At this point, it’s going to take an army to keep Jaromir Jagr away from professional hockey.
The Florida Panthers announced Sunday that they have come to terms with the 43-year-old legend on a one-year contract, which will keep Jagr in the Sunshine State for at least one more season. Jagr, who was acquired by Florida from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 26, has suited up in 20 games since joining the Panthers and notched six goals and 18 points.
Panthers GM Dale Tallon made no secret about his interest in retaining the services of the veteran winger. In a meeting with media, Tallon said Jagr’s new deal is similar to his previous contract which paid him $3.5 million and had several bonuses available.
“Once he got here and he saw the talent, he’s really on board and he’s really excited,” Tallon told media after announcing the deal.
In Florida, Jagr spent most of his time on a line with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Though Jagr’s torrid scoring pace wasn’t enough to get the Panthers into the post-season, it made it clear that he still has the ability to be a tremendous offensive threat.
“A lot of people thought I was done,” Jagr said. “But those young guys, they gave me extra energy, extra life, and I’m glad I can continue to play.”
The one-year deal is the fifth such contract Jagr has signed since his return to the NHL in 2011.
On April 9, Jagr moved into sole possession of fourth all-time in career scoring, passing Ron Francis. Saturday night, Jagr notched his 1,801st and 1,802nd career points with a goal and an assist against the Devils in the Panthers’ final game of the season.
Though it’s unlikely he’ll surpass both Gordie Howe (1,850) and Mark Messier (1,887) on the all-time points list next season, there’s no telling how many more years Jagr will play. By the time his career is through, he’ll likely one of the top three scorers in league history.