Updates from Wednesday, April 30
On Wednesday the Devils made it official: Jaromir Jagr will play for the Devils next season:
IT'S OFFICIAL! #NJDevils have re-signed right wing Jaromir Jagr to a new contract.— New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) April 30, 2014
Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger provides financial details:
Jaromir Jagr's base salary will be $3.5 million for next season with bonuses (games-played) that could bring it to $5.5 million.— Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) April 30, 2014
Chere had more on the deal from Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello:
Lamoriello said Jagr let it be known he wanted to stay and preferred to avoid the free agency process.
"He certainly was a player we felt could be an asset to our team, but he had to feel that way. In the exit interview he said he really would like to come back and he'd like to get it done before he leaves rather than go through what he's gone through the last few summers," Lamoriello revealed.
"If he had to go through (free agency) he would still be interested, but he said he'd prefer to (re-sign now)."
Tom Gulitti of The Record provides Jagr's reasoning behind staying:
Jagr: "If I’m happy somewhere and I feel like the other side is kind of interested, there’s no reason to change.”— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) April 30, 2014
Age is nothing but a number to Jaromir Jagr, who will reportedly return to the New Jersey Devils for his 21st NHL season.
TVA Sports' Renaud Lavoie had details of the new one-year contract:
One year deal for Jaromir Jagr with the Devils. Value is between 5 and 6 million dollars depending on bonuses. #tvasports— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) April 29, 2014
Tom Gulitti of The Record provides the latest on the negotiation:
Lou Lamoriello says deal with Jaromir Jagr is not done yet, but "We are talking and I feel it will get done."— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) April 29, 2014
Expect some kind of official announcment on Jagr deal with Devils tomorrow.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) April 29, 2014
The 42-year-old veteran looked like the Devils' best player for much of the 2013-14 campaign, tallying a team-high 67 points (the next best was Patrick Elias with 53) and a plus-minus of plus-16 (the next best was a group of players at plus-three). He played all 82 games, logging over 19 minutes on the ice per contest.
And as he told MSG's Deb Kaufman Placey after the season finale, via NHL.com's EJ Hradek, he wasn't quite ready for a break:
Jaromir Jagr ends post-game interview with @DebPlacey by saying, "I've got to go practice." Knowing him, I don't doubt it!— EJ Hradek (@EJHradek_NHL) April 13, 2014
He wasn't lying, either—Jagr is currently with the Czech Republic national team getting ready for the World Championships.
There is simply no questioning this guy's work ethic or love for the game, and if there's anyone who can defy expectations when it comes to playing at a certain age, it's obviously him.
How would you grade this move by the Devils?
Jagr, the five-time Art Ross Trophy winner, currently sits tied for sixth place on the NHL career scoring list (seventh in goals and eighth in assists), and if his first year with the Devils was any indication, he'll soon be passing Steve Yzerman, Marcel Dionne and Ron Francis.
More importantly, though, he proved to be a tremendous fit with Peter DeBoer's puck-possession philosophies, and his return gives New Jersey a much better chance at getting to the postseason after narrowly missing out this year.
Despite his age, Jagr continues to produce and should remain an asset for the Devils next season. His leadership is also an intangible benefit for the team.
It's fair to expect him to start slowing down at some point, but the Devils—for good reason—are banking on that not happening anytime soon.