Five ‘fun’ destinations for 45-year-old UFA Jaromir Jagr

45-year old Jaromir Jagr contemplates his future in the game of hockey, says he still loves the game, and thinks he can get better every day.

Most of the biggest free agents are off the market, but any team in need of a legendary veteran presence and the most famous mullet in the world is still in luck.

We know for sure that 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr will not be returning to the Florida Panthers. Jagr himself has tweeted about the lack of interest from GMs around the league.

NHL fans, of course, are hoping someone steps up to sign the second-highest point-getter in NHL history. While the league as a whole gets faster and team building emphasizes speed more and more each season, Jagr is certainly the antithesis to that focus. But what he lacks in footspeed, he makes up for in smarts and positioning.

Watch Jagr live and you’ll see a player who zigs, zags and uses his body to create space. He’s not quick, but he knows where to be and where his linemates will be to get them the puck. He’s not going to win any Art Ross Trophies, but in Florida the numbers indicate he was a hugely positive possession contributor.

Jagr made $3.5 million and $4 million against the cap before bonuses in his last two contracts with Florida. He may be willing to settle for a little less, but it’ll still likely cost a couple million to sign him. Here, we look at a few destinations where it would be awfully fun and interesting for Jagr to sign.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

This is the return everyone wants to see, right? The Penguins currently have a little more than $11 million in cap space with RFAs Conor Sheary and Brian Dumoulin to sign so it’s conceivable they could afford Jagr on a one-year deal.

Jagr would be another productive veteran weapon who could slot on the wing of any line. On a team with this kind of star power, Jagr may be able to come back up into the 50-point range and maybe even approach 60 points for the third time in five seasons. The problem is that this team is flush with wingers, so they don’t really need Jagr — if they’re going to add, it’s more likely to be on defence.

But how cool would it be to see the mullet return to where it all began? He left Pittsburgh 16 years ago as a 29-year-old.

CALGARY FLAMES

Could Jagr be a fit on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan? He’s certainly used to playing with youngsters.

The Flames hope to get more from Sam Bennett next season and took a flyer on Curtis Lazar at the trade deadline with the hopes he can find some offence again. But for a team that’s all-in on chasing the Cup after acquiring Mike Smith and solidifying the defence with Travis Hamonic, they could maybe use someone a little more predictable. Enter Jagr. It’d be a surprise if he signs with the Flames, but if the team can get him cheap enough, they could potentially offer Jagr good minutes with top players and a chance to win that he didn’t have in Florida this past season.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

This is unlikely for a couple reasons.

1. The Capitals have just $5.5 million in cap space with backup Philipp Grubauer still to sign and still another depth forward (on top of a potential Jagr) to add, meaning he’d probably get the smallest pay day here.

2. Jagr’s first go with Washington from 2001-04 was rocky, after the team traded for the defending Art Ross winner and signed him to a seven-year, $77-million deal. The expectations were set extremely high and Jagr didn’t live up to them despite leading the team in scoring in both of his two full seasons and averaging better than a point per game.

Still, it would be cool to see Jagr return and perhaps get some of these fans back on his side late in his career. If he helped the Caps finally get past the Pens in the playoffs, he’d be a fan-favourite instantly.

His contract may call for an apology from Alex Ovechkin, though.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Remember, this list is about the most “fun” destinations, and Jagr in Sin City would surely be that.

Vegas is all about the future and doesn’t look competitive in the West at all right now, but Jagr would be a big, marketable name to draw attention to the team and bring a little offence, which will be lacking. And assuming they could get him without a no-trade clause, or at least a limited one, the Golden Knights could move him at the trade deadline for a pick.

Jagr playing his golden years for the Golden Knights. Perfect.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

OK, so Jagr wouldn’t get a chance to win here either, but after admitting to being in a rebuild and still signing the likes of Michael Del Zotto and Sam Gagner this summer, the Canucks appear set on keeping their youth on the farm and doing their darnedest to stay out of the basement.

There would be some interesting potential lines for Jagr to join in this scenario. He could saddle up with the Sedins to form an extremely slow, cycling, old-man line, or he could play alongside Bo Horvat and Loui Eriksson on a second line. Heck, put him on the third line and have Jagr/Gagner that far down the lineup and for use on the power play.

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