The New Jersey Devils formally announced the signing of Jaromir Jagr to a one year deal Tuesday afternoon.
After much speculation was made this past weekend on Jagr signing with the Devils, nothing was official until the Devils made their announcement. The Czech media (iSport.cz) first reported the potential signing on Friday stating Jagr said he was “going to sign it” with the New Jersey Devils.
“There was only one thing on my mind this year,” Jagr said during today’s conference call. “I wanted to stay in the NHL.”
Jagr began his talks with Devils’ President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello long before Ilya Kovalchuk’s retirement announcement. “After he retired,” Jagr said. “I think there was even more opportunity for me to play on the Devils roster.”
He commented that he had told his agent that he wanted to stay in the Eastern Conference because there would be less travel. In the previous season, he had signed with the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference. This was the first time he had ever signed in the West. When he signed, the issue of travel was brought up. He commented that the travel would not be an issue since the KHL’s travel schedule was more extensive than the Western Conference, so he was used to it. Now, he wants less travel.
Early reports state Jagr will make $2M as a base salary. He’ll earn an additional $2M bonus for games played. Chris Johnston (Rogers Sportsnet) reports that Jagr will make $250,000 for every 5 games he plays past the first 10 games on up to 45 games. After completing 45 games, he will earn a total of $4M.
Is he worth $4 million? Towards the end of the 2013 playoffs, many spoke of how Jagr looked spent and unable to continue at a high caliber. He was ‘showing his age.’ He commented today that last season, he had played the most games he’s ever played in his career. He played a total of 105 games between Europe (HC Kladno) and the NHL (Dallas/Boston).
As for his production during the shortened 2013 season, compared to the two most recent Devil departures, Jagr scored more points (35) than Kovalchuk (31) and David Clarkson (24). Although his new Czech teammate, Patrik Elias tallied a total of 36 points in 48 games.
Jagr will wear his signature “68″ for the New Jersey Devils this coming season. For Jagr, the number “68″ represents the year of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, as well as the year his grandfather died in prison after being jailed by Soviet forces.
He will remain the elder stateman on the team at the age of 41, being only two and a half months older than Martin Brodeur. Both are the last two players from the 1990 NHL Entry Draft to still be playing. Jagr was picked 5th overall that year by the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Brodeur went 20th overall by the New Jersey Devils. Both players continue to set and break new records.
Jagr is currently 19 goals away from 700 career NHL goals, a feat that he will no doubt surpass this upcoming season and something for everyone to look forward to when hockey returns.
The Devils have had a very crazy off-season so far this summer. From the Cory Schneider trade at the draft to the Kovalchuk retirement, the Devils and their fans have been through a lot of highs and lows this summer. They now await news on RFA Adam Henrique and any other possible acquisitions (like Damien Brunner).
The Devils are not done yet. You’ve got to wonder what Lou’s next move will be. TO BE CONTINUED…