5 teams that should sign Jaromir Jagr

by
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jaromir Jagr is still unsigned. Yes, he's 45 years old, but he's still a very effective forward who's capable of playing a second-line role.

Jagr's point total dipped from 66 in 2015-16 to 46 a season ago, but that was largely due to his linemates in Florida, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, missing a combined 72 games. In fact, Jagr was still analytically better than the average second-line winger:

(Graph courtesy: ownthepuck.blogspot.ca)

Jagr is still arguably the league's best puck protector. He's 6-foot-3 and as strong as an ox, uses an abnormally long stick, has soft hands, and is obviously one of the smartest players of all time. His ability to protect the puck and generate shots was evidenced by his 55.4 Corsi For percentage last season, second only to Barkov among Panthers skaters.

Sure, Jagr isn't exactly a burner on the ice, but considering he'll only demand a one-year contract with a modest cap hit, he'd be a very valuable asset for the following five teams (lineup projections with Jagr included):

Edmonton Oilers

LW C RW
Maroon McDavid Strome
Lucic Draisaitl Jagr
Caggiula Nugent-Hopkins Puljujarvi
Slepyshev Letestu Kassian

Slotting Leon Draisaitl at center makes the Oilers a much better, deeper, and more balanced team, but in doing so they desperately need another top-six winger.

It'd be tough for Jagr to keep up with Connor McDavid's pace, but his ability to cycle down low would mesh well with the big bodies of Draisaitl and Milan Lucic. His ability to maintain possession could also work well with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who's often a liability when the opposition has control of the puck.

Nashville Predators

LW C RW
Forsberg Johansen Arvidsson
Fiala Bonino Jagr
Hartnell Jarnkrok Smith
Aberg Sissons Watson

The Predators' top line was great last season, but the team's in need of some secondary scoring, especially since James Neal was plucked by Vegas in the expansion draft.

Wouldn't Nashville's die-hard, passionate fan base just adore Jagr?

Montreal Canadiens

LW C RW
Pacioretty Plekanec Jagr
Drouin Galchenyuk Gallagher
Byron Danault Shaw
Lehkonen Mitchell Hemsky

The Canadiens are in win-now mode and need help scoring goals. Jagr would add a nice kick to their offense, and maybe help his fellow countryman Tomas Plekanec rediscover his offensive touch.

St. Louis Blues

LW C RW
Schwartz Stastny Tarasenko
Steen Schenn Jagr
Fabbri Sobotka Bennett
Paajarvi Brodziak Jaskin

Note: Center Patrik Berglund is out until December and therefore wasn't included in this lineup projection.

As you can see, the Blues are deep at left wing, but have very few natural right wingers with offensive ability outside of Vladimir Tarasenko. Jagr would slot in nicely on the club's second line and prove to be a nice bargain for the cap-crunched team.

Columbus Blue Jackets

LW C RW
Panarin Wennberg Jagr
Foligno Dubinsky Atkinson
Milano Jenner Bjorkstrand
Calvert Sedlak Anderson

Columbus' biggest need is down the middle, but considering the scarce center market why not upgrade down the wing to help out?

Cam Atkinson is obviously superior to Jagr at this point, but the veteran could mesh well with Artemi Panarin (right-handed shot), who became accustomed to playing with a left-handed-shooting right winger alongside Patrick Kane in Chicago. Obviously, Jagr is not Kane, but he has the ability to hold the puck and create space for his linemates, theoretically allowing Panarin to set up for his one-timer.

Plus, if Jagr signed with Columbus, he'd only be two teams shy (Hurricanes and Islanders) of suiting up for every club in the Metropolitan Division during his career. What a feat that would be.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)