Well, it’s official. After an offseason filled with speculation, the 45-year-old legend has finally found himself a team in the Calgary Flames. It’s hard to believe that after a 46-point showing in 2016-2017 a player would have such a hard time finding a team, but when you are the oldest player in the entire league, it happens. Oh, and another thing that comes with the territory is having your name near the top of the record boards. Jags currently holds 20 NHL records that range from the traditional statistics such as “Most Career Game-Winning Goals,” with 135, to the comedic “Only Player To Play in the Stanley Cup Finals as a Teenager and at Over 40 Years of Age.” As if that wasn’t enough, he also holds 31 Penguins team records and 6 New York Rangers team records. Jagr’s induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame has been a foregone conclusion since he left for the KHL in 2008-09, but his persistence has seen him climb the ranks of the hockey greats even further. Last year, Jagr played in 82 games, producing 16 goals and 30 assists. If we assume his production this season will mirror his production last year, where will he land on the all-time leader boards? Let’s take a look:
All time Regular Season Games Played
- Gordie Howe, 1,767
- Mark Messier, 1,756
- Ron Francis, 1,711
- Jaromir Jagr, 1,711
- Mark Recchi, 1,652
Jagr is currently 4th in total regular season games played, which are spread out across eight teams over 26 NHL seasons. As Jagr starts his 27th year with his ninth NHL club, the question remains: can he get those last 57 starts to boost him up above Gordie Howe and put him in sole possession of the top spot? Gordie Howe had 1,767 games over 27 NHL seasons. Adjusted for 82 games (NHL seasons used to be 70 games), Howe reached his total in 21 seasons. So while Jags may break his record, the case is pretty strong for Howe remaining the most reliable man in hockey ever. Over his 27 seasons, Howe played the max amount of games in 16 of them. Jags fell only a couple games short many times, but only played the max amount six times out of 26 seasons. The funny thing is that one of those max seasons was just last year, when he was playing for the Florida Panthers. What kind of 44-year-old is able to play 82 games? With that kind of performance while playing in a league that’s faster than ever, it’s a good bet that Jagr takes this NHL record home. It turns out that a good chunk of change may be resting on this as well, as part of the $1 million bonus in his contract rides on how many games he ends up playing.
Gordie Howe could have his “most games” record taken away from him this season
All Time Regular Season Goals
- Wayne Gretzky, 894
- Gordie Howe, 801
- Jaromir Jagr, 765
- Brett Hull, 741
- Marcel Dionne, 731
Jagr currently comes in at 3rd all-time in goals scored during the regular season, and again he’s chasing Mr. Hockey in this category. Howe has 36 more goals, so Jags would have to somehow score 37 goals this year to take the coveted title of “Most Prolific Regular Season Goal Scorer Not Named Wayne Gretzky”. It’s a mouthful, but definitely a title that Jagr would deeply appreciate. This is highly unlikely to happen, however. At this stage of his career, he’s no longer the goal-scoring winger that he used to be. In Florida, he was placed in a supporting role with Barkov and Huberdeau, and helped set up plays and drive possessions. He did really well in that role, and the trio’s possession numbers regularly broke 55% and high danger chances were over 60%. So, it’s clear that even though he has aged, his vision on the ice has not. It’s not quite clear, however, where he slots in the Calgary line up. It’s possible that head coach Glen Gulutzan elects to have Jagr fill a similar role on the top line with Gaudreau and Monahan as he did in Florida. This could lead to another year with 30 assists.
All Time Regular Season Assists
- Wayne Gretzky, 1,963
- Ron Francis, 1,249
- Mark Messier, 1,193
- Ray Bourque, 1,169
- Jaromir Jagr, 1,149
Speaking of assists, this is another category in which Jags finds himself high on the all-time list: 5th, to be exact. He is chasing the legendary defenseman Ray Bourque, who edges him by just 20 assists. Given that he was able to produce 30 helpers last year, it is not far outside the realm of possibility that he can surpass Bourque at some point this season. This may depend on if the Flames decide to slot him on the top line, with young talented forwards Gaudreau and Monahan.
All Time Regular Season Game Winning Goals
- Jaromir Jagr, 19
- Alexander Ovechkin, 19
- Patrik Elias, 16
Nobody knows what drives Jagr to keep going and going. Maybe it’s the love of the game, or maybe it’s the heated rivalry that I am imagining between him and Alex Ovechkin for regular season overtime game winners. Ovi tied him last year in January at 19, and it’s safe to say that with at least 8 more years left to go for Ovi, he will eventually move into sole possession of this top spot. However, if Jags can put up just 2 OT game winners like he did last year, he can make Ovi wait just a little longer.
No matter where Jagr ultimately ends up on this list, or any other, his legacy is sealed. Playing for nine teams over a span of 28 years, he has endeared himself to all fans of this league by scoring goals in spectacular fashion and, of late, setting them up for the next generation as well. When he does finally retire in 2085, he will be considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. The Hockey Hall of Fame already has a spot picked out for his mulleted bust.