July 14 2011 09:38AM
When the Philadelphia Flyers signed Jaromir Jagr, my initial reaction was that it was just another crazy transaction from Paul Holmgren, who has been the summer's most talked-about General Manager.
As crazy as giving a one-year, $3.3M deal to a 39-year old forward who has not played an NHL game since 2008 sounds, Jagr has quietly put up some terrific numbers for Omsk in the KHL over the last three seasons.
I generally try to stay away from the "saw him good" territory, but I had the chance to see the Czech Republic play against Slovakia in the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament. Jagr had a goal (I forget the circumstance, unfortunately) but mainly he was the type of player that, when he touched the puck, there was a buzz in the building, as if every fan knew they were potentially about to watch something special.
That's my only visual on Jagr over the past few years, but a friend of mine, and Russian hockey journalist Andrey Osadchenko, told me that Jagr "was deservedly regarded as one of the best forwards in the league" although "it needs to be said that European-sized surfaced made it probably easier for Jagr to look good. He still positions himself well, hard to get knocked off the puck and sees the ice terrifically. But when the game picks up a pace, Jagr doesn't really tag along."
"Having said that, I've got to add that it wouldn't come to me as a big surprise if he notched up 25 goals and 70 points this season."
The former Penguin and world-famous mullet put up a nice little KHL career. In three seasons, his game, goal and point total were as follows:
|KHL GP||KHL G||KHL Pts|
If you stretch that over an 82 game season and apply the old Russian Super League projection offered at Gabriel Desjardins' site (currently, no KHL projection exists), Jagr's adjusted point totals per an 82 game season are as follows:
|NHL G/82||NHL Pts/82|
I looked up all the players who had at least 25 NHL goals at 36, 37 and 38. They are:
All four all Hall of Famers, and Jagr is also expected to be. Now, though I am using adjusted numbers for Jagr, Hockey Reference doesn't allow me to search all the players who had an adjusted total of 25 goals in their 36th, 37th and 38th years. What is important is that other than Hull, who dipped from 37 to 25 goals the next season, none of the three players experienced much of a year-to-year dip. In fact, Gordie Howe scored 14 more goals the next year in just five more games.
In fact, there are just as many 25 goal scorers at 39 as there are at 38. They're all fantastic names, too. Jean Beliveau, Joe Nieuwendyk, Teemu Selanne, legendary goal scorers all, who were talented and durable enough to sustain moderate-to-high production throughout their careers. This is part of the mould that Jaromir Jagr belongs to. He's at 646 career goals, and could have potentially cracked 700 had he stayed in the NHL.
It's an odd way to put a forward corps together, and I've certainly been critical of certain moves made by Paul Holmgren this offseason, but Jaromir Jagr is a value signing, near risk-free at just one year for a player who is likely to crack the 20-goal barrier for the 18th time in his NHL career.