February 27 2016 09:00AM
It was one year ago that the Florida Panthers sent a second round pick in 2015 and a conditional third round pick in 2016 to the New Jersey Devils for a 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr. It certainly seemed random at the time, but now, after 77 games over parts of two seasons in Sunrise, it looks like one of the best things that’s ever happened to the franchise.
“Hopefully [he'll bring] some offence, stability and leadership,” general manager Dale Tallon said after he had pulled the trigger on the Jagr deal. “It's a good opportunity for him to mentor some of our young guys and show them how hard they have to work to get to his level. It brings stability to our young team and gives us an opportunity in the next 20 games to make a good run to make the playoffs.” And that's exactly what he's done.
As we know, they didn’t make the playoffs last season. But this year, the ageless wonder has been instrumental in lifting the Panthers to the top of the Atlantic Division and into consistent relevancy for arguably the first time in their franchise history.
I think it’s fair to say that Jagr has blown just about everybody’s expectations out of the water. We all assume that he’s going to slow down, yet he continues to find new ways to produce and help team win. But how much more does he have left in him? Can we expect him to be back next season with the Panthers and their growing core of young talent?
Nation World HQ
February 26 2016 05:30AM
Canucks wheeling and dealing with Flames, Hawks interested in Hamhuis, Leafs start the fire sale, have considered Bickell, Jets ponder good bye to their Captain, Flames have plenty to sell, McLellan ready for changes in Edmonton, breaking down the "value" of a draft pick, the network launches it's first baseball site and all the trade deadline news you can handle in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.
February 24 2016 07:30AM
According to a tweet from Darren Dreger, the Arizona Coyotes fielded winger Mikkel Boedker a contract extension earlier this season, and have since backed away from the offer. It’s fair to assume that Boedker’s days in Arizona are numbered. Multiple sources have suggested that the Coyotes aren’t going to let the 26-year old winger make his way through the trade deadline unless a new contract is in place. And rightfully so. While the Coyotes have had themselves a pretty nice season, thanks largely to impressive performances from their core of young players, they’re still pretty far away from competing. I mean, yeah, they're technically in a playoff race because they're only six points behind Colorado for the final Wild Card position, but they certainly aren't in win now mode.
With just under a week left to go until the trade deadline and no new contract on the horizon, it’s pretty easy for anybody who’s been paying attention to put the pieces of the puzzle together and realize that the Coyotes will be selling on Mikkel Boedker. What type of return are the Coyotes going to be expecting? And what’s he going to command when he inevitably hits the open market this summer?
February 22 2016 09:28AM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports
Does today seem like a good day for new beginnings or what? The Blue Jays have officially opened camp down in Dunedin, Florida, taking the first steps on their path towards defending the American League East title they won last fall, and my coverage of the club has moved into these splashy new digs! Welcome to TheBlueJaysNation.com!
February 22 2016 08:30AM
The Boston Bruins have to be one of the league’s biggest surprises this season. After missing the playoffs last year, they fired Peter Chiarelli, the architect of their 2011 Stanley Cup winning team, and handed the keys to former defenceman Don Sweeney. From there, Sweeney spent his first summer at the helm dismantling the organization, as he jettisoned Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic to Western Conference teams for a collection of draft picks and prospects. And well, Martin Jones, who was quickly traded for a draft pick and a prospect.
After their mini garage sale, it was widely expected that the Bruins were going to entire somewhat of rebuilding phase in which they likely wouldn’t be competing too aggressively for a playoff spot. Now, a week before the trade deadline, the Bruins are sitting in a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division and appear to have the potential to do some legitimate damage in the playoffs. That said, Loui Eriksson, an important aspect to their elite offence, is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, so the Bruins are facing the difficult prospect of either keeping him for their playoff run and trying to re-sign him, or selling him at the deadline for an asset and not risk letting him walk away for nothing.