The image to the left might be old, but it seems that everything in the NHL is new again for this upcoming year. With reports out of Pittsburgh today that the Penguins have offered Jaromir Jagr a one-year deal seems very mid-1990s once again. Some people think that Jagr is making a mistake in coming back to the NHL after spending the last few years in the KHL plying his trade, but I believe that this move by the Penguins and Jagr could turn out to be far more fruitful than the Alexei Kovalev experiment last year. Jagr's performance at the World Hockey Championships this past spring should more than enough proof that the 39 year-old winger still has great offensive vision.
There's no doubt that Jagr won't be the fleet-of-foot player he once was as a member of the Penguins. Jagr will undoubtedly be on one of the top two lines in Pittsburgh, and I personally believe that pairing him with Evgeni Malkin would push Malkin's game into a whole new level. For years, the chatter was to get Crosby a winger; could you imagine a line of Malkin-Staal-Jagr coming at you as the second line behind Kunitz-Crosby-Neal?
Jagr sits at 1599 career points, and all of his major accolades came while he was a part of the Penguins. He won the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Trophy, and two Stanley Cups while with the Penguins before 1999 before asking to be traded in 2001. While that move caused a number of Penguins fans - me included - to turn on Jagr, I know that I have grown out of that phase and would welcome the high-scoring winger back to the team, even as his best-by date approaches rapidly.
Jagr is reportedly going to make his decision on the one-year offer from the Penguins on Wednesday, so we should know if the former NHL legend is ready to step back into the limelight in a city that loved him for so long and where he still has a house. Pittsburgh will certainly have a new angle to their offensive game next season if Jagr is planning on joining the team, and the young players will get to learn from one of hockey's greatest players in the same way that Jagr learned from Mario Lemieux. As long as the dollar value is right, I see this as a win-win for both the Penguins and Jagr.
It's pretty funny to read and consider, but check out this list of stuff that has happened over the last few months:
- The Los Angeles Kings have returned to their black-and-silver colour scheme.
- Atlanta, Georgia does not have an NHL team.
- The Winnipeg Jets are a part of the NHL.
- The Florida Panthers will be wearing red jerseys.
- Jaromir Jagr is mulling over a contract offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the Flyers and Rangers cutting loose some big names over the last few weeks, the Penguins could be setting themselves up for the top spot in the Atlantic Division simply by bringing back a fan favorite. If he has himself a good year, Jagr could very well challenge for one of the NHL awards like he did back in 1995.
The more things change, the more the stay same. For the NHL, it seems like that's business as usual in this off-season.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!