Philadelphia Flyers: 10 Reasons Jaromir Jagr Is Poised for Career Renaissance
Jagr has quickly earned a spot on the Philadelphia Flyers' top line, and is tied for third on the team's point list.
The NHL's active leader in points (1602) was lost from North American hockey news over the past few seasons due to his membership in the KHL overseas. However, there is now plenty to talk about regarding the 39-year-old forward's resurgence.
He Did Not Come Back to the NHL with Pittsburgh
Jagr's legacy in Pittsburgh will now remain as the mullet-sporting kid who won four consecutive scoring titles in the 1990's.
Jagr as a Penguin still conjures thoughts of his days playing alongside Mario Lemieux in what was one of the most impressive scoring duos in the history of the NHL.
Had he come back with Pittsburgh this season, Jagr's legend in Pittsburgh would have been reduced to being a sideshow to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Jagr would have gotten paid by his former teammate (Lemieux is now the team's owner), resulting in just a shell of the pride exuded by someone who was the franchise's icon ten seasons ago.
He's Still Jaromir Jagr
This is not to say well, Jaromir Jagr is Jaromir Jagr.
It's such a simple notion yet still utterly true. Regardless of the color or typeface, "JAGR 68" is an iconic combination to grace the back of any jersey. The unique and recognizable calling card is a household name for any hockey fan.
Name another player who could return to the NHL after three seasons and create such intense reactions.
All he had to do to make headlines this summer was sign a contract. He's still a big deal, so satisfying the hype will not take much.
He Will Only Draw the Spotlight
If Jagr falters, it is no surprise. His age and the uncertainty that was centered around him makes every positive action a benefit.
His one-season contract made him a low-risk signing for general manager Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Jagr is on pace for 62 points after four games. That would be quite a satisfactory amount for a player three years removed from hockey's highest level.
He's Still a Productive Point Scorer
What Jagr showed in the preseason is turning out to be a realistic preview of his regular season abilities.
Jagr has yet to put a puck in the back of the net, but his three assists is the second-most on the Flyers' roster through four games.
Jagr's ability to make tape to tape passes will be essential in racking up points, with snipers such as Danny Briere and Claude Giroux beside him.
Claude Giroux Is His Linemate
This is just a scary combination.
The leader in scoring for the 2010-2011 Flyers was not Danny Briere, Jeff Carter or Mike Richards.
It was 23-year-old Claude Giroux, who was playing in just his second full NHL season. Giroux's offensive abilities feature excellent puckhandling and deking abilities, paired with superb passing and shooting.
Putting him with the NHL's active points leader and James van Riemsdyk creates the Flyers' top line.
Even when these two do not finish their play, their abilities together are still admirable to watch.
His Experience Will Improve Those Around Him
Eight of the Flyers' twelve forwards are aged 25 or younger.
When Jagr won his first scoring title, those teammates were still in elementary school. Now they're suiting up in a locker room with him to play hockey.
The effect this has is certainly heavy; but the benefit is that the 1600+ points Jagr has produced means tons of experience.
His presence on the team will not be a deterrent in this aspect, but a helpful factor to the growth and development of the Flyers' youth. The knowledge of a four-time Art Ross winner is sure to help any player score more goals.
He's Still a Locker Room Leader
Along with the basic mentoring abilities a successful offensive player like Jagr brings the table, Philadelphia Flyers players will benefit from the leadership of a two-time NHL captain.
Jagr knows the game, he knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup.
He brings the right attitude to the team.
He said during training camp, “For myself… If I do bad, I do bad, but I don’t want to disappoint the guys who signed me here.” said Jagr. “That’s why I want to do good. I want to help those guys, help the team. I don’t want to disappoint the guys who believe in me. That’s what I’m nervous about.”
What is he doing to back that up?
According to Ilya Bryzgalov, Jagr was seen working out at midnight in order to keep his skills and conditioning in tune.
He Doesn't Need to Be the Star
For the first time in more than 15 years, Jagr is going to be on a team he is not expected to carry the load of.
Jagr led his team in scoring in every season since 1996-97. The only year he didn't was in 2003-04, when he split time with the Capitals and Rangers. However, his 74 total points that season would have led either team.
With capable scorers such as Giroux, Briere, and van Riemsdyk, Jagr can just relax and play his game.
He doesn't need to steal the show every night in order to fulfill expectations.
He Came Back with a Real Hockey City
Had Jagr come back with a franchise lacking a rich history and dedicated following, it would seem like a dismal end to a legendary career.
Picture Jagr coming out of the tunnel to a 33 percent empty Columbus Blue Jackets arena and helping the franchise to a dismal 0-5 start. Coming back to the NHL in that fashion seems like anything but a renaissance.
Jagr picked Philadelphia, a city whose dedication to hockey is surpassed by none other in the United States. When he performs well he will be appreciated by an intense group of fans, making the comeback well worth it.
He Came Back with a Winning Team
Would there be any pride in coming back to leave as a loser?
Jagr returned with a contending team, having obvious hopes of winning another Stanley Cup before ending his career. At 39, Jagr most likely has less than four years left in his NHL career.
Jagr can go out on top with a team like the Philadelphia Flyers.
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