The Florida Panthers acquired five-time NHL scoring champion Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round draft pick and a conditional third-round draft pick on Feb. 26.
The Florida Panthers have acquired Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils.
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Florida executive vice president and general manager Dale Tallon made the announcement via a press release on the Panthers' official website on Feb. 26. In exchange, the Devils receive Florida's second-round pick in 2015 and its conditional third-round pick in 2016.
ESPN's Scott Burnside reported on Thursday that the Panthers previously acquired the conditional third-round pick when they traded Sean Bergenheim to the Minnesota Wild earlier this week.
Tallon told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov on Thursday Jagr's acquisition is a reflection of the team's commitment to make the 2015 NHL playoffs:
"That we're buyers and committed to winning. [Owner Vinny Viola] and we all said we want to win a championship. We're putting the pieces together step by step. Hopefully, Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It's a win-win for us."
Fialkov says the Panthers are just two points behind the Boston Bruins for the last wild-card playoff spot in the East with 22 games left in the 2014-15 NHL season. With the playoff chase intensifying, Tallon told Fialkov six teams were interested in acquiring Jagr, a five-time NHL scoring champion.
According to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Tallon began discussing a possible trade for Jagr with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello around 10 days ago when Jagr wasn't very happy with his playing time. He should boost Florida's offense, which is ranked just 25th in the NHL. The Panthers have managed a total of just four goals during their three-game slide.
Jagr will suit up for the Panthers in his natural right-wing position along with either center Aleksander Barkov or Nick Bjugstad. Jagr's first game for his new team will be against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Feb. 28, per Fialkov.
Tallon confirmed to Fialkov that Jagr, who is on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, would like to play another season with the Panthers. Despite Jagr's age (43), the Panthers GM still marvels at his conditioning and commitment. Tallon quipped,"His fitness level is second to none. He's an exciting guy to watch and he's still got it."
While the Panthers will pick up the remainder of Jagr's $3.5 million base pay for this season, Lamoriello confirmed to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun (via Burnside) New Jersey is responsible for his $2 million games-played bonus.
Aside from Jagr's abilities at the right-wing position, Tallon told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel his veteran savvy and leadership will serve the Panthers' younger players well. Among them are Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau, Bjugstad and Barkov:
"I want them to feel the battle first of all. There's no guarantee we're going to make it. We're two points out. This should give us a boost. If we get our power play going, he will help get our offense going
"We should have a legitimate chance of being a competitor all the way through. That's the lesson I want for our young guys. Compete hard, that we're in the playoff hunt. If we make it, great, if we don't, at least they had a taste of it and they'll look forward to the following years ahead of us.
"I'm excited about the future."
Burnside stresses Jagr "has been in the league longer than the Panthers have." Jagr first took the ice as an NHL pro on Oct. 5, 1990. The Panthers made their league debut on Oct. 6, 1993.
Prior to his trade to Florida, Jagr had 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points this season. He is sixth in league history with 716 goals, seventh with 1,068 assists and fifth with 1,784 points. He has suited up in a total of 1,530 career regular-season games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils, per Burnside.
The ESPN update also mentions Jagr has 78 goals and 121 assists in 202 career postseason appearances. He was a key member of the Penguins teams which won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 1991 and 1992.
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