Jaromir Jagr Trade: How Star RW Improves Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup Chances

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IApril 2, 2013

Jaromir Jagr Trade: How Star RW Improves Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup Chances

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    The Boston Bruins have acquired Dallas Stars right-winger and future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

    Jaromir Jagr to Boston. I'm hearing two prospects and a draft pick.

    — Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 2, 2013

    TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the names of the two prospects involved in this trade.

    DAL will receive prospects Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne (Plymouth) as part of the Jagr trade with BOS.

    — Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 2, 2013

    According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the draft pick going to Dallas is a conditional selection.

    Apologize if this is already out there but the 2nd rd pick Dallas got in Jagr deal becomes a 1st rd pick if B's win 2 playoff rounds

    — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 2, 2013

    This is a significant trade for the Bruins, one that makes them a better and deeper offensive team. After losing out on the Jarome Iginla sweepstakes to the Pittsburgh Penguins last week, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli needed to find a goal scorer in the trade market to improve his team's struggling offense.

    Jagr was the best rental available ,and making this move was well worth the risk when you consider the fact that MacDermid and Payne are not two of the Bruins' top 10 prospects.

    Let's examine why Jagr improves the Bruins' chances of winning the Stanley Cup this season.

Jagr Upgrades the Bruins' Power Play Significantly

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    The Boston Bruins' power play is terrible. There's no other way to describe it.

    The Bruins have drawn the fewest penalties in the league, and when they do get an opportunity to go on the man advantage, this team rarely capitalizes on its scoring chances.

    Boston has the 24th-ranked power-play with a 15.2 percent success rate, and its 14 goals with the man advantage is the fewest of any team. None of the team's first-line players (Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton) have scored on the power play this season.

    They needed to add a forward like Jagr to not only score goals on the power play, but also create more scoring chances overall. In 34 games for the Stars this season, Jagr has scored six goals on the man advantage (no one on Boston has more than three), which is the fifth-highest total in the league. He also has three power-play assists and averaged 3:22 of power-play ice time per game with Dallas.

    How exactly will Jagr improve the Bruins' power-play? He's aggressive in the sense that he takes a lot of shots, his play-making skills, passing and vision are still excellent and he does a great job finding space in front of the net where he will now connect on passes from the half boards made by players like Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Krejci.

    Jagr also has great size (6'4", 230 pounds) and is willing to battle in front of the net and score dirty goals in traffic. To put it simply, Jagr is a finisher who takes advantage of his scoring opportunities. He also provides the Bruins with another left-handed shot for the power-play, which is something they desperately need.

    Playing Jagr on a power-play unit that includes Seguin, Krejci and either Zdeno Chara or Dougie Hamilton at the point makes the most sense. This group would give the Bruins the right blend of scoring (Seguin, Jagr), play-making (Krejci, Hamilton) and size (Chara).

    Adding a goal scorer who has 195 career power-play goals and still performs at a high level will only help the Bruins be more effective with the man advantage. Dallas ranked dead-last in power-play success last season, and the addition of Jagr in 2013 helped them improve to 18th. Jagr should have a similar impact in Boston.

Bruins' Scoring Depth Improves

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    Jagr is far more than a power-play specialist. Even at 41 years old, the veteran forward is still capable of producing offensively on a consistent basis in a top-six role, while also playing 18-plus minutes each game.

    His natural spot in the lineup is at right wing, but if head coach Claude Julien wanted to give him some shifts at left wing, it would be surprising if Jagr was unable to produce offensively since he has a left-handed shot.

    He leaves the Stars as their leading scorer with 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 34 games this year. His 14 goals are the same total as Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who also leads the team in that category. Boston has scored more than two goals in only one of its last eight games, which has created some genuine concerns about this team's ability to put the puck in the net.

    Now that Jagr has been added to the roster, putting him on the first line alongside center David Krejci and left-winger Milan Lucic makes the most sense for Julien. Like Jagr, Krejci is from the Czech Republic and the 26-year-old forward "had a poster of Jagr on his wall when he was a kid," according to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston.

    Krejci and Jagr have played together at the international level for the Czech Republic, and shouldn't take long to develop some strong chemistry in the likely event that they are both on the Bruins' top line.

    If Jagr plays right wing on the first line, that means Nathan Horton will likely be demoted to the third line, where Jordan Caron, Rich Peverley and Jay Pandolfo have been playing since Chris Kelly suffered a leg injury a few weeks ago. Horton should take Pandolfo's spot, and his presence on the third line would strengthen that trio tremendously.

    Peverley, Caron, Pandolfo and Kelly have combined for just six goals this season, and the third line's struggles have been one of the Bruins' main areas of weakness after it was a strength in 2010-11 and last year.

    Jagr's arrival to the Bruins' roster will allow Julien to put one of his top-six forwards on the third line, which is good for Claude because he prefers to roll all four lines every game. Putting Horton or Lucic on the third line would add some much-needed size and offensive skill to that trio, while also giving the Bruins more scoring depth in their top-nine forward group.

Jagr Is a Proven Playoff Performer

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    Jagr is one of the best playoff performers in NHL history and has won two Stanley Cups (1990-91 and 1992-92 with the Pittsburgh Penguins) in his remarkable career.

    In 180 career playoff games, Jagr has tallied 189 points (78 goals and 111 points). In 11 playoff games for the Philadelphia Flyers last season, he scored one goal with seven assists. The veteran forward has scored at least five goals in a single postseason eight times.

    During last year's first round series against the Washington Capitals, the Bruins averaged just 2.14 goals per game. Boston scored one goal in four of the seven games in that series, and three of those were losses, including Game 7 at TD Garden.

    To prevent the team from struggling that much offensively during the 2013 NHL playoffs, Chiarelli needed to add a goal scorer to his roster who has proven that he will produce offensively in the postseason.

    Of all the players rumored to be available on the trade market, Jagr was the best option left for the Bruins to acquire additional scoring for the playoffs.

    Jagr is the type of player who doesn't get rattled in high-pressure moments and has plenty of experience in late-game situations. He will also be motivated to do well in the playoffs and earn another NHL contract in the summer as an unrestricted free agent.

His Veteran Presence/Leadership Will Be Great for Bruins

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    Leadership cannot be overlooked because it is an important part of every Stanley Cup winner.

    When the Bruins acquired Mark Recchi during the 2008-09 season, he provided the team with some scoring, defensive skill and grit, but his greatest attribute was his experience and leadership.

    As a two-time Stanley Cup champion and someone with more than two decades of NHL experience, Jagr should be a positive influence on many of the Bruins' younger players.

    Seguin and Marchand will learn a lot from Jagr, and Krejci will also benefit from having a childhood hero with him in the locker room. Jagr sets a good example for his teammates with his impressive work ethic and the effort he puts into his conditioning to make sure his fitness levels are high.

    Jagr will not only score goals and improve the team's power play, he will be a good addition to the Bruins' locker room as a leader, teacher and mentor for the younger players.

Bruins Still Have All of Their Top Trade Assets to Make More Moves

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    The Jagr deal with Dallas is another trade deadline victory for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.

    Boston did not have to give up any of its top 10 prospects to acquire the veteran winger. Lane MacDermid is a gritty forward with size and toughness, but he doesn't have much offensive skill. He has scored just 17 goals in four AHL seasons. Cody Payne was selected by the Bruins in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft and has spent the 2012-13 season in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers.

    Neither player was expected to make much of an impact with the Bruins this season or next year and project to be third or fourth-line players if they ever become NHL regulars.

    Since Chiarelli still has all of his top trade assets to use in other deals to improve the Bruins for the playoffs, don't be surprised if the B's add another defenseman before Wednesday's deadline.

    According to Capgeek, Boston has $5,910,786 in salary cap space after the Jagr deal, and that figure doesn't include an extra $4,021,429 in cap space that the team would gain if injured forward Marc Savard is put on long-term injury reserve.

    The Bruins were linked with Edmonton Oilers blueliner Ryan Whitney last week (via TSN's Bob McKenzie), who is a Boston native with lots of playoff experience and a bit of offensive skill. Three other defenseman who the Bruins could pursue for more blue-line depth are Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks, Jamie McBain of the Carolina Hurricanes and Mark Streit of the New York Islanders.

    Chiarelli said in a press conference last Thursday that he wanted to acquire both a forward and a defenseman before the trade deadline, and since he has a ton of cap space and plenty of valuable prospects, don't be surprised if the Bruins make more moves before 3:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.


    Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs in Boston. Nick has also covered the Bruins since the 2010-11 season. All quotes obtained firsthand or from Bruins media website.