Jaromir Jagr shows 40 is the new 30


(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The New Jersey Devils have re-signed right winger Jaromir Jagr for next season.

The 42-year-old winger was the team’s most valuable player, after leading New Jersey in points (67) while coming in second for goals scored (24). Those 67 points are the sixth highest for a 40-year-old since the NHL expanded beyond the Original Six teams.

But even more important than points, Jagr picked up right where he left off after playing three seasons for the Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2008.

Ignoring special teams and lead-protecting situations, Jagr and his linemates generated 59.2 percent of the shot attempts during the 2007-08 season. Since his return, that remained steady. In fact, Jagr took a step forward this season.

“We didn’t expect (Jagr’s stats this season),” Devils President Lou Lamoriello said.

And why would they? When the salary cap was implemented prior to the 2005-06 season, there was a push for younger, faster and cheaper players to fill out NHL rosters.


“You don’t play into your 40s unless you’re really working at it, working at your body, working at your conditioning, taking care of yourself,” Coach Peter DeBoer  said. “And you have to love the game. It’s a grind. People don’t realize how tough an NHL season is, night in and night out. You have to have a real passion and love for the game to keep doing that at this high of a level.

That’s true, but I like to think it was the mullet.

 

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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