Florida Panthers: Pros and Cons of letting Jaromir Jagr walk

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 27: Jaromir Jagr
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 27: Jaromir Jagr /

Jaromir Jagr is 45-years-old and his future with the Florida Panthers is uncertain at best. Florida seems very ready to let Jagr go, but should they be?

On July 1, 2017, Florida Panthers GM and President of hockey operations Dale Tallon had a press conference on his moves in free agency. After addressing the acquisitions of Evgeny DadonovRadim Vrbata and Micheal Haley, the conversation moved to Jagr. Tallon said of Jagr:

"“Can’t thank him enough, what he did for our kids, and for myself, and everybody in this organization…he was fantastic.”"

Tallon also talked about getting “younger, quicker” in the same press conference. It is important to clarify something at this point. At the time I am writing this Jaromir Jagr is a free agent. He can sign with any team that offers him a contract, including the Panthers. We won’t know for sure that Jagr’s time in Florida is over until he signs with another team or retires.

Additionally, an ESPN article on Jagr quoted Tallon acknowledging that the Cats could still re-sign the legend. However, considering Tallon’s past tense tone in the press conference and reports that Jagr and Florida were far apart in salary talks, the odds seem remote. So let’s examine the pros and cons of the Panthers moving on from Jagr, with the assumption that the two sides will go their separate ways.


Tallon gave his reasons for the move right in the press conference. The goal of this free agency was to get younger. For the last couple of years Jagr’s job was to teach and lead the young core of the team. Now the Panthers seem to think that the young core has learned what they can from him. Any extra benefit he can provide in the mentoring department is not worth his asking price.

Also, Jaromir occupied a spot on the first line. His career numbers definitely warrant it, but that also denies a younger player from gaining important experience with the first line. Now Florida can give that experience to a player who will play a key part in the team for years to come. It will almost certainly be Dadonov this year, but perhaps a prospect down the road.

Finally, they can’t expect a 45-year-old hockey player, even one as strong as Jagr, to stay healthy for 82 games. Last season, injuries were devastating to the Panthers, who had to rearrange their lines seemingly every week. If Jagr got hurt, that would take away the continuity that Barkov and Huberdeau desperately need. Florida has decided that they can get the offensive production Jaromir Jagr provided elsewhere for less of a risk.


For starters, this is Jaromir Jagr we’re talking about. He will probably be considered the 2nd greatest hockey player in the history of the sport, and the numbers back it up. He is so experienced that any high pressure situation the Panthers could possibly find themselves in this season looks small in comparison to what Jagr has done. But you don’t have to look back through the years to see Jagr’s value.

Last year he scored 46 points, with 16 goals and 30 assists. Many 30-year-old players would be happy to have those numbers; for a 45-year-old they are remarkable. If any team can afford to lose that kind of production it definitely isn’t Florida. This past season the Cats ranked 23rd out of  30 teams in goals scored and 6th in their 8-team division. Jaromir was involved in a lot of the offense the Panthers got.

He finished 4th on the team in points. Keep in mind that the Panthers also lost their 3rd, 6th and 7th highest scorers (Marchessault, Smith and Jokinen respectively). While the front office might be worried about Jagr slowing down or getting injured, he hasn’t given them any reason to. He played in all 82 games last season.

Lastly, letting Jagr walk will have a negative impact on the already low attendance numbers of the BB&T center. People would come to Sunrise, Florida from all over the world just to see #68 play for a few hours. That alone says a lot about Jagr’s impact on the Panthers and the game of hockey.

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I understand and respect what the Panthers are trying to do with this youth movement. However, I don’t think they are in a position to let any more offensive contributors go. Besides, Owen Tippett, Henrik Haapala and Jayce Hawryluk could use a mentor. They could benefit from being, as Tallon described it, “touched by a legend.” I think the Panthers should make an effort to re-sign Jaromir Jagr before it’s too late.