This offseason the Dallas Stars answered some of their offensive problems by signing five-time Art Ross Trophy winner Jaromir Jagr. While Jagr is six years removed from a 123-point season, he can still contribute a great deal.
The 40-year-old veteran still has the ability to make his teammates better. The fact that he has been in the league 18 seasons means that he has picked up a few tricks along the way.
Outside of his scoring prowess, he was signed to be an on-ice coach. How well he can teach the younger players will play a huge factor in the Stars’ chances of making another postseason run.
Jamie Benn might receive one of the biggest boosts from Jaromir Jagr’s presence on the ice. When they’re on the ice together, Benn will be the main scorer that Jagr looks to.
Since Jagr is 12 assists short of reaching 1,000 in his NHL career, there is a strong chance that Benn could be the one to bury the puck for him.
The other benefit Benn gains is that Jagr has been known to score a goal or two in his career. This will open up more space for the young star, and any attention paid to the future Hall of Famer is attention not being paid to Benn.
Loui Eriksson is the NHL version of a point guard for the Dallas Stars. His best skill is the ability to create opportunities for other players.
With Jaromir Jagr closing in on the 1,000-assist mark, he can give Eriksson some pointers on how to deliver the puck in the best scoring areas.
Jagr can also provide some insight on ways to draw defenders in as a way to open up space on the ice. Much of that information may not be new to Eriksson, but Jagr has perfected it.
The Dallas Stars struggled mightily when it came to scoring last season. Their power-play units were some of the worst Dallas has seen in recent memory, and that didn’t help the five-on-five pains.
With Jaromir Jagr and the rest of the rebuilt forward corps, Kari Lehtonen should be able to set new career highs for a second season in a row.
Having the ability to score and push up the ice on offense will help Lehtonen get some breathing room. Multiple times last season it looked like a firing squad was using Lehtonen as target practice.
The problem with the defense hasn’t been totally fixed, but Jagr and crew are a Band-Aid that could hold for the season.
Higher offensive output means Lehtonen will spend less time fighting off rebounds, lessening the burden of being a goalie during the grind of an entire season.
Last season was a down year for Derek Roy. During the 2010-11 campaign he missed 47 games but still managed to score 35 points. The following season he played 80 games and was only able to muster 44 points.
In hopes of having a rebound season and returning to his old form, Roy will enlist the help of Jaromir Jagr.
Roy can benefit from the same teachings that Loui Eriksson will get from Jagr. The other thing he can absorb from Jagr is someone who has been through the experience of trying to re-establish himself as an elite player in a new market.
Jagr did the same thing last season with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Dallas Stars forwards Brenden Morrow and Jaromir Jagr will make each other better in the long run. They will both benefit because they offer each other the ability to keep the other one fresh.
The common thought is that Morrow is going to be the forward who anchors the third line. While dropping out of the top six might be a tough pill to swallow for the team captain, it will probably be a more fluid situation than a set top six.
Over the past two seasons Morrow has looked as if he was getting winded at a higher rate as the season progressed. Jagr is 40 years old, so he will undoubtedly face those same problems.
With a trio of veterans in Jagr, Morrow and Ray Whitney, all three players should be able to rotate in the top lines and keep their legs fresh for a playoff run.