Jaromir Jagr is a Calgary Flame! He didn’t play last night, but the second all-time leading scorer in the entire history of the National Hockey League will soon be hitting the ice in a snazzy red sweater. To celebrate this, and because it’s Sunday and we do this every week, we convened our crew to chat about all things Jagr.
Ryan Pike: All the news seemed to break last week. But even though he skipped the home-opener, Jagr’s a Flame now. What are everyone’s expectations for his performance this season?
billtran (Bill Tran): We know he can slot in and make the Flames immediately better, we just don’t know to what extent.
karimkurji (Karim Kurji): My expectations for Jagr begin and end with Sam Bennett. I’m not looking for Jagr to put up a crazy amount of points or score 30 goals or anything. I’m not even expecting him to play in all 82 games. I just want to see him bring some stability to Bennett’s line and see Jagr help Bennett take his game to the next level
billtran: To see him make the call to sit out versus the Jets tells us a lot: he knows that he is performing at a sub-optimal level by his standards, but it also sends a message to the other players on the team.
Ryan Pike: That’s a good point; Bennett probably stands to benefit the most from a 100% Jagr.
karimkurji: Even an 80% Jagr will likely be better than at 180% Brouwer. If Sam can figure it out beside Jagr, we’re laughing.
billtran: No player wants to sit out whether by their decision or their coach’s, but to see Jagr make that call because he thinks he’s not playing his best, that’s a leadership type move not many others would make
karimkurji: It’s a really big ask to play center in the NHL AND carry Brouwer on your shoulders. Sam should be in a really good position with Jagr instead. On him sitting out, he did mention in the press conference that he would need some time to get back to game shape. Which is a bit worrisome. How long will it take to get a good Jagr??
billtran: Bennett was probably just as disappointed as fans were when we heard Jagr was sitting out tonight.
Ryan Pike: Will Jagr’s success here be judged by points? Or is there a different metric?
billtran: Keep in mind that he’s probably still feeling the effects of jet lag. I’ve thought about that, and I don’t think it should be solely on points! Obviously more points = good, but I think his success can be seen if we see his linemates (read: Bennett) play to their potential. I think Jagr has the ability to elevate Bennett, and that to me is a good indicator.
karimkurji: He’ll probably be judged by the impact of his whole line. He likely won’t eclipse 50 points but his linemates could.
Ryan Pike: That’s my thought, too. If the third line is consistently noticeable and forces coaching staffs to adjust how they approach the Flames, that’s the benefit.
croatis (Christian Roatis): His effect on the PP could be huge too.
Ryan Pike: His big ass?
karimkurji: His add is really important because now it isn’t about having a top 6 who can score. In today’s NHL, you need a top 9. And Brouwer doesn’t belong in that group. Jagr’s addition allows Brouwer and any other winger who got to play with Bennett to be correctly slotted on the fourth or the press box.
croatis: GG mentioned how he goes to the net more, which is what they wanted out of Brouwer and he just… didn’t do well.
karimkurji: Add it to the list.
Ryan Pike: Is that arguably the biggest indictment of Brouwer? That his presence doesn’t really change the game-planning for facing the Flames?
croatis: He doesn’t do anything well. He does everything below average. Also for whatever reason, I’ve seen him crowding Versteeg on the same wing in the offensive zone. Like.. get back to your wing dammit
Ryan Pike: Precisely, it’s about grinding down the opponents’ better players with three good lines.
karimkurji: The only thing Brouwer does is grind my gears.
billtran: Brouwer’s looked just as much out of place now as he did last year. He might be even more out of place this year actually. He carries a bigger label on him and other teams surely know how to exploit him. Basically don’t cover Brouwer cause the play will die on his stick anyways.
Ryan Pike: I’m curious if adding Jagr gives Brouwer a bit more space to find his game again.
billtran: If that happens… then Jagr’s addition will be even a bigger success than we could have ever imagined.
Ryan Pike: Okay, quick round of predictions before we wrap up: how many points does Jagr get as a Flame this year?
billtran: 15G 25A (40 PTS). Father time might be closing in on Jagr but he’ll still be effective.
Ryan Pike: I’m gonna go 18G, 18A (36 PTS).
karimkurji: 15G 29A (44 PTS).
croatis: 13G 35A (48 PTS).
Ryan Pike: I look forward to bringing this up again in April.