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Numbers Game: Jagr back in the NHL, signs with Flyers

Scott Cullen
7/1/2011 2:34:30 PM
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With a thin crop of free agents, a 39-year-old returning to the league counts as big news, especially when that 39-year-old is a 10-time 90-point scorer.

Numbers Game looks at Jaromir Jagr signing in Philadelphia.

The Flyers Get: RW Jaromir Jagr.

Jagr has spent the last three seasons with Avangard Omsk in the KHL, scoring 146 points in 155 games, and he showed, with nine points in nine games at the 2011 World Championships that he can still play at a high level.

While speed has never been Jagr's forte, he's clearly lost a step from what he could do at his peak, and it's not reasonable to be expect him to carry a team offensively anymore.

But, in Philadelphia, Jagr won't have to carry the offence. He should fit on the right wing on one of the top two lines and if Jagr puts up 65 points -- a total he surpassed every year after his NHL rookie season in 1990-1991 -- he could be a valuable addition to the Flyers' lineup.

Perhaps more importantly, Jagr will be an important example for newly-acquired Jakub Voracek, a left-shooting right winger who is filling into a large frame (6-foot-2, 214 pounds) not unlike Jagr, who now carries about 240 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame.

One of the challenges for the Flyers will be finding the right mix of linemates for Jagr, who likes to have the puck on his stick to create offensively, but when the puck is in the offensive zone, he should be reasonably effective on the cycle and when setting up on the half boards on the power play.

That's not to suggest that there isn't downside. Jagr's conditioning may not be to NHL standards and he has a flighty reputation, so if he's not committed to performing on a nightly basis, it could cause further trouble in a Flyers dressing room that reportedly had its share of interpersonal issues in recent years.

At the same time, a prideful athlete like Jagr is used to putting up offensive numbers and if he's put in the position to score, Jagr is likely to find a way to put up points and maybe that alone will provide value for Philadelphia.

While the $3.3-million salary seems lofty for Jagr, there is value in having a short-term deal. The Flyers surely couldn't sign a top-six free agent NHL forward to just a one-year deal, but Jagr's age and situation (coming back from the KHL) means limited exposure for the Flyers. If it doesn't work out, the commitment is only for one season.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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