The Olympic hockey tournament is full of NHL superstars and future Hall of Famers but there is no player in the competition with a resume that even compares to New Jersey Devils winger Jaromir Jagr. In my opinion he is the best player of his generation and arguably a top ten player in the history of the NHL.
In his career he has compiled 698 goals (seventh all time), 1,039 assists (tenth all time) and 1,737 (seventh all time), no other active players in within 250 points of Jagr’s total. Obviously you can not amass numbers like that without tremendous skill and durability. Jagr broke into the league during the 1990-91 season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. To put that in perspective he was already a two time Stanley Cup champion before team Sweden’s Gabriel Landeskog, the Colorado Avalanche captain, was even born.
Jagr has achieved numerous accolades over his 20 NHL seasons. He is a 9 time all star, won five Art Ross awards (givento the NHL’s points leader) and the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) for the 1998-99 season.
The 41 year old is not the same caliber player he was when he was younger but he is still a quality player. He currently leads the Devils in goals (17), assists (32) and points (49) while continuing to play a first line role and minutes for the club.
Jagr will be making his fifth Olympic appearance this year.In the previous four tournaments he has played in 23 games for the Czech Republic, notching 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points and helping his country to Olympic Gold in 1998 and the Bronze in 2006.
The Czech squad is deep with NHL players but I see Jagr garnering a primary scoring role for his country at the Sochi Games, something that is very familiar to Jagr, seeing as he has been put in that position at the highest level for twenty years. They have a solid team, but certainly not spectacular. I do not foresee the Czech’s being serious medal contenders in this year’s Olympics but they will be a team that can not be taken lightly. This will, undoubtedly, be Jagr’s last appearance for his country so don’t be surprised if he turns back the clock during this tournament and plays like a much younger version of himself.