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May 10, 2017

Bruins’ Jaromir Jagr sets stage for playoff run

Samuel Adams Boston Jagr.

The nickname that never was, now has a fighting chance thanks to the Boston Bruins’ acquisition of forward Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars — the scoring threat that Boston has been looking for to increase its hopes for its second Stanley Cup Championship in the past three years.

MCT

After losing out on the sweepstakes for Calgary Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston (23-8-4) filled its need for a veteran presence by dealing wingers Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne and a conditional second round draft pick to the Stars (16-16-3) in exchange for the 41-year-old Jagr.

Jagr led Dallas in scoring with 26 points on 14 goals in 34 games this season, but Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk told NHL.com that the Czech Republic native’s departure was necessary for his rebuilding team.

“With our eye to the future, we have acquired some valuable assets that we believe strengthen our organization,” Nieuwendyk told NHL.com.

While Dallas — which sits at 13 in the Western Conference, three points behind the eighth-seeded St. Louis Blues — has time to rally with 13 games remaining, the Bruins are on pace to qualify for the playoffs with ease.

As the current fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, Boston is likely to reap Jagr’s benefits the most when rally towels are waving in a best of seven series.

Skating on the Philadelphia Flyers’ top line last year along with Claude Giroux, Jagr was able to boost his linemate’s point total by 17, as well as groom younger players like Wayne Simmonds, who saw a 19 point jump from the previous year’s scoring.

With Jagr’s help, the Flyers reached the conference semi-finals, before getting eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in five games.

With burgeoning Bruins star and last year’s leading team scorer, 21-year-old Tyler Seguin, as a teammate — who plays a similar role to Giroux — Jagr will have the opportunity to fine-tune Seguin’s game with veteran experience and impart his knowledge on the rest of the young offensive core.

After captaining the New York Rangers in the 2007-08 season, Jagr had a stint abroad, playing with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League, as well as representing his home country on the ice after being unable to generate NHL interest.

Making his North American comeback during the 2011-2012 campaign, Jagr posted 54 points in 74 games before signing a one-year $4.5 million contract with the Stars in the offseason.

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that despite his age, Jagr’s ability and attitude are “consistent with the Bruins’ style of play.”

“His game is still a strong power game,” Chiarelli said. “You watch him play and still see a lot of what you used to see in him.”

Comparing Jagr’s role to that of former Boston winger Mark Recchi, Chiarelli said that a player who has won multiple Stanley Cups brings intangibles.

“You don’t have to be the guy, but you’re an important piece and you can band together with your teammates,” Chiarelli said. “You’ve got the experience, you’ve got a certain skill set, size or whatever you want to call it that will benefit the rest of the group. But really, you’ve won, you have experience and you want to win still. That was an important question and he was very receptive to that.”

With a desire to have four strong lines, Chiarelli said that Jagr is open to playing alongside Rich Peverley or David Krejci on the third or fourth line, but the situation will vary based on team needs.

Peter Cappiello can be reached at pcappiel@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello.

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