In return, New Jersey will receive Florida's second-round draft pick in 2015 and the option of either Florida or Minnesota’s third-round selection (the latter of which the Panthers also own) in the 2016 draft.
Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello told The Record's Tom Gulitti that the trade will create an opportunity for Martin Havlat, Michael Ryder or a young player to get playing time.
"By no means are we feeling we are out of a race," he said. New Jersey currently sits eight points behind Boston for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot. Florida trails Boston by just two points, and will hope the veteran winger can bolster its own playoff chances.
Jagr, 43, signed with the Devils in July 2013, scoring 67 points last season. In 57 games, he has 11 goals and 18 assists with a -10 plus/minus mark.
On Wednesday, Jagr said he felt his lack of playing time was "going to get worse" if he was not traded before Monday's NHL deadline. He had played less than 13 minutes in each of the last two games.
"That's all I really worry about," he said Wednesday. "If I stay here and we're not going to have a chance to make the playoffs, I don't think I'm going to play at all. And I still like to play."
The Panthers will be Jagr's eighth career team. He was drafted fifth in the 1990 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and spent the first 11 years of his career there. The Czech star is a five-time Art Ross trophy-winner and 12-time All-Star. Earlier this season, he became the oldest NHL player ever to score a hat trick.
The Devils are currently 25-27-9 and in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Panthers are 26-21-13 and in fifth in the Atlantic Division.
- Molly Geary