2012 NHL Free Agents: Jaromir Jagr's Top Landing Spots for Next Season
Jaromir Jagr hasn't received as much attention on the open market as he should.
After the star winger returned from Russia he transitioned back into the NHL without missing a beat. At the age of 40 the big Czech put up some very good numbers, tallying 19 goals and 35 assists on a powerhouse Philadelphia team that saw the emergence of Claude Giroux as one of the brightest stars in hockey.
Anyone who needs goal scoring, veteran leadership or an aura of presence both on the ice and in the locker room should look Jagr's way.
Although he might be playing the Flyers for some leverage in negotiations, the winger has stated he is indeed playing next season and is ready to hit the free agent market.
The following are the top destinations for Jagr's 2012-13 season.
New York Rangers
New York is Jagr's top landing spot for next season.
In Jagr's four years with the Rangers he was scoring at well over a point per game pace including a 123-point MVP-worthy season in which he was robbed of the Hart Trophy by Joe Thornton.
Not only was Jagr a great captain in New York, but the Rangers fans don't hold nearly the amount of hate that those in Pittsburgh do for the legendary winger.
If that's not enough to convince you that New York is the best place for Jagr to play then consider the following:
With Marian Gaborik out for an unknown amount of time at the beginning of the season the offense-starved Rangers are going to need a right-winger that can replace Gaborik's goal production. Enter Jaromir Jagr.
The only thing you get after Gaborik returns from surgery is depth at wing, something any team ready to challenge for the Cup desperately needs.
Last summer Jagr's return to Pittsburgh looked like a done deal.
When the big Czech told everyone that he had decided to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers because they gave him a better chance to win everyone in Pittsburgh was flabbergasted.
How could he do such a thing? Jagr was surely out of his mind.
Not so much in this case.
Jagr's Flyers made short work of the Penguins in a first round series we will not soon forget. The Flyers dismantled the Penguins defense and made former Stanley Cup winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury look like he belonged in the ECHL.
Still, if this next year is indeed Jagr's swan song, it would be nice to see him don the Penguin across his chest one last time.
Despite what anyone tells you, one day Jagr's number 68 will be in the rafters in Pittsburgh. Although the pain he caused the fans last year still exists, the slate could easily be wiped clean with his announcement to return for one more year to the city where it all started.
There's not one good reason the Flyers shouldn't extend a hefty offer to bring Jagr back for at least one more season.
Ever since the Flyers decided to deal Mike Richards and Jeff Carter to the now Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, the Flyers have built a mini-youth movement with players like Brayden Schenn, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Luke Schenn.
Jagr definitely had a positive impact on the youngsters from last year as well as helping to turn center Claude Giroux into a bona fide superstar center.
Giroux is now the face of the franchise and is also the face of EA Sports NHL 13 video game, largely in part to Jagr's mentoring and skill playing on the young pivot's wing.
There's no bigger Jaromir Jagr fan in the world than rough-and-tumble winger Scott Hartnell, who won the hearts of fans across the country with his countless antics and physical play. Hartnell has said time and time again that he would love to see Jagr back in a Flyers uniform and management would be wise to listen to him.
One thing that I've found tremendously interesting is the complete lack of talk about the Boston Bruins outside of the Tim Thomas fiasco that forced management's hand into drafting goaltender Malcolm Subban.
Only one year removed from a Stanley Cup championship there hasn't exactly been a lot of talk about how the Bruins are going to improve their team and get back to the finals.
While Jagr doesn't really fit into the role of being a Boston Bruin, meaning he doesn't use his physicality and toughness as much as he used to, but they desperately need more scoring.
When Boston finds a suitor to take on Tim Thomas' one year, $5 million dollar contract, that money should be moved directly towards Jagr as to offer him a competitive salary, perhaps more than what the Flyers might be willing to offer.
When I think about Jaromir Jagr potentially playing in Ottawa the first name that comes to mind is Alex Kovalev.
Kovalev was a huge star in Montreal and was absolutely beloved by the fans there. Unfortunately, after signing a $10 million contract to play two years in Ottawa the Russian winger's laziness inevitably kicked in and the old man just sort of winged it from day one.
While Jagr has had more of a reputation for being a "me first" type of player, there is little reason to believe that he wouldn't give 100% in Ottawa like Kovalev had done.
Although the Sens might be a few years away from a championship, they still have captain Daniel Alfredsson, albeit in the twilight of his career, and a sound defense led by new Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.