Jagr to the Devils: Why it’s a Good Move…
The Devils announced today that they have signed
Wolverine Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract. A lot of people around the league and even some Devils fans have questioned the move given his style of play and the fact that he gave the Devils fits over his career. But his style of play is exactly why this signing makes sense.
Jagr has always been a horse on the ice. A large human who uses his body to fend off defensemen and controls the boards better than most players in the league today. He’s a possession player and that is the type of player that thrives in Pete DeBoer’s system. Look at Dainius Zubrus. Thinking that this signing will replace Kovalchuk’s production is silly. Jagr is 41 years old and not the player he was before he left the NHL originally 5 years ago to head to the KHL. But the Devils did not sign him to be the player he was, they signed him for the player he is. A strong, 1st/2nd line complimentary player who will anchor the first power play unit. He will hopefully garner 65-70 points. Anything higher than that are expectations that will be unfair to a player at his age.
The biggest issue going into this offseason was if they Devils could add to an offense that had a lot of trouble scoring last year. Those matters were thought to have been rectified before Ilya Kovalchuk bolted for the KHL. The Devils are incredibly deep in top 9 of their lineup now with the signing of Jagr that while one player may not score a point per game, the scoring could be spread out that this team could easily have 4-5 20 goal scorers.
This is also a transition season for the franchise as they try and infuse youth into the roster. Goaltending and defense is, seemingly, set for the next 10 years with Schneider in net and Larsson, Gelinas, Merril, etc. on the blue line. Up front is where the Devils are thin. This signing paired with the 2 year contract that Michael Ryder received will allow the franchise to develop players like Stefan Matteau and Reid Boucher how they want and not rush them to the NHL and risk stunting their growth, as seen with the Islanders and Josh Bailey.
This was a necessary move for the Devils to remain competitive in a tough Metropolitan Division (that’s still rough to process…Metorpolitan…oy).
Be sure to give your own opinions below.