The Boston Bruins didn’t get Jarome Iginla, but they did get another NHL veteran who still has game.
Jaromir Jagr, the 41-year-old forward who was scored 679 goals in his NHL career, was traded by the Dallas Stars to the Bruins on Tuesday in exchange for two prospects (left winger Lane McDermid, centre Cody Payne) and a second-round draft pick. Jagr had appeared in 34 of the Stars 35 games and was the team’s top scorer this season with 14 goals and 12 assists.
“Jaromir Jagr produced as a consistent scorer for our team all year and we would like to thank him for his contributions to our hockey club,” said Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “With our eye to the future, we have acquired some valuable assets that we believe strengthen our organization.”
McDermid was called up from the AHL last month when the Bruins lost Daniel Paille to an eye injury. Payne is currently playing in the OHL playoffs with Plymouth.
In their bid to acquire Iginla, the Bruins were willing to part with two prospects (forward Alexander Khokhlachev and defenceman Matt Bartkowski) and a conditional first-round draft pick. The deal, according to Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli, had supposedly been agreed upon.
But Iginla wanted to play in Pittsburgh with Penguin stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin so that trade was made, much to the Bruins’ chagrin.
Jagr doesn’t bring to Boston what Iginla would have provided - a gritty presence that can hit and fight as well as score goals. (The Penguins also acquired rugged forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas and defenceman Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks.) But Jagr’s scoring skills will be a help in Boston given the sluggish play of first-line wingers Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic. They’re only now showing hints of a revival. The second line seems set with Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
While the Montreal Canadiens were rumoured to be interested in Jagr, given his friendship with Habs’ centre Tomas Plekanec, former Montreal forward Mathieu Darche wondered whether Jagr would be a good fit in Montreal.
“For me, I'd be reticent to make that trade because of the player's reputation,” Darche wrote in his blog for RDS. “The Canadiens are a team that's enjoying a lot of success because the players are closely following (coach) Michel Therrien's instructions. Jaromir Jagr has an exemplary work ethic, he must be one of the fittest players despite being in his forties, but he is known (and has been confirmed to be) a player who wants to play his way without worrying about the team concept. He would certainly be productive, but I would be a little worried about the effect it could have on a team that is among the most structured in the league."
Jagr will have to deal with the Bruins’ structure under head coach Claude Julien. Jagr is also due to become an unrestricted free agent this July.
With a file from Sean Gordon in Montreal