Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Reasons Jaromir Jagr Is Washed Up
With 31 points through 34 games Jaromir Jagr has played inspired hockey in his inaugural season in the orange and black.
Fans were skeptical of the move, signing a near 40-year old who had not played in the NHL since the 2007-08 season.
But acquiring Jagr has seemingly worked out, as Jagr's respect and standing as a legend have made him an important leader for this young Flyers team.
As far as assignments go this is my toughest so far.
So I have dug deeper for situational statistics than I ever have before and come up with the 5 reasons explaining how Jaromir Jagr has not only lost a step, but is actually hurting the Flyers, big picture-wise.
Let me know what you think.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
This picture is about all the fun Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr got to have together at last week's Winter Classic when No. 68 left with a leg injury after only about seven minutes of ice time.
Jagr, who turns 40 in February, has now missed six games with various "maintenance injuries," groins and other muscles that can just flare up, and there seems to be a pattern emerging.
Much like Peter Forsberg, Jaromir Jagr's uncertain status moving forward, as the games are become more frequent heading into the postseason, could become more of a detriment to this young Flyers team.
In a year that was supposed to be all about "chemistry" it is hard to justify an unknown commodity such as Jagr.
Even with his early season success, it is worrisome that one of the top three forwards could miss more time, again forcing Peter Laviolette to shuffle the lines and mess with the synergy between the rest of the lines just starting to come into their own.
As much as I hate to reference Peter Forsberg I will again, as every fan remembers the effect a productive-when-healthy but never-really-healthy player in a key role can have on a team that went to the playoffs only a year prior.
Again, the schedule condenses following the All-Star break and the playoffs are another animal all together.
The uncertainty of Jagr's status down the stretch could have a negative effect on the team during the second half of the season.
The Claude Giroux Effect
An all-time great "that guy" in the background
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Claude Giroux has improved his play and point totals each year of his NHL career.
During the build-up to the 2012 Winter Classic the NHL Network replayed the 2010 Classic in Boston, and watching the Giroux of two seasons ago and being able to compare it with what has transpired this season the overall improvement, beyond his point production, is supremely evident.
Giroux is stronger on the puck, tougher in corners and on faceoffs and more confident in his game and these qualities have landed him in the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophy Races.
Quite a bit of credit has been given to Giroux's tutelage under Jaromir Jagr- his sharing the secrets of NHL superstardom with young Claude.
But on the ice it seems Giroux is actually carrying Jagr.
Yes, Jagr has the third most points (31) on the team despite missing six games, but really most of the credit can go to Giroux.
Of Jagr's 12 goals Giroux has the assist on seven of them.
Furthermore, Jagr's shooting percentage is also concerning.
Despite being 11th all-time in goals and ninth all-time in points Jagr has actually struggled to find the back of the net this season, shooting only 13.8%- fifth on the Flyers, trailing Matt Read (14%), Max Talbot (17.2%), Scott Hartnell (17.6%) and Claude Giroux (17.8%).
My point is another player in Jagr's position, playing alongside Giroux, arguably the best player in the league, as well as Mike Knuble 2.0- Scott Hartnell, would be similarly productive.
Hartnell, despite lacking Jagr's passing ability, has as many assists (19) as his future hall of fame linemate.
Despite not playing with Giroux for a majority of the season both Danny Briere and Matt Read have put up 13 goals, and James van Riemsdyk, having a disappointing season so far, has put 11 pucks in the net, only one fewer than Jagr's 12.
And the fact that a youngster could be outperforming Jagr brings me to my next point...
Jagr Is Holding Back a Youngster (or: Young Star)
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Whether it be JvR, Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek or one of the many other rookies and emerging stars Jaromir Jagr is holding them back from playing on the top line, gaining the confidence that comes with the ice time, and using that experience to take their game to the next level.
And it is not only one winger who is effected as Jagr's indisputable place in the lineup also means there is one fewer spot every night, meaning one developing young player is a healthy scratch each night, whether it be Zac Rinaldo, Harry Z or any of the mature-beyond-their-years role players not getting enough playing time.
While winning NOW is important to every Flyers fan we all must recognize the amazing amount of young depth at the NHL level right now.
Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier are two of the best center prospects in the league. Tom Sestito is a legitimate enforcer at 6'5" 230 pounds. Read, Zolnierczyk and Rinaldo have all impressed in their roles so far.
Voracek, JvR and Simmonds are all responsible secondary scorers capable of stepping up into greater roles when called upon.
But again, with Jagr in the lineup these young stars are left with less ice-time to work on their game against the highest level of competition. And, when Jagr inevitably comes out of the lineup, someone will fill in admirably, and once a little chemistry is gained No. 68 will return, forcing someone to be moved down and another player to be completely left out of the lineup and the all-important chemistry must be built all over again.
Wearing Down at the End of Games
Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images
Ottawa Senators D-man Erik Karlsson stripped Jaromir Jagr of the puck in the third period leading to the game-tying goal of Sunday's 6-4 loss in Ottawa.
Jagr is usually immune to turnovers but he has been showing his age of late, and it may be part of the Flyers issues finishing games.
Jagr has scored eight of his 12 goals, and 23 of 31 points overall in the first two periods of games this season.
The eldest and most respected Broad Street Bully's lack of production in the third period (eight points in 34 games) is hurting the team late in games.
Peter Laviolette's system is one that attacks, and the best way to protect a lead is to build on it- something that cannot happen when the top line is not producing, as is evident by having been outscored 13-5 over the past seven games in the third period.
With the goalie situation what it is Jagr and the first unit need to keep their collective foot on the gas at the end of games and it has not happened.
Still with me? Only one to go... Shall we continue?
Jagr has been better than I expected thus far, but wouldn't it be great if he brought back the mullet?
Look at that mop, imagine if he, Giroux and Hartnell all grew the flow out for the playoffs- forget beards, the mullet is where it's at.
The Flyers in-game staff could cue up Aerosmith's Dude Looks Like a Lady for nostalgia's sake and blare it over the arena PA-system as an inspirational jab at the ridiculously awesome hairdo, but this time we will be laughing with No. 68 instead of at him- like we were in the Spectrum.
Sure, it's been a while since Jags has militarized his hair style, and I'm not sure at his age if the hair comes in like it used to, but I would like to think he'd be making an even greater impact if he rocked the mullet.
At the very least I'd like to see a good warm-up wig a la Mike Schmidt or Jeremy Roenick.
So, what do you think? Has Jagr been better than you've expected? Do you prefer his current hair style? Whatever your opinion, let me know.