When 45-year-old NHL veteran and future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr signed with the Calgary Flames earlier this season, the announcement came with a ton of fanfare and congratulations. After a summer long, “will he or won’t he” type situation played out regarding Jagr’s future, most hockey fans were ecstatic that the ageless wonder managed to catch on with another NHL club. Fast forward just four months though and it looks like Jagr’s NHL career may be over.
Earlier this month Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported that Jagr and the Flames were looking for a way out of their agreement. Whether by trade or by contract termination, it’s clear both sides want out.
Flames GM Brad Treliving has been working the trade phones to try to find a fit for Jagr, but so far his efforts have proved fruitless. Jagr’s diminishing play, his deteriorating health and his bonus-laden contract make him a difficult asset to move via trade. With trade options seemingly dried up, the only other option appears to be a contract termination. This would allow Jagr to seek employment elsewhere, likely overseas in the KHL. But… what if there were one more option?
In his latest article for Flames blog Flames Nation, blogger Steve MacFarlane puts forth the idea of Jagr playing out the string in Calgary.
The truth is the team still doesn’t know what it has in the 45-year-old future hockey hall of famer. And unless the Flames need the roster spot as part of their short-term plans while gunning toward the playoffs, they have nothing to lose but the remainder of Jagr’s $1-million salary and modest bonuses he might pick up by playing.
The problem is, where does he fit? With Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway both earning full-time roster spots, Jagr seems like the odd man out. Jagr is unlikely to play fourth line minutes, meaning one of Micheal Ferland, Troy Brouwer or Hathaway has to come out of the lineup. That seems unlikely at this point.
Still, MacFarlane argues that a rested Jagr could become a valuable asset for the Flames down the stretch drive and into the playoffs.
If nothing else, allowing Jagr to get completely healthy with a long layoff will give him what he deserves — an exit on his own terms.
What do you think? Can Jagr still provide the Flames with a spark? Or are his NHL playing days over?