The Florida Panthers are the current home of NHL Legend Jaromir Jagr. The 45-year-old ageless one is still an effective player and matches up well with Huby and Barkov.
For the past few years, every offseason has ended with: “Should we resign Jagr?”. I will look at the pros and cons of re-signing Jaromir and explain a verdict at the end.
Chemistry with Huberdeau and Barkov- By far the #1 pro for bringing Jaromir back is because of his chemistry with the Panthers two best young forwards (Huberdeau and Barkov). Panthers Co-Owner Doug Cifu once said in a radio interview:
"“The chemistry Huberdeau-Barkov and Jagr have is almost telepathic”"
Jaromir has been a major aid in the two young forwards development. I don’t think they are completely ready to leave the veteran fallback of Jagr.
Marketing- Jaromir along with goaltender Roberto Luongo are essential pieces to the team’s ticket sales down here in South Florida. In order to be successful, you need to have people in the seats and watching a living legend is a great way to do that. Every goal, assist, and point he puts up continues to set/break records. I was there when Jaromir scored his 742nd career goal to pass Brett Hull for 3rd all time. It’s moments like that which attract/bring fans to more games.
Retirement- There has been some talk that Jagr and his longtime girlfriend Veronika Kopřivová might be getting married and starting a family soon. If so, South Florida is a great retirement destination for Jaromir when he is done playing. We hope he continues into the NHL for a few more years at least. His body can certainly handle it.
Is it time for Huberdeau and Barkov to find a new line mate?- Yes and no. Jaromir’s playing days are numbered (in terms of age) no matter what he says. Huberdeau and Barkov need to be ready for when the time comes that Jagr leaves/retires from the Cats. If the Panthers let Jaromir walk, they will then have to find a long term line mate for both 11 and 16.
Speed and turnovers- While Jagr is great at protecting the puck, one thing he will need to cut down on is his turnovers. At times, he gets caught telegraphing his passes, which often (always get intercepted). Many on the Cats last season had “knack” for turning pucks over, so he definitely wasn’t the only one.
His speed doesn’t help either. At 45 years of age there really isn’t much he can do in regards to his speed. It’s something he has learned to accept and makes up for it with experience and strength. Part of the worry with Jagr is if he can hold up to when the playoffs arrive. Speed will always be his weakness (right now) and it’s something he can’t overcome with age and decline.
I think the pros outweigh the cons here and I believe that Jaromir will sign an extension. However, this should be his last year in a Panther uniform and unless we need to get to the cap floor, he shouldn’t make more than $3.75M this year. Overall, I think the Cats should also experiment with other line mates for Huberdeau and Barkov.
For some great material on Jagr himself, check out https://jagrometer.com/ !