While the NHL’s general managers convene for their annual meeting in Toronto on Wednesday, the most interesting thing is not that they are discussing the state of the game, and perhaps the possibility of adding a coach’s challenge.
It’s the fact that all 30 of them are crammed into one boardroom two weeks before the trade deadline.
The Flyers are likely not considering any foundation-shaking trades - such as moving a key, young piece - before the April 3 deadline, but a minor move may be in order.
One name which has been circulating through the rumor mill is Jaromir Jagr.
What is the biggest reason the Flyers have struggled this year?
Could the Flyers possibly target re-acquiring Jagr from Dallas?
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk is in a tough spot. The Stars (13-12-3) awoke in 11th place on Wednesday, but they’re only a point back of a playoff spot. The problem is that even 14th place Calgary is just four points back of one, too. There’s a logjam between 8th and 14th - and the Stars need to decide where they fall.
Most teams would be interested in Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy, two potential unrestricted free agents in July. Jagr, though, may be able to help a playoff-bound team just as much as a rental.
Jagr, now 41, has 18 points in 27 games. He’s cooled considerably, going without a point in four straight. Dallas loves what Jagr has provided in their young, impressionable locker room - particularly with burgeoning All-Star Jamie Benn.
His situation is not all that different. Jagr plays alongside Benn, who could be like Claude Giroux, and he’s mentoring another young Czech player in Tomas Vincour, like he did with Jake Voracek.
He has enjoyed Dallas - his first stop in the Western Conference during his Hall of Fame career - and is living in a hotel near the Stars’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas.
On his 41st birthday, Jagr was asked if he was considering retirement. He answered by saying he’d continue to play as long as he could in the NHL, equating his love of the game to marriage.
“Would you have imagined you’re going to stay with your wife that long?” Jagr told the Dallas Morning News. “Well, you love her. You’re going to stay with her as long as you can. If you don’t, there’s no reason to be with her. It’s the same thing with hockey for me. I just love the game.”
Jagr will consider re-signing there, but wants to wait and see in the summer - much like he did with the Flyers before jetting to Dallas for $4.5 million.
Jagr’s goal has always been to win the Stanley Cup. This year, Dallas is not the place to do that.
Knowing that he may eventually lose a non-commital Jagr in free agency for nothing, Nieuwendyk needs to decide whether its in the Stars’ best interest to get a draft pick in return before the deadline.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Dallas is “undecided” on what to do with Jagr, and that it likely depends on the quality of the offers Nieuwendyk receives.
If you’re Paul Holmgren, is sending a third round pick (which could essentially end up being a late second rounder depending on where the Flyers finish) worth seeing if Jagr is exactly what the Flyers are missing?
For my money, Jagr changes everything about the way Giroux plays the game. Jagr is able to win battles along the boards, hang onto the puck and find the open man. He is strong and commands respect from defenses, even at his advanced age.
Plus, Jagr has no baggage, and is already comfortable in Philadelphia and with Giroux.
For a third round pick, if that’s the price, it’s worth experimenting whether Jagr can get the Flyers over the hump and into the playoffs. Especially for a team which has dangled draft picks like candy over the years.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers