New York Rangers: Why Signing Jaromir Jagr Could Help the Team

Zach VanderbergCorrespondent IMay 11, 2011

NEW YORK - MAY 01:  Jaromir Jagr #68 of the New York Rangers acknowledges the crowd after being named the second star after his team defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 1, 2008 in New York City.  The Penguins lead the series 3-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

We all remember the story. We all remember how Jaromir Jagr was driven away from the New York  Rangers by Glen Sather after offering to take a $2.7 million pay cut. And we certainly remember nobody on the team surpassing 60 points the season after Jagr's departure.

Jagr never wanted to leave the Rangers. The Rangers were just coming off a second round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Jagr had put on a dominant performance through the end of the regular season into the playoffs, leading the team with 15 points in 10 playoff games.

After the season, he offered to take a pay cut if Sather was willing to give him a two-year deal. Sather didn't budge, instead throwing a two-year deal at Markus Naslund, and so ended Jagr's time in New York.

Well, it's that time of year again. Jaromir Jagr's one-year deal, his second contract with the KHL's Avangard Omsk, has expired, leaving Jagr as a free agent. His time in Omsk was average, if unspectacular, averaging over a point per game in just one season. However, Jagr has shown that he can still be an extremely effective player.

Though his speed is not what it used to be, his strength still is. Jaromir Jagr had developed a reputation for being one of the strongest players in the game. He would not necessarily use this strength to play a hard checking game, but he was nearly impossible to move off the puck and very difficult to throw down to the ice.

Jagr has shown that he also still possesses his signature wrist shot. He scored a hat trick against Team USA in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Championship using his patented shot. Also shown was his ability to run the power play, something the Rangers desperately need, as two of said goals came with the man advantage.

The Rangers have had a commitment to youth over the last couple of seasons, which doesn't bode well for the 39-year-old Jagr. However, the Rangers' top prospect, Chris Kreider, has already committed to Boston College for another year. With Chris Drury and Sean Avery likely to be bought out or traded, signing Jagr could be a huge boost to the team.

If he is willing to accept a contract of $2 million or less, there is no reason he wouldn't provide more than Sean Avery. Jagr has shown that he can still play the game at a high level, and I believe most Rangers fans know he could produce more than Avery did this past season.

The Rangers could definitely use the presence of Jaromir Jagr next season. Now Glen Sather must try to make it happen.