The Bruins made a splash a day early, adding Jaromir Jagr to the mix around 24 hours before Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Jagr had been on the Bruins radar, but was rumored to be “off the trading block” as recently as yesterday; however, reports surfaced this morning that he was back on the block, and just hours later, he was headed to Boston.
In exchange for Jagr, the B’s are losing Lane MacDermid, a rugged winger who spent most of the year in Providence, and Cody Payne, a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft. They’ll also give up a conditional draft pick, reportedly a second-round selection this year. I’m not sure what the conditions are, but one would assume the pick improves if the B’s win the Cup, as was the case in the 2011 Tomas Kaberle trade.
So the B’s got a future Hall of Famer for a rugged skater, a fifth-rounder, and a draft pick. Not bad, and even better when prospects expert Kirk Luedeke says the loss of Payne is no big deal.
First things first: Jagr is not the mullet-sporting scoring machine he was in years past, and he probably won’t be the hardest skater or most tenacious back-checker. However, he still has the hands and scoring touch that made him a legend, and the knack for finding the back of the net that only the purest scorers possess.
I see Jagr being slotted into the “first” line (really the second line, as Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin has been the top trio all year) alongside Milan Lucic and fellow Czech David Krejci. One can’t blame B’s fans for being excited about the idea of Krejci serving up pucks for Jagr, especially on the power play. This would lead to Nathan Horton being moved down to the third line, where he’ll skate with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron/Jay Pandolfo/Kaspars Daugavins until the return of Chris Kelly.
Where Jagr should really help is on the power play. Jagr has 6 PPG so far this season, while the Bruins as a team have just 14. Being a pure scorer, Jagr won’t hesitate to shoot on the man advantage, and knows where he needs to be to find “soft” areas, or open ice.
When Jagr suits up for the B’s (probably on Thursday at home against the Devils), here’s how I see the lines shaking out:
- Marchand — Bergeron — Seguin
- Lucic — Krejci –Jagr
- Pandolfo/Caron — Peverley — Horton
- Thornton — Campbell — Paille
Not too shabby. Horton would give the third line a big-body presence it lacks, giving that trio an interesting mix of speed, strength, and physicality.
All in all, a good move for the Bruins, and they didn’t pay too dearly. Jagr is, in all likelihood, a rental, though he could decide to sign an extension with the B’s. This move is designed to win now, however, and Jagr’s scoring punch should increase the B’s chances of success.
Plus, that April 19th game vs. Pittsburgh just got a lot more interesting.