By the time his career is done, Jaromir Jagr could be the second highest scoring player in the NHL.
Jagr, who just finished playing at the World Championship in what he says will be his final event for the Czech Republic national team, may have turned 43 only a few months back, but he says he intends on sticking around in the NHL for at least a couple of years.
According to Denik Sport’s Zdenek Janda, Jagr said after the World Championship, in which the Czechs finished fourth, that he wants to suit up for two more seasons in the NHL. With a contract already settled for next season with the Florida Panthers, it doesn’t look far-fetched that Jagr’s NHL career could end around the time of his 45th birthday.
With the way Jagr has played over the past few seasons, including an awe-inspiring 24-goal, 63-point season in 2013-14, it’s not impossible to believe that he could finish his career as the NHL’s second all-time leader in points. Currently fourth all-time in scoring with 1,802 points and sitting behind Gordie Howe (1,850) and Mark Messier (1,887) on the all-time list, it would take two decent years for Jagr to vault himself to the spot behind the all-time leader, Wayne Gretzky (2,857).
Even if Jagr’s production is to slow, two seasons could be enough for him to vault over both Howe and Messier. Last season, on a struggling New Jersey Devils squad he registered 11 goals and 29 points in 57 games before a trade sent him to Florida. With the Cats, Jagr was nearly a point-per-game player, scoring six times and collecting 18 points in 20 games.
It would seem somewhat foolish to expect a 43-year-old to score anywhere more than 50 points in a season, but Jagr’s career has shown us over the past few seasons that it’s crazy to rule out his ability. Since returning to the NHL in 2011-12, he has scored at nearly a .75 points-per-game rate and looked rejuvenated with the Panthers in the latter half of last season.
Even more impressive is that at his age, Jagr’s been able to play steady minutes in a top-six role. In no season since returning to the NHL has he averaged less than 16:20 of ice time per game and he played more than 19 minutes per outing for the Devils last season. If he can remain productive next season with the Panthers, there’s little doubt the Czech legend will land another deal for what could be his final season in 2016-17.
Before his return to the NHL following a three-year stint with Avangard Omsk of the KHL, Jagr was ninth all-time in scoring with 1,599 points. Since his return, he has registered 203 points and surpassed Joe Sakic, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Marcel Dionne and Ron Francis.