The Florida Panthers have bolstered their playoff chances by acquiring Jaromir Jagr in a trade with the New Jersey Devils. In exchange for Jagr, the Devils acquired Florida’s second round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and a third round pick in 2016.
“Hopefully [he’ll bring] some offence, stability and leadership,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “It’s a good opportunity for him to mentor some of our young guys and show them how hard they have to work to get to his level. It brings stability to our young team and gives us an opportunity in the next 20 games to make a good run to make the playoffs.”
Florida finds themselves two points behind the struggling Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They have made the playoffs only once since 2000.
It’s been no secret that Jagr has wanted a trade. He was struggling with ice time on the Devils, especially after the coaching change, and it surprised no one to learn that he wasn’t happy.
Now, he should have an opportunity to play for the Panthers and munch some quality minutes. He’ll do so with a team that didn’t have to give up a roster player to acquire Jagr and a team that’ll be happy to have him.
Jagr is the sort of player who is still looking for ways to get better. At the age of 43, there are always questions about whether or not the current season will be his last. But at this point, it’s just about getting ice time and getting a chance to take a run at something special. The Panthers will fit that bill, even if nobody expects them to get very deep into the post-season.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils continue to cling to the delusion that they’re a playoff team.
“Timing is something that sometimes that you don’t and can’t control,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “[The trade] gave us an opportunity to acquire two picks that we feel can help us in the future. By no means are we feeling that we’re out of the race. When transactions like this take place, it gives opportunities for people to come forward.”
Sure. Whatever you say.