner but overpaid. One more year and it is over, as much as like Stajan I’m hoping he will be replaced by young guys as the season goes forward.

          • TheoForever

            Now Brouwer on the other hand he will be screwing things up for next 3 years. He may cost us a promising young player lost to wavers or traded just to get rid off him. Let’s hope he rebounds.

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      Maybe explain who on the roster you think is sub par to who is your roster…including stats and cap hits, if you don’t your comment is just idiotic trolling

        • TheoForever

          Slim made a good point and you come back with more idiotic trolling. If you want to be a professional troll, put some effort into it, or is this the best you can do?

          • Puckhead

            Northernlights (aka ConnorFarts, ManCrush?, Dimlights….) does not understand stats or analytics, plus he has trouble adding and making sense of contracts. He hides behind MickyD and Drysaddle. He’s the type of person who brings a knife to a gunfight. He’s our not-so-smart troll.

          • TheoForever

            Thanks Puckhead, I suspected as much. One can only feel sorry for ConnorFart, aka Northernlights, aka Shameless plug. Hahaha, ‘our not-so-smart troll’, I like that.

  • Sterls

    I still like the idea of Jagr playing on a line with Tkachuk and Bennett. Sure he is slow, but foot speed isn’t Tkachuk’s strong point either. The greatest benefit from adding Jagr and playing with these two young guys is mentor-ship he brings. There has to be some value to adding him if those two guys get to learn from him for a year. I agree it means our prospects don’t get any time unless there are injuries, but I don’t think signing Jagr means that our players don’t develop, it just shifts the focus to our young NHL ready guys as opposed to the squad of question marks that is our AHL forward ranks. Put Janko on the second line with the Mikes, and bite the bullet and make Brouwer or Stajan the sit in the press box until we know what we have in Lazar.

    Lines then become:
    Versteeg-(Stajan or Lazar)-(Brouwer or Lazar)

  • oilcanboyd

    No way we sign Jagr! The team has to add some youthful exuberance every year to keep going forward. And the biggest thing is that there always has to be a roster or two open every year to keep the prospects working hard to make the team; gotta give them hope. Didn’t we all get tired of D Sutter’s reliance on NHL over the hill players with no movement from the AHL?

  • fumanchu1968

    It would be fun to have Jagr on out team but I hope that we go with Jankawski first and then hopefully Foo and Lazar turnout to be players. Jagr is a pipe-dream.

  • oilcanboyd

    Speaking of a roster spot next season….Did you all see the interview with Janko on CTV tonight? Man, he has put on the muscle!! Says he has had his best summer of training and it sure looks like it. He will have a good shot at making the team, seeing as he ws the best player in Stockton last year.

  • madjam

    Send Doan , Iginla and Jagr to the Olympics and see if of them any has enough left in their tanks to go to an NHL team readying for playoffs .Doubt any club is desperate enough to want any of them for a full season .

  • Off the wall

    My sonnet for the Oil Trolls:

    There was a guy named Dry,
    Who looked Chia in the eye,
    Said I’ll take over 8,
    Chia said great,
    Sign here mate..

    The Oilers start the parade,
    Just to realize it’s a charade,
    Forgot to think of the Cap,
    Now Chia’s labelled a sap,
    How’s that for your crap?
    That’s a wrap..

    • Northernlights

      He got McDavid and Draisaitl for under the % of the cap that Pittsburgh had Crosby and Malkin and he got them for 8 years. This is the cap era. Down the road someone will have to go and they will be replaced with youth .
      You guys hate that those are two of the best in the game.
      Enjoy the next 10 or so years.

      • Deadmonton Exile

        Let’s see if Drai can actually be a 8.5 million center (ok/meh value) long term, or if he’s just a 8.5 winger (ouch). Certainly possible but this was no steal of a deal, enjoy having all the TO trade rumors ending.

      • Kevin R

        McDavid was worth every penny. Surely even you must have some apprehension about so much money for 1 year performance for Dreisucker. You don’t think there’s a chance he won’t regress? We have seen that before cough….Nuge….cough…Eberle….cough… Hall. Wow, if he has a slow start we’ll be able to hear the crickets down south. The real problem is the other contracts your GM likes to handout. Lucic, Russell are going to be anchors when you are counting pennies & then suddenly have to pony up for Talbot. Yes we will enjoy the next 10 years, enjoy watching chirpers like you eat crow, so better stock up on Maalox once you see what comes with paying the most money ever to two players who haven’t won anything yet.

        • Northernlights

          Did you even watch Draisaitl play? He dominated games all year by himself. Playoffs ?? Big ,strong ,rangy, slick, great vision.patient. He doesn’t look like a guy that is going to regress. He got better all year and in the playoffs he was great with 16 points in 13 games.

      • Puckhead

        Copied from the hockey news:

        With Draisaitl signed, Edmonton is projected to have more than $8.3 million in available cap space this season, per CapFriendly, but a cap crunch will set in come the 2017-18 season when McDavid’s extension kicks in. Between McDavid and Draisaitl, the Oilers will have $21 million in salary commitments, which, at present, leaves Edmonton with a projected $14.2 million in cap space.
        That might seem like more than enough to get by, but take a quick look at the Oilers’ cap considerations for next July. Slepyshev, Ryan Strome, Drake Caggiula, Iiro Pakarinen, Matt Benning, Darnell Nurse and Laurent Brossoit will all become RFAs, while Mark Letestu, Patrick Maroon, Jussi Jokinen and Mark Fayne will be unrestricted. And no matter how well Edmonton navigates those waters next summer, there still has to be thought given to extensions for Jesse Puljujarvi and Cam Talbot come July 2019. That leaves 13 potential contract signings in the next two off-seasons, and Edmonton is currently projected to have $20.8 million in cap space in the summer ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
        Even if the cap continues to rise by about $2 million per off-season, that only gives Edmonton $24.8 million in space two off-seasons from now. That’s less than $2 million per upcoming free agent over the next two summers. No matter how slick Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli might be, someone is going to have to go for the math to work out.