Between now and July 1, The Detroit Sports Site’s writers will break down 10 of the NHL’s potential unrestricted free agents and try to determine if any of those players are a fit for the Red Wings. Previously:Ryan Smyth, Ray Whitney, Filip Kuba and Dennis Wideman.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Last offseason, in search of a goal-scoring forward to pair with their dynamic centerpieces like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings made a push for free agent Jaromir Jagr.
One year later, Jagr is about to hit free agency again, and the Wings still find themselves needing a proven player capable of lighting the lamp. Jagr, now 40, did that in his lone season with the Flyers, scoring 19 goals and adding 35 assists in 73 games, with 20 of those points coming on the power play.
Detroit struggled throughout the regular season and its brief postseason stay generating goals, and the power play flopped all year long. Would an aging Jagr help the Red Wings fix those issues next season?
Rob Starrs: Jaromir Jagr is one of most gifted playmakers to ever hit the ice. He started his career learning from one of the best ever, Mario Lemuiex, and I think he should end his career with who I feel currently is the best player in the league — Pavel Datsyuk. His season last year wasn’t what anyone would call good for Jagr in the NHL, but he didn’t fit the mold in Philadelphia, as the Flyers continue to try to recreate the Broad Street Bullies year after year. Put him with a bunch of skilled Europeans, and he may find that there is a little gas left in the tank. Although, if he is looking for any sort of big payday, it’s a no go.
Max DeMara: I'm less than lukewarm on the idea of an aged Jagr joining the Red Wings. On one hand, he showed well with the Philadelphia Flyers last year, but on the other, how many good years does he truly have left in the tank? Last season, the Red Wings wanted Jagr, but he didn't seem as interested. Detroit doesn't need to keep chasing after him, especially when several better young players up front exist on the market; the same as Ryan Smyth. There's also been rumors of him being a bit of a problem in the locker room recently. Pass.
Andrew Tomlinson: When is someone too old to be worth the cost? Well, someone is going to find out with Jagr this year. He had a great year with the Philadelphia Flyers, if only because of the way he helped spur on Claude Giroux. He helped take a player who was a fringe star to a potential MVP candidate. Jagr is old, yes, but he has been there before, and for the right price, on a one-year deal, he could be worth it. The truth is, though, this Wings team needs to make sure it is young and healthy towards the playoffs, Jagr can't guarantee they will be. Sure he is an attractive player in terms of up-side but he is not worth taking a flyer on.
Chris Burke: No. A thousand times, no. I was all about taking a shot on Jagr last year, because I thought he might be just what the Red Wings needed on the offensive end. But after watching them get outmuscled in the playoffs by Nashville, I just can't see the benefit of a 40-year-old winger who refuses to get into the corners or play defense. Hate watching Johan Franzen's disappearing act? Jagr is an older version of Frazen at this point. The Wings need a lot more grit and energy, and Jagr brings neither to the table.