Philadelphia Flyers' Signing of Jaromir Jagr Is a Move for the Stanley Cup

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIJuly 2, 2011

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 1:  Jaromir Jagr #68 of the New York Rangers looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins February 1, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Just two hours after yesterday's opening of the NHL's free agency market the Philadelphia Flyers dropped another bomb in the NHL world.

Future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr was signed to a one-year, $3.3 million contract.

Initially, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings were noted as favorites to bring back the 39-year-old winger to the NHL after three seasons overseas in the KHL.

However, shortly before the market opened at noon on Friday, both Detroit and Pittsburgh reportedly pulled out their offers.

The Montreal Canadiens had been listed with Pittsburgh and Detroit as a potential candidate, but Philadelphia's general manager Paul Holmgren was the winner of the Jagr sweepstakes.

Jagr's career numbers are nothing short of incredible; when he scores his first point next season, he will become just the ninth player in the history of the NHL to reach 1,600 points.

From 1991 to 2007, Jagr produced 30-plus goals and 70-plus points in 15 consecutive seasons (an NHL record).

Jagr's 51 points in 49 games was good enough for eighth in the KHL this past year.

Last season, Nikolay Zherdev came back to the NHL after playing in the KHL. After putting up 39 points in 52 games during the 2009-10 KHL season, Zherdev produced 22 points in 56 games this past season for the Flyers.

If Jagr's KHL to NHL points-per-game translation is similar to Zherdev's, Jagr would hypothetically produce 40 points next season.

Holmgren knows that Jagr is not the same player he was 10 years ago, or even the same 70-point scorer who played for the New York Rangers in 2007.

Holmgren does not, nor should Philadelphia's fans expect, Jagr to be a point-producing monster or come close to challenging his production of years past.

What Holmgren knows he is putting on the roster is the name that shakes NHL headlines.

Jaromir Jagr.

Holmgren's recent roster moves have declared a message beyond that which statistics, comparisons, and other basic analytical techniques can help understand.

A week ago, Holmgren traded complacent captain Mike Richards and non-clutch Jeff Carter.

Veteran center Danny Briere spoke of the trades, saying, "...the message that I got from that was … our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. The last two years, we had the team to win the Stanley Cup and we didn't succeed, we didn't reach our goal. This organization isn't going to sit back and let the parade go by. That's the message I got. Come next year everybody better be ready to go. They're not going to just sit back."

Jagr is meant to help bring the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia after an aching 37-year absence.

Philadelphia signed three unrestricted free agents on July 1: Jagr, Andreas Lilja and Maxime Talbot.

All three of these players have hoisted the Stanley Cup. Jagr, Lilja and Talbot have shown the experience and drive necessary to reach hockey's greatest plateau.

Holmgren's decisions are unlikely to be a simple coincidence. He knows what a team needs to make it as far as Flyers fans desire.

Jagr carries a mystique with him rivaled by few players still active in the NHL today.

No player can glance at the "JAGR, 68" jersey in the locker room and not respect an NHL legend. Leadership abilities are what earned him the title of captain in both Pittsburgh and New York.

When a former Hart trophy winner, five-time NHL scoring leader, and nine-time All-Star tells a team to step up their game, the players will respond.

Natural leaders such as Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Briere and now Jagr, are essential pieces to carrying a team in the playoffs.

Though he can no longer carry an entire team on his shoulders at this stage in his career, Jagr is still capable of lifting one.