Why Prodigal Son Jaromir Jagr Should Return to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Mentioning the hoisting of back-to-back Stanley Cups is something every Penguins fan can hang his or her hat on.
Everyone can remember the memorial flashes of brilliance from the likes of Mario Lemieux and Tom Barasso.
Unfortunately, most are quick to speak of the faults of one team member, the prodigal son Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr played 10 phenomenal years with the Pens before "turning tail" on the city that loved him for money in Washington and, later, for the hated Rangers.
They say that if you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, then it is real love.
The time has come for Jagr to show his love for Mario, the Pens, and the city of Pittsburgh.
He Can Still Play
I know that it's a little premature, but Jagr is still a phenomenal player.
Gone are the days where he was the best player on the ice, but with two of the top three players in the world currently on Pittsburgh's roster, he wouldn't have to be.
Watching the first Olympic game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, one can see the obvious desire and determination he displayed in a two-point effort (1 G, 1 A).
He blistered a wrist shot over the goaltender's glove hand to give the Czechs a lead in the second period. The starting goaltender for the Slovaks is also the starting goaltender for Montreal, Jaroslav Halak.
His numbers in the KHL are nothing to brag about for a former Hart Trophy winner, but a change in scenery would help that.
A change of scenery and playing with a youthful group of skilled players can do wonders for the seasoned vet, as Bill Guerin can attest.
He is not the leading scorer or even the player he was five years ago, but he is productive.
As Guerin has said in so many interviews, he feeds off of the youthful energy of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and the whole bunch. In return he puts forth effort and produces.
Jagr's shot has not diminished, as the goal in Slovakia game proves,so how much could he benefit from youthful vigor? At the ripe old age of 39 (by next season), he can still be a very productive player with Crosby sending a pass or Malkin taking some of the pressure away.
He Will Play for the League Veteran's Minimum
Jagr went on record last season as saying he would give the Pens the first shot and would play for the league minimum.
The Pens are strapped by the cap, which is looking to drop next season, by having multiple superstars who garner big money.
With only a few role players coming off the books (except for perhaps Sergei Gonchar), the Pens will face the same problem of fielding decent players to play with the superstars.
Where can Ray Shero find another minimum salary guy who can do what Jagr is capable of for the money? The answer is nowhere. Players of his caliber don't come cheap.
Signing Jagr for the minimum also has another bonus: If I've been completely mistaken and he can't play, the loss is minimal.
It's time for Pittsburgh to stop hating Jaromir Jagr.
After Mario Lemieux retired, Jagr was the prince of Pittsburgh. It's time for Pittsburgh to remember the good ole days and forget the mistakes.
Jagr appears to be a changed man, and he deserves to play with the team he helped launch into prominence.