50-year-old Jaromir Jagr makes free-agent case to NHL teams: ‘Slow but good hands’

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NHL free agency began Wednesday with a flurry of high-profile trades (Brent Burns, Matt Murray) and signings (Claude Giroux, Evander Kane, Evgeni Malkin, Robert Thomas, Darcy Kuemper), giving former Stanley Cup champion Jaromir Jagr a serious case of FOMO.

Amazingly, the 50-year-old still plays professionally in his native Czech Republic, contributing eight goals and 11 assists in his 43 games for the Kladno Knights last season. One of the most decorated scorers in league history, Jagr’s 1,921 career points (766 goals, 1,155 assists), accomplished over 21 NHL seasons, rank second all-time, trailing only Oilers legend Wayne Gretzky. Jagr played in the NHL as recently as 2017-18, logging 22 appearances for Calgary that season. Best known for his decade-long stint with Pittsburgh, leading the Penguins to consecutive titles in 1991 and ‘92, Jagr has also suited up for the Capitals, Rangers, Flyers, Stars, Bruins, Devils and Panthers.

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Giving an honest assessment of himself, Jagr knows he’s not in the best physical shape (he’s put on at least 35 pounds since his Penguins prime) and admits he’s lost some of the skill and quickness that were once staples of his game, though the crafty veteran insists he still has something to offer, boasting valuable experience and a nose for the net.

Seeing Jagr play into his 50s wouldn’t be unprecedented—Gordie Howe did it for the Hartford Whalers once upon a time—though returning to the NHL at this late juncture in his career is probably a pipe dream. Besides, he’s plenty busy with his ownership stake in Kladno. In fact, if you know of any available defensemen looking to play overseas, Jagr says he’s open for business.

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