Forward, who turns 45 next season, ranks third in NHL goals, points
SUNRISE, Fla. — Jaromir Jagr left little doubt throughout the 2015-16 season that he planned to return for at least one more. It became official Thursday when he agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers.
The contract is for one year at a $4 million salary, with games-played bonuses that could add $1.5 million, Sportsnet reported.
The announcement came 11 days after the Panthers season ended with a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the New York Islanders in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series.
Two days after that game, general manager Dale Tallon said he was sure the Panthers and Jagr would come to an agreement.
This will be Jagr’s sixth consecutive one-year contract since he returned to the NHL in 2011 after playing three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.
“Jaromir is a Hall of Fame player and had an excellent season playing alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau,” Tallon said in a statement Thursday. “His track record speaks for itself, ranking third all-time in points and goals. He has been a great fit with our organization and we are excited to have him back for next season.”
In his first full season with Florida, Jagr, 44, led the Panthers in scoring with 66 points. His 27 goals were the most for a player who began a season at the age of 43 or older. He was the oldest player in the NHL last season and became the oldest player to score 60 points in a season.
Beyond that, Jagr earned praise from Tallon and coach Gerard Gallant for the example he set with his legendary work habits.
“Jaromir has had a tremendous influence on our younger players and has been a key offensive contributor on our team,” Gallant said in a statement. “We are happy to have him back as we look to build off this year’s playoff appearance.”
Jagr had two assists in the six-game series against the Islanders but his streak of playoff games without a goal extended to 37.
When he spoke April 26 about his frustration at failing to score in the playoffs, he dropped another hint he had no intention of retiring.
“Of course I had a very good year,” Jagr said. “I’m very upset about the playoffs, trust me, and I didn’t play (in the playoffs) for three years. Sometimes with the confidence, you don’t score a few games and (you’re) just kind of putting pressure on yourself. Even me, at my age, I learned a lot from that and if that happens again, I’m going to be ready, I know that. I’m going to be more ready than I was this year.”
Jagr joined the Panthers in a trade with the New Jersey Devils in February 2015 and signed a one-year contract with Florida the day after the 2014-15 regular season ended.
He this week was named one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy, given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
This season, Jagr moved past Gordie Howe into third place on the NHL’s all-time points list (1,868), surpassed Brett Hull into third place on the all-time goals list (749), and became the sixth player in NHL history to reach 1,100 assists, the fifth player to reach 200 postseason points, and the 10th player to reach 1,600 NHL games.
Jagr needs 20 points to pass Mark Messier for second place.
Barkov, who led the Panthers with 28 goals, said after the playoffs he was hoping to have his linemate back.
“He’s a big piece of our team for the last two years,” Barkov said. “He’s a great guy, great player. It’s a good thing to have him on the team.”