The B’s acquired the future Hall of Famer on Tuesday afternoon in a move that the club is likely hoping will jump-start a slumping offense and power play.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but that must not include the trade return for an effective NHL forward. Make no mistake — Jagr is a far cry from the player that dominated the NHL in the mid 90s. However, he’s still a valuable asset. In fact, he could prove to be a steal given what the Bruins had to give up to get him. The B’s will reportedly send Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne and a conditional second round pick to Dallas. Not only does that package apparently land you Jagr, but it will also get its fair share of “Huh? Who?” reactions out of most casual hockey fans.
So the B’s almost certainly won’t feel too much of a sting for giving up MacDermid, Payne and a pick, especially if Jagr lives up to his potential here in Boston. He likely won’t hurt the team, and at the price you’re paying to acquire the player, why not make this deal? The Bruins missed out on Jarome Iginla, and that still stings.
But the fact remains that the Bruins’ offense has been dormant far too often this season. Bringing Jagr in gives you an automatic update compared to the likes of Jay Pandolfo or Rich Peverley or the rest of the third and fourth lines. Jagr comes in with 14 goals and 12 assists this season for a struggling Dallas team. His 14 goals would be tied for the Bruins’ team lead with Brad Marchand. Jagr’s 12 assists would be sixth on the club, and his 26 points would put him third. So if you can get that sort of production from Jagr, it’s a clear upgrade.
Where Jagr really may help out the Bruins is on the power play. Jagr has 6-3-9 totals on the power play this season, figures that would rank favorably among the B’s as well. First of all, Jagr saw 3:22 of power-play ice time per game with Dallas, which would be by far the highest on the B’s. His six power-play tallies are twice as many as anyone on Boston this season. He would certainly look good out there alongside the likes of Tyler Seguin and David Krejci on the power play. The B’s must be hoping that Jagr would give a player like Krejci (who admits he grew up admiring Jagr) a jump. Krejci already has six power-play assists this season, and that could be a combination that proves to be very impressive. At the very least, it’s not unreasonable to think they won’t be horrible on the power play moving forward, which isn’t really saying much at this point.
The trade isn’t yet a slam dunk. The Bruins didn’t give up much to get Jagr, and he still has to hit the ice and produce. Jagr has already won two Stanley Cups. He’s 41 years old. There are reasons to believe that this doesn’t necessarily work out the way that the B’s drew it up.
But this is a Bruins team that is already among the NHL’s best, and it just needed some tinkering, especially on offense and the power play. Adding Jagr should do that. He doesn’t need to be a Hart Trophy contender. He doesn’t even need to lead the team in points for the next month and into the playoffs.
He just needs to make the Bruins better, and considering the club didn’t give up much to acquire the forward, there’s a good chance this deal turns into a steal for Boston.