New Jersey Devils Add Jaromir Jagr
By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The Prudential Center will be the new home of 41-year old hockey globetrotter, Jaromir Jagr, as the New Jersey Devils have made the agreement between both parties official on Tuesday afternoon. In accordance with team policy, no other details were given on the contract, but reports say the contract is a one-year deal with a base salary of $2M and a $2M performance bonus for a $4M salary cap hit.
While not many teams showed interest in Jagr, who said it was just three or four teams, it was the Devils he decided to sign with for his 21st season in the National Hockey League.
Jagr will turn 42 years old this winter, causing some concern over whether he will be able to be as productive in a full 82-game schedule as he was in the shortened season, where he had 16 goals and 19 assists through 41 games. For Jagr though, the season wasn’t short at all.
“I know it was a short [NHL] season, but for me personally, it was the longest season I’ve ever played,” Jagr said in a conference call following the official announcement. “I played 105 games when I put together Europe (HC Kladno) and the NHL, plus the playoffs. It was my longest season ever. I played the most games I’ve ever played in one season. It’s going to [feel like] a short season for me next year.”
Whether or not it was just a coming-together of two desperate sides being able to fill one anothers needs, Jagr’s services are much-needed, and couldn’t have come at a better time. It was speculated that Lamoriello had pursued the veteran winger after Kovalchuk retired from the NHL to play in the KHL earlier this month, but according to Jagr he had spoken to the Devils General Manager even before then.
“In my stage, because I love the game, I was looking for the team where I was going to have an opportunity to play,” Jagr said on Tuesday afternoon. “I was talking to Lou even before [Ilya] Kovalchuk retired. After he retired, I think there was even more opportunity for me to play on the Devils’ roster.”
More opportunity for a player that wanted to remain in the NHL and happened to find a place that needed to fill gaps in their roster. It’s no secret that the last two Julys haven’t treated the Devils well, but despite it all, Lamoriello has picked up the pieces and put a team together that may surprise some Devils’ doubters. Jagr is just one piece of the puzzle.
In the wake of David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk departing, the Devils have a roster going into the final stretch of summer that looks more complete than it did last summer, adding Michael Ryder, Ryane Clowe, Corey Schneider, and Jaromir Jagr. With plenty of time before training camp begins, it will be interesting to see what other tricks Lamoriello has up his sleeve in order to capture what would likely be the final Stanley Cup championship for both Jagr and Martin Brodeur, two 1990 draftees.