Detroit Red Wings fans spent a huge chunk of last offseason waiting on free-agent forward Jaromir Jagr to pick a new team. One year later, here we are again: Jagr reportedly will pass on re-signing with the Philadelphia Flyers — the team he picked over the Wings and others last July 1 — and head to free agency again this year.
The 40-year-old Jagr made $3.3 million last season, and any Detroit interest would be for the same reasons as in 2011. Specifically, the Red Wings need a goal-scorer, both on the wing during 5-on-5 play and on the power play.
Jagr fits the bill there — he had 19 goals and 35 assists last season after playing in the KHL from 2008-11. Jagr also had eight points (1 G, 7 A) in 11 playoff games, though he posted a minus-5 rating.
The knocks against Jagr, in addition to his age, continue to be his lack of desire to get into the corners and play physical, as well as his mediocre-at-best defending. While Jagr would offer the Wings a proven scorer for one of its top lines, he might not bring much else to the table, especially in what may be his last season.
Jagr also has found himself dealing with criticism over his drive and questionable locker-room presence, both in the past and at times toward the end of last season.
But again, as we’ve covered here before, the free-agent market is pretty thin up front, with Zach Parise and Alexander Semin standing a cut above the rest of the forward crop. As far as natural scoring forwards go, the pickings are pretty slim.
Would Jagr have any interest if the Red Wings called, given that he passed on coming to Detroit in 2011? Would Detroit want the aging winger at a reasonable price (he made $3.3 million last year)?
If Detroit does have any desire to bring in Jagr, it sounds like Ken Holland and company will at least get a shot at him come July 1.