The Vegas Golden Knights survived free agency without spending too much money on players for too many years.
Score one for the good guys.
Granted, you could suggest they overpaid for defenseman Deryk Engelland, even for one year at $1 million. But let's be nice. He's a Vegas native, after all.
July 1 comes with fraught and peril for all 31 general managers when it comes to unrestricted free agents.
You have the mega-deals given to game changers — the Kevin Shattenkirks (four-years, $6.65 million per), Patrick Marleaus (three-year, $6.25 million per), and Alexander Radulovs (five-year, $6.25 million per) of the world. And, you also see multi-year deals given to aging defensemen like Dan Girardi (two years, $3 million cap hit) and Karl Alzner (five years, $4.625 million cap hit).
Then, in the much less publicised signings, you have the fliers. As much as fans love the big splash, there is nothing wrong with taking a one-year on a guy at a respectable cap hit if you think they might have a productive season left in the tank.
Which brings me to a buy-low candidate the Golden Knight should consider ... Shane Doan.
No, I’m serious about Jagr, as is he.
FA 1994- all GMs called , FA 2017- 0 calls pic.twitter.com/7uLJm95CAB— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) June 29, 2017
Yes, he's 45 years old. Yes, he and George McPhee might not be the best of friends after their days in Washington. Yes, he's not quite the player he used to be. All of this is true.
But, for a new organization trying to bring in the crowds, who better than one of the most recognizable hockey players this side of Wayne Gretzky?
The ageless legend with the greatest flow in hockey history is second in NHL history in points (1,914), and he's fully embraced the social media age like a cool dad. He can totally relate to fans and his future 18-year-old teammates, alike.
With his over two decades of NHL experience, imagine what he could teach the Vegas rookies. From a conditioning and longevity standpoint, his knowledge would be invaluable. He is, after all, one of the most well-conditioned players in the game.
Consider this; Jagr has played at least 75 games in 17 seasons (including 2012-13 where he played 34 games in the Czech league, 34 in Dallas, and 1 more in Boston).
He's far from the player he used to be. Jagr has also adapted his game in ways older players can’t. He uses his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame to keep defenders off the puck, and his world-class instincts and hands do the rest.
He's coming off a respectable 46 points in 82 games last season and just two seasons ago, at a spry 43 years old, he had 27 goals and 66 points. It's not unreasonable to think he could put up 50 points again. Jagr is a highly-productive winger and it is incredible that he has received so little interest.
He had a 54.95 Corsi For percentage (CF%) and a 55.79 Goals For percentage (GF%), both ranked in the top-65 among forwards. Even if his counting stats weren’t quite as good, his possession and results were fantastic.
For a team that isn't sure where the offense will come from, putting a possession-driving Jagr on a second or third line with any one of Shipachyov, Marchessault, or Eakin couldn't hurt.
Right now it appears as though there are no suitors for Jagr. That will change quickly for the teams that missed on Patrick Marleau. Jagr could be that guy. Vegas would be smart trying to get in first and sign him before he can see just how desperate teams might be for his services when he is all that’s left.
Whether they can trade him at the deadline for picks or not is to be seen, but if he is interested, the Golden Knights could do a lot worse (and have with some of their expansion draft selections).
Besides. Don’t you want to own your own VGK Jagr jersey?