Monday, Jan. 29 marked the end of an era in the NHL.
After Jaromir Jagr officially cleared waivers and was subsequently loaned to the Kladno Knights in the Czech Republic, the illustrious NHL career of the 45-year-old appeared to come to an unceremonious end after 24 seasons.
The all-time great and future Hall of Famer will now play for a team he owns, which is expected to have sold-out crowds the rest of the season as fans clamour to see the return of their native son.
But while the local fans in the Czech Republic get excited for Jagr, NHL fans are sad to see him go, but celebrate the incredible career he had in North America — while also wondering what more he would have achieved had he not left for a few seasons, or had to deal with four work stoppages in his career.
Here, then, is a by-the-numbers look at Jagr’s career:
1,921: Career NHL points
Last season Jagr surpassed Mark Messier for second on the NHL’s all-time points list by getting an assist on an Aleksander Barkov goal. For all the beautiful goals and points Jagr recorded over the years, the assist that pushed him past Messier was anything but pretty as the puck deflected off his butt in front of the net and onto Barkov’s stick. He finished the season with 46 points in 82 games and added another seven in 22 with the Flames this season.
Jagr was no challenger to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time points record (2,857), but he was closing in on becoming the first player to ever record as many points as Gretzky has assists (1,963). In the end, though, it looks like he’ll finish 42 points short.
1,733: NHL games played
Jagr was a challenger to Gordie Howe’s NHL games-played record (1,767) and is just 34 short of tying that mark. It’s worth considering how many points Jagr would have gotten or games he would have played had it not been for work stoppages and his own departure to the KHL for three seasons, but remember, Howe also played six seasons near the end of his career in the WHA and none of those games count in his total.
Jagr’s first NHL game was on Oct. 5, 1990 with the Penguins, a 7-4 road win against Washington. And, if this is indeed the end, his last NHL game will be marked as Dec. 31, 2017, a 4-3 OT win against Chicago. He did not record a point in either.
766: All-time NHL goals
A three-time 50-goal scorer, Jagr passed Brett Hull for third on the all-time goals list in February of 2016, but will finish 35 short of Howe for second. Throughout his career, Jagr was more of a playmaker and never finished a season with more goals than assists. His career 0.442 goals per game mark is more in line with the rate at which Darryl Sittler or Yvan Cournoyer scored, so he benefitted from playing nearly 700 more games than both of those players.
There are plenty of memorable goals from his career, but this one has probably been used on more highlight packs than any other.
283: Points scored after turning 40
Howe still holds the distinction of the oldest player to ever play in the NHL at 52, but because most of his over-40 seasons were spent in the WHA, Jagr holds the record for most points scored after that birthday benchmark. Jagr had two seasons in which he scored more than 20 goals and 65 points after turning 40 and finishes with an NHL-record 283 points scored after that age.
155: Games played in Russia from 2008-2011
After the 2007-08 NHL season, in which he scored 71 points for the New York Rangers, Jagr packed his bags for Russia and suited up for Avangard Omsk, a KHL team he played for during the 2004-05 lockout. Jagr spent the next three seasons there in his age 36, 37 and 38 seasons, scoring a combined 146 points.
When Jagr returned to the NHL in 2011-12, he scored 19 goals and 54 points for the Philadelphia Flyers.
150: Approximate games lost to labour disputes
Jagr was in the NHL through four different work stoppages: the 1992 player strike, and owner lockouts in 1994, 2004-05 and 2012-13. The last three are where he lost a lot of games played.
Twice the NHL season was shortened to 48 games (1994-95 and 2012-13) and of course the entire season was lost in 2004-05. Had none of these stoppages happened, Jagr would easily have surpassed Howe for the most games played and would likely have surpassed the 2,000 career point mark.
135: Game-winning goals
Jagr is the current record-holder for game-winning goals in NHL regular season history, 14 more than second-place Howe. The most game-winners by an active player is Patrick Marleau at 103. Alex Ovechkin, who just earlier this season passed Jagr’s record for regular season OT goals, currently has 100 game-winners and is the best bet to surpass Jagr in this department, too.
68: His number
There is a purpose behind the No. 68 that Jagr has made so famous in the NHL. The year 1968 marks the Prague Revolution, or Prague Spring, when there was an attempt to liberalize the Czech political landscape in the face of Soviet domination. The result was a Soviet occupation of the country that lasted until the fall of the Union in 1989.
During this time, Jagr says both of his grandparents were held as political prisoners and one of them died in ’68. Here he explains the reasoning behind the choice to wear the number in his own words:
11: Travelling Jagrs
Jagr spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but played for eight different teams over the next 13 NHL seasons. Because of this, the Travelling Jagrs, a group of fans sporting different Jagr jerseys and hairdos over the years, started following their hero around the NHL, adding a new Jagr to the group with each stop.
Nine of the Jagrs represent NHL teams, while the Czech Republic and an NHL all-star jersey are also represented. Jagr is also very aware of their presence and seemed just as excited to see them in Calgary earlier this season as they were when he dropped by.
10: NHL Awards
Jagr is a 10-time NHL award winner including five Art Rosses, three Ted Lindsay Awards, one Hart and one Bill Masterton. His last scoring title came in 2000-01 when he scored 121 points in his final season with the Penguins, and his last award ever was the Masterton in 2015-16 when he had a 66-point season with the Florida Panthers.
5: Pick overall in draft
Jagr was picked behind Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau and Mike Ricci in the 1990 NHL Draft, which came after the fall of the Soviet Union. Because of this, Jagr was the first Czech player to attend an NHL Draft with the support of his government and was the first Czech player taken who didn’t have to defect.
3: Gold medals
Two of Jagr’s gold medals came at world championships, in 2005 and 2010. He won Olympic gold with the Czech Republic in 1998, the first time NHLers ever participated. With the world championship gold in 2005, Jagr joined the Triple Gold Club.
2: Stanley Cups
Jagr won two Stanley Cups in his career, both coming with Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992, the first two years of his career. He made it to one more Stanley Cup final in 2013 with the Boston Bruins, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
All told, Jagr played 208 career playoff games, scoring 78 goals and 201 points.
His playoff games mark is 17th all-time, tied with Wayne Gretzky, while Jagr is fifth in all-time playoff points.
1: Official mullet rankings
No one did the hockey hair better.