Friday, 27 February 2015

Del Boca Vista Acquires Jagr

After Jaromir Jagr spoke to the media about not getting the playing time he wants and possibly shutting it down with the Devils due to miss the playoffs, it was inevitable that GM Lou Lamoriello would have to make a move. Jagr, who has never been afraid to speak his mind, will now get to do so in the retirement community of Del Boca Vista Sunrise, Florida where he'll try to help the Florid Panthers overtake the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But the questions should be whether or not this is a good fit, and how long will Jagr be staying in southern Florida.

Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing at the thought of Jagr moving in beside the Seinfelds and the Klompuses at Del Boca Vista. There are a pile of Seinfeld storylines that could be built around an eastern European moving into the complex and running as Phase II President - Jack Klompus worries about Communism, the Seinfelds befriend Jagr and Klompus accuses Morty of being a Communist, the Mandelbaums adopting Jagr - it's literally a smorgasbord of hilarious Seinfeld episodes! However, we're not here to write a sitcom. There are playoff spots at stake, and the Panthers could use some of that home-date playoff revenue!

The first thing that we need to consider is Jagr's age and, therefore, his experience. Jagr has been in all sorts of situations, including playoff races and, ultimately, playoff series. There are ten players on the Panthers' roster who weren't even born when Jagr made his NHL debut, so it goes to show that having a guy who has been there before can be useful to the youthful Panthers.

Secondly, Jagr is a guy who doesn't get high or low when the team hits a streak. Sometimes with younger players, you can see them sag when things aren't going right. In a playoff race, the last thing you want to see from younger players is their confidence evaporate. Jagr has been through these ups and downs in his career, and he's certainly weathered them well in amassing a ridiculous number of points. If he can pass on that ice-in-his-veins mentality to some of the younger Panthers, this team will be set for the future.

Third, no one has ever questioned Jagr's dedication to the game, his preparation, and his practice methods. There is a reason why Jagr is one of the all-time best to lace up the skates, and a lot of it has to do with the effort he puts in outside of games. He was routinely seen working on aspects of his game after practice, after games, and any other time he was at the rink so that he keeps his skills at tip-top shape. If you start hearing about some of the Panthers at midnight work on stick-handling after a game in their flip flops and shorts, you know he's leading this locker room.

Where the Panthers need to be wary is whether or not they can keep Jagr around for a few months. They gave up a 2015 second-round pick for Jagr in what is turning out to be a very deep draft class. They also acquired a conditional third-round pick in 2016 that comes with a big asterisk. The condition on third-round selection is that the Devils have the choice of which pick they use: Florida's original pick or the one they received from the Minnesota Wild in the Sean Bergenheim trade.

If they lose Jagr to free agency this summer, that's an expensive rental for a team that is building well through youth and draft picks. Florida has used their picks wisely in adding guys like Huberdeau, Ekblad, Bjugstad, and Barkov, so giving away a second-round pick this year could be costly if Jagr walks. Again, there are good players to be had into the second-round of the NHL Entry Draft this season, and the Panthers will miss out on adding another solid player if Jagr walks.

They haven't announced what line Jagr will be on yet, but expect him to start imparting NHL wisdom on the kids as soon as #68 enters the locker room. The two-time Stanley Cup champion is a good fit for the playoff run in my opinion, but the Panthers need to sit down with him and sign him for at least another year to make this trade worth it.

Otherwise, this "timeshare" isn't really worth the cost.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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