We finally have an answer to the question of where Jaromir Jagr will sign, as he is destined to head to the Saddledome and suit up for the Calgary Flames. There were apparently other teams involved in his decision-making – with St. Louis having been rebuffed – but he settled on Calgary in what appears to be one of the steal signings of the off-season:
Jagr is done to CAL. $1M+$1M in bonuses. I think it might not be announced until he gets to the city, but there is a commitment.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 2, 2017
Yes, he’s 45 years old, but he’s also missed just eight games over the last four seasons, is 33rd among forward scoring over the last five seasons, and then there’s also this:
LRT: no one else in the NHL would sign a player who tied Brad Marchand in pts/60 at 5v5 the last two years for $1M? https://t.co/N6DeTHE0Pv
— Michael Clifford (@SlimCliffy) October 2, 2017
At some point, yes, Jagr has to fall off. Even he cannot keep evading Father Time. He hasn’t shown a significant decline over the last few seasons, however, and considering the cost to sign him, this seems to be a steal for the Flames.
This gives immediate depth to a position of need for the Flames. I do like Micheal Ferland, but I’m not sure if he’s suited to play an entire year on the Sean Monahan line. Michael Frolik isn’t getting broken up from the 3M line (at least not yet), and Troy Brouwer isn’t a top-six winger. In that sense, Calgary helped shore up a potential weakness, and did so on the cheap.
The big question, of course, is where Jagr will slot in the lineup. It seems a foregone conclusion that he’d join the top power-play unit, but whether he joins the Monahan line at five-on-five just yet is up in the air. That makes sense, as it’s been a couple years they’ve been rotating players in and out of that top right-wing spot since the departure of Jiri Hudler. Maybe the coaching staff wants him to help carry the third line to provide more depth scoring? We’ll have to wait and see what they decide to do.
Who this hurts
Every right winger in the organization not named Frolik.
At the risk of sounding too broad, if Jagr can perform similarly to last season, he’s the best offensive right winger this team has. It could push Ferland off the top line, Brouwer to the fourth line, and whatever fourth liner the team had in mind for the position off the roster. If I had to guess without confirmed line combinations, Jagr going to the third line makes sense; it would lengthen the lineup, giving the team three scoring lines.
This probably hurts Brouwer the most. Assuming Jagr moves to the top PP unit, it would move Brouwer to the second unit, and keep cutting into his production. Keep in mind that last year, even in a season where he played on the first and third lines and got top PP time, Brouwer still managed just 25 points in 74 games. It’s doubtful it gets much better this year, so outside of leagues that count hits, he has no relevance in the majority of fantasy leagues anymore.
Eventually, this should hurt Ferland as well. Even if Jagr starts on the third line, I imagine he’ll move up with Monahan and Gaudreau eventually. It just seems inevitable. While Ferland still has value in deep leagues for now, keep an eye on line combinations as the season progresses.
Who this helps
In the short-term, this should help Sam Bennett. If Jagr skates on his line, it gives him a talented winger to play with, and should help him rebound from a down 2016-17. Again, this is all conjecture until we get line combinations, but if Bennett can get close to the 40-point plateau with Jagr’s help, he’ll have a lot of value in multi-category leagues that include penalty minutes and hits.
This will also help everyone on the top power-play unit. Out of 62 forward units that played at least 100 minutes together with the man advantage last year, the trio of Gaudreau-Monahan-Brouwer was 61st in expected goals scored per minute. The dynamic duo with Kris Versteeg instead of Brouwer was in the bottom 20 units. In that sense, Jagr should only help them be more productive, so even if he doesn’t skate with Monahan and Gaudreau at five-on-five, he can still help them be more productive this year.
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