Flyers Faithful is pleased to have Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, Marc Siciliano of Kukla’s Corner, Dan MacNeal of Crimespree Hockey, James Minger of Flyers-Philia, and Flyers Faithful’s own Kevin Christmann participate in the current iteration of Five Questions. This is the third of a five part series focusing on Free Agency that will run all week.
There is speculation that Jaromir Jagr will re-sign with the Flyers for an additional year. Do you think he will re-sign? If not the Flyers, who else could be in the running for Jagr?
Adam Kimelman: I think Jagr will look around, but eventually I think he comes back to Philadelphia for the chance to play with Claude Giroux for one more season.
Marc Siciliano: Jagr and the Flyers are in quite an interesting scenario right now. At the end of the season not a single soul would have thought he’d be back, but now it at least seems very possible. But is the money that you have to spend on a guy like Jagr going to be worth it? It depends on how much weight you invest in the many pros and cons that would come with such a signing.
PROS: First and foremost, Jagr is a presence. Jagr is a lifestyle. As a young player in that locker room, you are in awe of a guy like him. You are taking in every sweet morsel of information that that famous Czech magician is churning out. This past season, Jagr proved that he is anything but a hindrance in the locker room, notably working out almost too hard in the most crucial of times. With this obviously being his last stint in the big leagues, you know he would be giving it all and an attitude like that from a guy like him would be infectious come playoff time. This time next year, who isn’t laying it all out on the line in that locker room knowing that 44 and 68 likely aren’t coming back at season’s end? He has proven to be a great veteran presence for this young core already. Having been to battle with these guys, why stop now?
This is isn’t to diminish his skill. When healthy, he is still an elite playmaker and scorer. The chemistry between him and Giroux has Walter Whites all over the world jealous of Homer’s abilities, and with so many young players and guys cashing in on career years last year (looking at you Scott Hartnell and your unsustainable shooting %), a sure thing in the offensive department is a welcome sight.
BUT then there are the CONS: Jagr comes at a price, and it’s a hefty one for a man his age. He’s already talked about wanting consistent playing time in order to stay more in the flow of the game and effective for his age, and that might be an issue if other guys start to outplay him. Is it fair for the organization to hold guys back and keep running Jagr out on the top line if he isn’t as effective as his peers on the wing? Is it even in the best interest of the team anymore? He’s happy now, but a lot can change when a player of his caliber starts to slide down the depth chart and down the bench. At a certain point, are the off ice intangibles worth the amount of commitment necessary to the on-ice product and complimentary cap hit?
Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle for what his eventual cap hit might be. If he were to sign for around $2.3 – 2.5M for a year, you can sign me up. But I think he’s going to re-sign for around the same cap hit ($3M), which just seems like a little too much for me. But with a one-year contract, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
If it’s not the Flyers Jagr is playing for, it’s surely going to be another marquee franchise that helps him sing his swan song. He’ll be going big before he goes home, and you can’t salute an empty arena.
Dan MacNeal: We’ve all seen that Jagr’s going to test the market. Whether he tests free agency and comes back, remains to be seen. It depends on how much he’s looking for. If he wants more than the $3.5m he got here last season, and can get it somewhere else, he’ll leave. Personally, I think there was a solid chance he returned before this news, and now it’s probably 50/50 at best that he returns. As for teams who may be interested, he was talking to Montreal last summer, so I’m sure they still have interest. Pittsburgh, too and who knows, maybe a team like Detroit, I believe they were interested last year as well.
James Minger: I think that the Flyers and Jaromir Jagr will come to terms on a new deal. The only thing that is probably holding up a Jagr resigning is that I’m sure Jagr would like a raise from the $3.3M he made last year, and the Flyers would like sign him for the same or less. I think that the Jagr and the Flyers will be able to come to terms at $3.5M.
Although, if the Flyers and Jagr come to an impasse, I’m sure Jagr won’t stay unemployed too long. Jagr fills the role of a leader, and top-six forward for an affordable price. The rumors have Detroit and Montreal as being possible suitors for Jagr. I think Detroit is would be a better fit for the Czech legend because Jagr is playing to have fun, i.e. win. It’s not that it wouldn’t be possible to win in Montreal but as a team, Detroit is better situated to make a deep playoff run.
Aside from Detroit and Montreal, other teams where I can see Jagr being a good fit are: the Canucks (imagine him on the Sedin line), the Hurricanes (they seem willing to throw money at a top-notch winger, especially if they miss on Parise and Nash), and my wildcard pick is the Islanders (he would be a great asset to a team that is on the verge ofputting it all together).
However, I’m kind of conflicted about Jagr resigning. On one hand, Jagr still has an above average skill set despite being 40 years old, and he provides this very young Flyers team with very valuable veteran leadership. On the other hand, the Flyers’ offense is getting to be a little too crowded, and not everyone can play top-six forward minutes. Jagr’s roster spot may be better utilized for the further development of one of the Flyers’ young guns. At the end of the day, Jagr will more than likely sign on to continue to play with Claude Giroux. Jagr doesn’t need any more titles, hardware, or money. Giroux has seemed to be one final revelation in Jagr’s legendary career.
Kevin Christmann: The Jagr saga continues to see-saw between him being likely and un-likely to re-sign.
I think that the JVR trade increases the likelihood that Jagr comes back as there is now a bigger need for a winger. However, I think the rest of the Flyers’ free agency approach will really dictate the outcome here. Ultimately, I think he will come back.
As Marcello stated in his article earlier this week:
News: Jaromir Jagr wants to test the free agent market but he loves Philly and it’s 50/50 that he returns.
What it sounds like: Jagr loves us and we love him. It’s only a matter of time before he re-signs.
What it really means: Ask Penguins fans.