Jaromir Jagr is returning to the NHL for a 23rd season.
The future Hall of Famer came to terms on a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Jagr earned $3.5 million in 2015-15, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports he’s getting a raise next year:
Jaromir Jagr’s extension is for $4M in base salary with a possible $1.5M in games played bonuses.
Jagr, 44, led the Panthers in scoring this season with 66 points in 79 games, and helped lead them to their first playoff appearance since 2011-12. They were bounced in six games by the New York Islanders.
Pascal Dupuis’ career may have ended under less than ideal circumstances, but at least he has a chance to collect some hardware as a parting gift.
Dupuis retired from the NHL on Dec. 8 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins because he was suffering from blood clots. He had two goals and four points in 18 games this season before he stopped playing. Dupuis was first diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung in November 2014 and missed the rest of the 2014-15 season.
Anze Kopitar was nominated for his second 2016 NHL award on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Kings center was named one of the three finalists for the league’s Lady Byng Trophy, given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Kopitar is also up for the Selke Trophy for the top defensive forward.
Joining Kopitar among the final three are Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Boston Bruins left winger Loui Eriksson.
After watching the final minutes of regulation of Game 6 in the Islanders-Panthers first round series, I was all ready to perch my soap box atop my high horse, which was balancing on my ivory tower.
With New York’s net empty in the dying moments, there were two trips that could have been called – one on Vincent Trocheck, the other Reilly Smith – infractions that either negated Panthers’ chances to seal the game, or at least given the Islanders a penalty. You could argue there was a tad of embellishment on the Smith fall, but it was borderline. Instead of a minor being called in either instance, the refs “let them play” and we all know the result.
Willie Mitchell hasn’t come out and said that his playing days are officially over, but it doesn’t appear likely the Florida Panthers captain will continue his career after his latest concussion.
Mitchell, who turned 39 this past Saturday, is coming off of a season in which he missed all but 46 games. Mitchell missed the final 36 games with what was originally listed as a lower-body injury, but it was later revealed that he was sidelined with concussion issues that continued to plague him for the remainder of the campaign.
As the Panthers closed up shop for the season, Mitchell’s teammates and GM Dale Tallon spoke about the veteran blueliner’s career, and it seemed as though they were preparing to say goodbye to Mitchell. According to The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, Tallon said that he would be speaking with Mitchell about options for the future, whatever that may be. However, no comment made it seem more like it could be the end of the road for Mitchell than those from sophomore blueliner Aaron Ekblad.
“When I first talked to him and found out what was going on with him, we got a good cry,” Ekblad said, via Reynolds. “Everyone experiences it at some point, that point where you can’t play anymore.” Read more
As more NHL teams become first-round casualties of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, the more speculation grows over their offseason moves.
After yet another roller coaster season for the Minnesota Wild ended in an early playoff exit, GM Chuck Fletcher faces some tough decisions. The biggest, of course, is deciding if interim head coach John Torchetti returns on a full-time basis. After that, Fletcher could shake up his inconsistent, under-performing roster.
When the dust settles and the disappointment fades a little more, it’s pretty much a given that Jaromir Jagr will want to play in the NHL again next season. And it’s also pretty much a given that the Florida Panthers will happily take him back.
But watching one of the greatest players in the history of the game labor through the Panthers’ first-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders, some very, very uncomfortable questions have to be asked. Because, folks, this is not a one-off. Jagr has struggled to keep up to the pace of the playoffs for a couple of years now. He has gone 37 playoff games without putting a single puck in the back of the net and when the Boston Bruins made their run to the Stanley Cup final in 2013, he had no goals in 22 games and by Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, he had been demoted to the fourth line and played just 6:27, the second-lowest total on either roster. If you include his hometown Kladno team he joined during the 2011-12 lockout, Jagr has played for five teams since he last scored a playoff goal.
Led by superstar 2016 draft prospect Jesse Puljujarvi, the Finns dusted off archrival Sweden in the final of the World Under-18 Championship in North Dakota on Sunday. Puljujarvi scored a hat trick in the 6-1 demolition, while the home-side Americans earned bronze with a 10-3 walloping of a disorganized Canadian squad.
If it sounds like the Finns have been on the podium a lot lately, it’s because they have. This is the third junior-level gold in three years for Suomi, when the 2016 and 2014 world junior titles are added in. So how are they doing it?