Okay, this is getting to be a bit much.
Jaromir Jagr is still unsigned. The 45-year-old Czech winger is still an unrestricted free agent, for some reason.
Sure, the summer has been tinged by some unlikely occurrences thus far. Andrei Markov is no longer a Hab. The Dallas Stars are taking a chance on Alexander Radulov. Evgeni Malkin hopes Alex Ovechkin will win a Stanley Cup someday.
But if you told me that Jagr would still be among the NHL’s great unsigned as of the end of July, I’d have called you nuts.
Yet here we are.
Now, there are some “good” reasons for not signing Jags. And the NHL hasn’t exactly had much room for older players as of late, with just 14 of the 30 skaters over the age of 36 as of February 1 set to return to the ice in the 2017-2018 season.
But come on.
The Ageless Wonder isn’t exactly your prototypical elder statesman. He scored 46 points in 2016-2017, with just 33 other wingers reaching similar point plateaus. 32 of them are signed.
According to reports, Jagr was told that he was going to be re-signed by the Florida Panthers. The offer was to be tabled after the expansion draft. As we know now, the offer never came and the forward is back in Kladno waiting it out. He’s looking to participate in the Olympics, by the way.
It may be that Bob Boughner, the new bench boss in Florida, was at least a factor in the deal to Jagr being yanked from the proverbial carpet. Boughner is only 46, a year older than Jagr, and his insistence on a new and younger regime may have been the impetus for a reversal of fortune.
There’s a big case to be made for signing the winger and it has been made on this blog a number of times. Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins first overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Jagr went on to skate in 1,711 career regular season games. He has 1,914 points, including 765 goals. He’s skated for the Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, and Panthers.
With any luck, he’ll add another team to that list.
“I don’t think I am so bad that I couldn’t play there,” said Jagr about skating in the NHL at 45.
And he’s right.