Jaromir Jagr’s long, illustrious NHL career appears to be over after 24 seasons spanning over 28 years. The Flames transferred his contract to HC Kladno in the Czech Republic Monday after he cleared waivers, marking the likely end of one of the most incredible careers in league history.
Jagr finishes his time in the NHL with some remarkable statistics: 1,733 games played, 766 goals, 1,155 assists, and 1,921 points in the regular season, plus another 201 points in 208 games during the postseason. He’s in the top five in just about every major category, which shouldn’t be surprising given his career has lasted longer than many of us have been alive.
The 45-year-old forward left an indelible mark on the sports world during his nearly three decades in the NHL. The big scoring totals and glorious mullet made him one of hockey’s biggest superstars in the 1990s. The continued success in the 2010s made him one of its elder statesman.
But time comes after every athlete in the end, and while Jagr’s best efforts allowed him to last longer than anyone could’ve reasonably expected, even a legendary career still comes with an expiration date. We seem to have finally, unceremoniously reached that point this week with his move to his hometown Kladno, where he’s expected to play out the remainder of this season before determining his next step.
So to celebrate Jagr’s unparalleled career, something hockey fans and media will surely be doing a lot of over the next few weeks, let’s look at some of the most amazing feats from his time on the ice. There’s really been nobody else like him.
He’s one of 27 members in the Triple Gold Club
Jagr is one of just 27 players in hockey history who have won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal, and an IIHF World Championships gold medal. He clinched the feat on May 15, 2005, when the Czech Republic beat Canada to win the World Championships behind Jagr’s team-high nine points.
Jagr won Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992, then led the Czech Republic to the gold medal at the first Winter Olympics involving the NHL in 1998. He won a second World Championships gold medal in 2010, although another Stanley Cup eluded him.
Jiri Slegr is the only other Triple Gold Club member from the Czech Republic.
He played more playoff games than 11 NHL franchises
Jagr has played 208 Stanley Cup Playoff games in his career, which is more than the Ducks, Senators, Hurricanes, Coyotes, Lightning, Predators Wild, Panthers, Blue Jackets, Jets, and Golden Knights franchises have each played since joining the league. Some of the teams haven’t been around as long as Jagr — in itself a remarkable fact — but it’s still incredible that a third of the league’s teams have appeared in fewer playoff games than him.
The winger was unable to win another Stanley Cup after his back-to-back titles in the early 1990s, but he still reached the conference finals twice more with Pittsburgh and played in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final with Boston.
He recorded more points after turning 40 than anyone
Everyone knows Gordie Howe for his legendary longevity, but as a result of his extended time in the World Hockey Association, it’s actually Jagr who has the NHL record for most points recorded after age 40 with 283 in 412 games. He passed Howe’s total of 268 points back in March 2017 with two assists in a win over the Rangers.
Looking at the numbers on Hockey-Reference, the top 11 players on the NHL’s 40-and-over all-time points leaderboard are all in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Basically, if you’re good enough to be productive in your 40s, there’s a good chance you had a Hall of Fame-caliber career leading up to that point.
He’s the oldest player to score a hat trick in NHL history
On Jan. 3, 2015, Jagr scored three goals against the Philadelphia Flyers to become the oldest player to record a hat trick in NHL history. He’s just the third player to do so at age 40 or older, joining Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne.
“He’s one of the top five players to ever play the game,” Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said after the game. “It stinks that it happened against us, but as a hockey fan, it’s great to watch.”
He’s done all of the squats
How did Jagr stay so fit for so long? Presumably luck and good genes have something to do with it, but doing 1,000 squats every single day since age 7 probably helped a good deal, too. That’s nearly 40 years of squats, and based on some rough math from ESPN, that means he’s done roughly 14 million squats during that time.
I’m no doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but 14 million squats seems like a lot.
He posted 15 straight 30-goal seasons
The consistency with which Jagr has scored goals in the NHL is almost unprecedented. He recorded 15 consecutive seasons of 30-plus goals from 1992 to 2007, a run matched only by Mike Gartner from 1980 to 1994. Gartner is the only player in NHL history with more 30-goal seasons, per Hockey-Reference’s Play Index.
Jagr also has the second-most seasons of 15-plus goals with 23, one behind Howe. It’s a ridiculous run of finishing excellence that’s practically unheard of in the history of hockey.
He destroyed a German league for a game during the 1994 lockout
During the 1994 NHL lockout, Jagr did a bit of a European barnstorming tour, appearing in games in Italy, Germany, and his native Czech Republic. This was when he was at the height of his powers, so defenses stood little chance of stopping him when he wanted to get going.
Jagr played just one game for Gelsenkirchener EC (also known as the Schalker Sharks) of the Oberliga, Germany’s third-tier league, but he absolutely dominated with one goal and 10 assists. It was such a good performance that the league decided to include him in its 1994-95 trading card set, so there are some random Jagr German hockey cards out there somewhere.
The five degrees of Jagr
The NHL celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, which is a whole lot of professional hockey. Somehow, Jagr gets a leg up on Kevin Bacon because it takes only five degrees to tie Jagr to the first night in NHL history:
Fun Fact: The history of the @NHL, founded 100 years ago today, can be tracked through five players.— Jonathon Jackson (@jonathonj1970) November 26, 2017
Jaromir Jagr played against Guy Lafleur, who played against Gordie Howe, who played against Dit Clapper, who played with/against Cy Denneny, who played on opening night. #NHL100 pic.twitter.com/vYM5UGLI4q
He finished seventh in NHL MVP voting at age 43
At an age when most players are already retired, Jagr was still one of the best players in the NHL. His 2015-16 season, in which he recorded 66 points and finished seventh in Hart Trophy voting, stands out as one of his greatest accomplishments. It really can’t be said enough how absurd it is that a 43-year-old was in the running for the MVP award. He even received one first-place vote.
Here are the ages of the top 10 players in voting that year: 27, 28, 26, 26, 36, 30, 43, 28, 25, 29. The 36-year-old was Joe Thornton, another superstar who has aged gracefully, but otherwise every other candidate was 30 or younger.
It’s one thing to be adequate enough to keep your job into your 40s. It’s something entirely different to be so good that people are still voting you among the league’s best players.
He set all those NHL milestones while skipping several seasons
Maybe the wildest part of Jagr’s career statistics is that they could be even better if he never played overseas. The winger spent three years in the KHL in his 30s, when he still would’ve been one of the top players in the NHL. He also played through four different work stoppages.
Back in 2015, Yahoo! Sports did a breakdown of how Jagr might’ve produced in those missing KHL seasons and came up with 69 goals and 207 points over 244 games. If we treat those numbers as accurate for the sake of this argument, then Jagr could’ve finished with 1,977 games played, 835 goals, and 2,128 points.
Jagr would’ve blown away the current record for games played of 1,767 by Howe. He also would’ve passed Howe’s 801 goals for second place all time behind Wayne Gretzky. Catching Gretzky’s 2,857 points would’ve been impossible either way, but Jagr also would’ve added to his breathing room there ahead of Mark Messier.
So you can marvel at Jagr’s numbers, but it’s hard not to think about how much better they could be. He missed 2004-05 and part of 2012-13 due to a lockout, as well as the entirety of three other seasons. His numbers stand the test of time even with nearly five years missing.