Yes, it may still be hard to believe that forward Jaromir Jagr not only still plays in the NHL, but continues to have a big impact for an NHL club, too. With that being said, Jagr age 45, plans on "playing until he's 50," and NHL fans around the world are eager to see where the Czech Republic native will be playing next season.
The future Hockey Hall Of Famer is set to become an unrestricted-free-agent this NHL offseason, and while Jagr has enjoyed playing parts of the past three seasons in Florida with the Panthers -- the chances are that more than a handful of teams will be calling the legend to sign with their club for next season. Questions will be asked once the 2016-17 regular season comes to a close; Will Jagr want to re-sign with the Panthers if they don't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs; does he want another change of scenery; will he want to sign with another warm weather based team?
"Warm weather," will play a major role in Jagr's decision and regardless if he plans to leave the Panthers or not.
Here are eight teams Jaromir Jagr may want to sign with during the NHL's 2017 free-agency period, and seven teams he probably won't want to sign with.
15 Want - Anaheim Ducks
Picture Jaromir Jagr wearing a throwback Mighty Ducks of Anaheim sweater, or hat, next season. Any true hockey fan would have only thought that would’ve been a possible sight in an EA Sports video game plus over decade ago, right?
Well, times have changed and Jagr continues to defy the odds at the age of 45. The Ducks haven’t made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 2007, and since that time Anaheim has only had expectations to reach the Finals each and every season. However, that hasn’t been the case and Anaheim could be in search for a makeover if the club has another early exit this spring this playoffs. Perhaps Jagr has always wanted to be a Duck, and would consider taking his talents to Southern California, in Orange County?
14 Won't - Pittsburgh Penguins
Most NHL fans were probably expecting the Pittsburgh Penguins to be somewhere on this list…
Jaromir Jagr was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 1990 NHL Draft and eventually hoisted two Stanley Cups (his only two) during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. The (then) young Phenom of the Penguins went onto display his future Hockey Hall Of Fame talents for ten seasons in the Steel City, before later requesting a trade and to the Washington Capitals (2001-02).
While it may seem like the perfect ending for Jagr it would be hard to imagine the 45-year-old rejoining the Penguins. It was rumored that Pittsburgh was interested in bringing back the hockey legend after the 2010-11 season, but Jagr denied the contract and signed with the Penguins instate rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers.
13 Want - Dallas Stars
Most may not be able to recall, but forward Jaromir Jagr once dressed for the Dallas Stars back in the 2012-13 shortened NHL season (lockout). It was a short tenure for the legend in the Lone Star State, but a lot has changed with the Stars’ organization since Jagr was traded that same season to the Boston Bruins (NHL Trade Deadline).
Dallas was snake bitten by injuries all of this season, and the Stars front office will look to be busy during the offseason, especially in relation to unrestricted free agency. The Stars do have an open window to be a Stanley Cup contender and that would be enticing for Jagr to return to Dallas, too. It may sound farfetched now, but a lot can take place between now and the league’s upcoming offseason. Jagr fans will have to keep a close eye on the Czech’s body language during future postgame interviews, especially if the Panthers fail to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring.
12 Won't - Carolina Hurricanes
At first, it would be almost impossible to have ever pictured Jaromir Jagr in a Carolina Hurricanes sweater, but is it that far fetched now? No, and Jagr would make for a great complimentary fit with the Canes as they’ve made progress over the past two seasons in the rebuilding stage. Jagr’s old teammate from his days in Pittsburgh, Ron Francis, is the Hurricanes’ general manger, but that may not break the ice in order for Carolina to acquire Jagr this summer.
The chances are that Jagr would not want to leave the Florida Panthers for the Hurricanes this offseason. Signing with the Hurricanes would also entail competing in arguably the league’s toughest division at the moment, too (Metropolitan). Timing is everything in the professional sports industry, and the time would not be right for a Jagr-Hurricanes marriage next season.
11 Want - Arizona Coyotes
While Jaromir Jagr will more than likely want to join a known Stanley Cup Playoff contender, it seems that Jagr was both inspired and motivated to help a perennial loser in the Florida Panthers, just two years ago after he was traded from the New Jersey Devils. The Arizona Coyotes are a team on the rise with young talent that could not only benefit from Jagr’s presence in the locker room, but his play on the ice too.
The Yotes have plenty of salary cap space to sign Jagr, and could potentially offer him the most money for a short-term-contract in comparison to other teams on this list. In the past, the 45-year-old has portrayed that he embraces being the center of attention for a team and the “go to guy” so, why not head out to the Western Conference and try to impress all the fans again by joining a nontraditional hockey market and continue to produce in the points column.
10 Won't - Toronto Maple Leafs
Yes, Jaromir Jagr was happy while playing under a Lou Lamoriello regime back when he played for the New Jersey Devils from 2013 until 2015. And, Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock and team executive Brendan Shanahan would gladly welcome Jagr to join the young squad of energized Leafs next season…but this hockey enthusiast can’t say it enough – that it would take a lot of convincing to get Mr. Jagr to play for a Canadian franchise, right now.
Jagr has been rejuvenated from playing in an all-year-round warm weather city, and ultimately it would be foolish for the Czech to sign with any other clubs that don’t provide a warm weather environment for at least a majority of a season. It would be pretty neat to see Jagr is Toronto’s new branded sweaters, though.
9 Want - Tampa Bay Lightning
Stranger things have happened, so why not?
The Tampa Bay Lightning roster has already witnessed some dramatic changes as the 2016-17 NHL regular season nears its end. In 2017-18, Tampa’s lineup will continue to see a handful of new faces and potential unexpected changes, too. And, pending who the Lightning are able to sign during NHL free agency this summer, general manager Steve Yzerman may want to consider bringing the legendary Jaromir Jagr on board.
The future Hockey Hall Of Famer wouldn’t have to travel far to relocate, and the Czech native could still enjoy the Florida weather which he’s clearly embraced. Additionally, the Bolts may have more of a “win now” identity in comparison to the Florida Panthers, and Jagr could land himself on the second line with Tampa as well.
8 Won't - Ottawa Senators
The “little brother” of the Canadian NHL franchises in the Eastern Conference may push to acquire Jaromir Jagr this summer, but the chances are slim for Jagr to head north and dress for the Ottawa Senators next year. While the Sens have been one of more underrated clubs all season this year, it would be hard to imagine Jagr leaving a warm weather climate to play for a Senators team who has proven to be inconsistent time-and-time again in recent memory.
Sure, Jagr would more than likely prosper being surrounded with a young and talented Ottawa squad, but would he mesh well with the young and tough head coach, in Guy Boucher? That formula could go north or south either way, and become a very sour situation if it potentially did go south.
7 Want - San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks roster is currently a respectable mix of young and Hockey Hall Of Fame veteran talent. However, one or two of those veterans could no longer be in the mix after the 2016-17 season officially ends. Both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, and chances are that San Jose will only try to keep one of those future Hall Of Fame forwards.
With that being said, the great Jaromir Jagr could look to relocate and finally play for an NHL club on the West Coast with the Teal. For starters, the 45-year-old has had success playing for (current Sharks coach) Peter DeBoer, while playing in New Jersey for parts of two seasons (2013-2015); and considering the Sharks’ window to be a Stanley Cup contender will still be open for a handful more of years to come – Jagr could consider dressing for San Jose next season.
6 Won't - Montreal Canadiens
It would be quite a sight to see Jaromir Jagr don not only an Original Six club’s sweater again, but a Montreal Canadiens jersey. Picture Jagr at center ice with the torch to salute the Montreal crowd…I get goose bumps just thinking about it…
However, at this point in Jagr’s profound NHL career, the 45-year-old may not want to be troubled by the hot bed media market in Montreal with the Habs. No one’s saying that Jagr wouldn’t be able to handle that pressure of playing for the Canadiens at this stage of his career, but it’s more than likely not the best fit for the future Hall Of Famer at this point in time. But it will be interesting to see if the Canadiens become one of the first teams to go public about pursing the legend this offseason.
5 Want - Nashville Predators
Remember when former Montreal Canadiens, now Nashville Predators, defenseman P.K. Subban and Jaromir Jagr had a comical moment during the NHL’s All-Star Skills competition in the Music City and at Bridgestone Arena back in 2016? Picture both of those iconic superstars teaming up with Jagr signing a short-term contract with the Preds this offseason.
Jagr has played and performed well while playing under Nashville’s head coach Peter Laviolette (2012 Philadelphia Flyers), and both a vibrant city and passionate fan-base such as the Music City could continue to replenish Jagr’s will to succeed on the ice. Additionally, the Predators could not only benefit from Jagr’s experience, but also his play-making ability. Nashville has been notorious over the years for being a defensive minded squad, so in effect Jagr would be given plenty of opportunity to stand out and shine with one of the Predators’ top lines.
4 Won't - Minnesota Wild
The Wild have a team that entails quite a few of all-star caliber veterans, and adding Jaromir Jagr to the puzzle in Minnesota with the Wild may have made sense two or three years ago…but not anymore. Sure, the Wild and Jagr would hypothetically make for a productive fit, but most fans can probably agree on the fact that it’s very far fetched to see Jagr leaving the Sunshine State for the State of Hockey.
Perhaps at a future NHL Trade deadline the two sides could unite, but Jagr more than likely will not want to sign with the Wild this offseason. Yet, imagine a Wild team that entails Eric Staal, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter…the chances are that Jagr would help boost an already top 10 NHL power play in the Twin Cities.
3 Want - Vegas Golden Knights
Let’s not forget that the Vegas Golden Knights are fair game now. The NHL’s newest expansion club drops the puck for its inaugural season in October, and Golden Knights owner Bill Foley has displayed that he in fact loves the spotlight. So, why not try to convince and throw money towards an all-time great who’s an unrestricted-free-agent this summer?
Pending what the Golden Knights roster pans out to be after the expansion draft, Jagr may be intrigued by Foley to join Vegas and jump-start the league’s newest organization. The hockey legend may also want to dress for the Gold and Black and do it “for the fans.” At this rate, would it genuinely surprise you if Jagr played for Vegas? It wouldn’t in this hockey enthusiast’s opinion. It would also be a reunion for Jagr and former Washington Capitals general manager, George McPhee.
2 Won't - Vancouver Canucks
It hasn’t been pretty in Vancouver lately with the Canucks. The once perennial powerhouse franchise has struggled recently and the Canucks may even have to part ways with the Daniel and Henrik Sedin sooner than later. So, Vancouver’s front office may look to keep season ticket holders happy by pushing for a contract agreement with Jaromir Jagr this summer, as a rebuild takes place in Western Canada.
There is potential for Jagr to enjoy playing in a beautiful and passionate city such as Vancouver, but chances are that Jagr will not want to go up to Western Canada. Also, keep in mind the amount of travel that the Canucks have to do in comparison to other franchises on this list. At age 45, Jagr will not want to play for the Canucks in 2017-18.
1 Want - Florida Panthers
Since forward Jaromir Jagr was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Florida Panthers, South Florida has treated the Czech native well, very in well, in fact. Most NHL fans alike thought Jagr would never last one full season in Florida with the Cats, but the mid-40s veteran has played parts of two-plus seasons; which also includes an appearance for the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for just the second time since the 2000 season…
Jagr and the Panthers have embraced what one another can offer to each other. It fact, it’s almost been too good to be true, right? Jagr would gladly want to rejoin his fellow Panthers and try his best to help win the club’s first ever Stanley Cup championship, finally. Yet, it seems that Jagr enjoys to bounce from team to team, as he’s left an impression that he needs a change to take place in order for his personal play to thrive. It shouldn’t come as a surprise either way if Jagr decides to stay or leave the Panthers.