Jaromir Jagr could be the next big thing in Texas.
The unpredictable winger landed in an unexpected destination, signing a US$4.55-million, one-year deal with the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Even at age 40, Jagr arrives with big expectations after putting together a 54-point season in Philadelphia following a three-year hiatus in Russia.
"Jaromir Jagr is, without a doubt, one of the best players in the history of this league, and he demonstrated last season that he remains incredibly skilled, productive and valuable," Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said in a release. "We see him fitting into our top two lines and contributing heavily to our offensive attack. We're very excited about adding a player of Jaromir's calibre to our club."
The Stars have been one of the most active NHL teams this off-season. Centre Derek Roy was added in a trade from Buffalo while winger Ray Whitney — another 40-year-old coming off a big season — was signed to a two-year deal.
Jagr casts the biggest shadow of them all.
A five-time NHL scoring champion, he sits eighth on the all-time points list (1,653) and 11th on the all-time goals list (665). His 19-year NHL career has spanned 1,346 games with Pittsburgh, Washington, the Rangers and Philadelphia.
The six-foot-three Czech has built a career on keeping both opponents and hockey observers guessing.
Many thought Jagr had played his last NHL game when he signed in the KHL with Omsk in 2008. However, he ended up returning to North America last summer, stunning many by signing with the Flyers after being heavily courted by Pittsburgh.
Few, if any, predicted he would end up in Dallas after becoming a free agent again on Sunday.
But the Stars are eager to make a splash under new owner Tom Gagliardi. And in signing Jagr they did just that.