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Numbers Game: Stars sign Jaromir Jagr

Scott Cullen
7/3/2012 11:59:31 PM
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The Dallas Stars signed their second 40-year-old free agent scoring forward, this time one of the game's all-time greats.

Numbers Game looks at the Stars signing Jaromir Jagr.

The Stars Get: RW Jaromir Jagr.

Jagr, 40, returned to the NHL last season after a three-year hiatus in the KHL and while he was productive enough for the Philadelphia Flyers, finishing with 54 points in 73 games, he faded late in the season.

Through the end of December, Jagr put up 12 goals and 31 points in 32 games, leaving him to score seven goals and 23 points in his next 41 games.

Jagr, who battled nagging groin injuries throughout the season, had his ice time decreased, after he played 18:37 per game in December, to 14:56 per game in January before settling between 16 and 16:30 the rest of the way. Was his ice time reduced because of the groin injuries, fatigue or lack of production? Or did production dwindle because Jagr checked out, unhappy when his ice time was diminished?

In Philadelphia Jagr was at least utilized in the right role, with the highest percentage of offensive zone starts among Flyers that played at least 50 games (per www.behindthenet.ca).

After a relatively productive season alongside Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux on the Flyers' top line, Jagr is set for a similar role in Dallas, playing alongside Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn on the Stars' number one line.

By signing Jagr to a one year, $4.55-million contract, the Stars invest in the short-term, but maintain flexibility for the future. It is a sizeable one-year deal, but hardly outrageous for a first-line winger and it's just a one-year deal. If Jagr performs this year, great, he'll be a 41-year-old free agent next summer. If age catches up to him and his production isn't enough to justify further investment, then the Stars aren't hindered long-term by the contract.

Dallas struggled to fill out their top two lines with enough skilled forwards last season, but that won't be a problem now, as they have added Jagr, Derek Roy and Ray Whitney (losing Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott) to upgrade their talent level up front. The way the lines currently shake out, team captain Brenden Morrow could fall outside the Stars' top six.

Philadelphia is better equipped than most teams to handle the loss of a top scoring forward. Jakub Voracek may be the right winger most likely to see an increased role now that Jagr is gone.

Any enthusiasm about the Stars' acquisitions gets tempered somewhat because Whitney and Jagr are both 40-years-old, but if they can remain productive, the Stars ought to be much more dangerous offensively in 2012-2013.

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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