The Dallas Stars have been one of the most interesting teams to follow this summer. They started out by dealing arguably their best forward Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick and Cody Eakin. The Stars then signed free agent Ray Whitney, formerly of the Phoenix Coyotes. For an encore, the Stars made perhaps their loudest noise of the summer when they dealt Steve Ott and Adam Pardy to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Derek Roy.
Two trades and one major signing later, it appeared Dallas might be content with their lineup. Wrong. Jaromir Jagr was signed by the Stars to a one-year contract (Source), effectively completing the overhaul of the Dallas offense.
All right - who out there thought Jagr would be a member of the Dallas Stars? Put your hands down - you're obviously lying. Jaromir Jagr threw the hockey world a curve. Rumors pointed to Montreal. Rumors pointed to him remaining in the Eastern Conference. Common sense said the odds of him joining the Western Conference were pretty slim. Shows how accurate rumors are, right?
This is a pretty significant point in Jaromir Jagr's career. He's at the stage where each year might be his final as a player in the NHL. He should end his career on a high note, playing in a city where he has a strong chance of winning the Cup in his final year. Do you see why everyone is surprised he picked Dallas?
No offense to the Dallas Stars. You are a very good hockey team and are one that should make the playoffs in 2012-13 assuming your overhaul on offense pays off. That being said, can you imagine the great Jaromir Jagr calling it quits after a season in Big D? It just doesn't fit.
Jaromir Jagr played in his first NHL season back in 1990. He has skated in 18 NHL seasons. Each of those 18 seasons were spent skating with an Eastern Conference squad. Jagr's sudden shift to the West is not only a complete surprise but also one that will open plenty of interesting talking points.
This is just speculation, but perhaps before he hangs his skates up Jagr wants to experience everything once in the NHL, including the dreaded travel schedule that belongs to most Western Conference teams. Maybe he wants to test himself at his ripened age to see if his body can handle the demands that are required from a team in the West.
Currently, it's unclear whether it was Jagr's decision or the market's decision that resulted in him joining the Stars. Once the Flyers were bumped out of the playoffs, I personally speculated that Jagr should be able to fetch a $3.5 million contract with a number of teams. He still has some offensive punch left. Sure, his pace has slowed considerably and he lacks some timing he once had, but his hockey instinct and hockey sense is still sharp. Teams aren't just paying for his name. They're paying for a player that even in the twilight of his career can make a difference. As it turns out, Dallas was willing to take that risk to the tune of one-year and $4.5 million.
It'll be fascinating to see Jagr in a Dallas uniform. Most of us thought we would only see that sort of sorcery by popping NHL '12 into our respective video game console.
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