Fantasy Impact: The Devils trade Jaromir Jagr to the Panthers in exchange for draft picks.
The Panthers get: a living legend. One of the highest scoring forwards in league history with a spotty recent history of production but one capable of getting hot for stretches.
The Devils get: draft picks in exchange for a player who had been growing more and more discontent with his situation.
Fantasy Players Impacted: First and foremost Jagr gets a bump simply by escaping New Jersey. Not that the Panthers are hot shizzle but the Devils have the league’s third worst offense. The Panthers look like superstars by comparison.
Jagr will also get a better opportunity in Florida. Under Peter DeBoer Jagr excelled in New Jersey scoring 67 points last season and 20 in his first 35 this since. Since DeBoer was fired Jagr has just nine points in 22 games.
A big part of that drop under the three-headed coaching monster currently in place in New Jersey came from a drop in ice time from nearly 20 minutes per game under DeBoer to 15 per game, with a significant decline in power play time.
In Florida, Jagr will get a chance to recoup some of those lost minutes, which could push him back to that 0.6-points-per-game rate he’d be scoring at earlier in the season. That’s not much but it’s relevant in a lot of leagues and with the right amount of luck he could go a little higher. 15 points in the Panthers’ final 22 games is not out of the question. I’d bank on 12, however.
For Jagr to come to Florida and earn minutes he’ll have to dump someone out of the Panther top six and that player appears to be Jimmy Hayes the big winger enjoying something of a breakout season skating 15 minutes a night alongside Nick Bjugstad. Hayes is averaging a point every second game. That takes a dive if he is indeed bumped down.
Adding another forward to the mix replaces Sean Bergenheim who was dealt to the Wild earlier this week. Jagr’s addition makes it more difficult for youngsters like Brandon Pirri or Vincent Trocheck to earn time. It also indicates that the Panthers aren’t in pure sell mode. They are rumoured to be shopping Tomas Fleischmann but the acquisition of Jagr points to a willingness by the Panthers to lose a pending UFA “for nothing.” The Bergenheim trade may simply have been a one-off to appease that player’s trade demand.
Jagr’s departure opens up some minutes in New Jersey. Odds are Lou Lamoriello will simply dust another veteran off the scrap heap. Martin Havlat has been a recent healthy scratch and could fill Jagr’s 15 minutes with limited effectiveness.
More optimistically, perhaps we shall see top prospect Reid Boucher (read more on him here.) Boucher went scoreless in a four-game cameo earlier this season and has struggled in the AHL with just 11 goals and 21 points in 50 contests so it wouldn’t seem as though he has earned a call.
Joe Whitney (read more on him here), on the other hand, has 42 points in 49 games for New Jersey’s AHL affiliate and must certainly be champing at the bit for another chance having scored his first career NHL goal during his own four-game cameo earlier this season. Whitney is diminutive and a long shot but New Jersey is in no position not to be giving these sorts a chance.
Players this helps, in order:
Players this hurts, in order:
You can follow me @SteveLaidlaw.
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