Every year free agency is usually marred with terrible, ill-conceived contracts. However, this year, one of the NHL’s most popular and beloved players is without a new team and is still looking to play in the league. Jaromir Jagr may be over 45 years old now but he can still play at a high level. Any NHL team would be lucky to have him as he’s one of the remaining unrestricted free agents who can still provide a ton of value.
Last Season’s Stats: 16 goals, 30 assists, 33 even-strength points, 181 shots, 8.8%, 17:00 ATOI
Even though Jagr had a relatively sub-par offensive year, he still managed to put up a respectable 16 goals and 30 assists throughout the season. His 46 points last year were good enough to place him just outside the top-100 among all forwards and put him ahead of other forwards such as Daniel Sedin and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Jonathan Huberdeau and Alexsander Barkov’s injuries throughout the year didn’t help, as Barkov only played in 61 games and Huberdeau didn’t get on the ice until February. It also didn’t help that Jagr had his lowest shooting percentage of his career last season at 8.8%, when he’s a career 13.6% shooter. It’s possible that as he gets older his shooting percentage will stay lower but there’s just as good a chance Jagr isn’t as unlucky next year and puts in a few more goals. He still has the skill level to do it and can be a good fit in any team’s top-six, still producing offense at a good rate.
Jagr’s advanced stats were also great, being some of the best on the Panthers team last year. At 5v5, Jagr’s 54.9 CF% was second highest on the team (only behind Alexander Barkov) while his 7.4 CF% RelTM was best out of all Florida skaters. His all-situations CF% was also tops on the team and was tied for the seventh-highest in the league out of all players who skated in at least 10 games.
But besides his good stats, what makes Jagr one of the most attractive free agent options out there is his (most likely) reasonable contract. While we don’t know what Jagr will ultimately sign for, it’s unlikely that it will be as expensive as some of the other contracts handed out during free agency. It probably won’t be much higher than his previous salary of $4 million that he made with the Panthers and Matt Cane (with his salary projections) has Jagr making around $3.5 million on his next contract. At this amount, Jagr will provide great value to a team in need of a quality, relatively inexpensive forward. Patrick Marleau scored the exact same amount of points as Jagr last year and just got $6 million per year from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There will always be questionable contracts handed out during free agency but Jagr seems like one of the best bets out there. For a team in need of a top-six forward with not a lot of cap space left, Jagr could be the perfect option so sign him while you can.