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Jaromir Jagr re-signs with Devils

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 5:39 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Jaromir Jagr re-signs with Devils
The New Jersey Devils on Wednesday re-signed right wing Jaromir Jagr to a new contract. Terms of the deal were not released by the team.

Right wing Jaromir Jagr, who led the New Jersey Devils in scoring this season, was re-signed to a one-year contract Wednesday.

"I think [Devils general manager] Lou Lamoriello wanted to know what kind of direction he wanted to go, so both sides wanted to do [the contract] quickly," Jagr said on a conference call. "I didn't mind that at all. I was happy here and had no reason to change. If I'm happy somewhere and feel like the other side is interested, there's no reason to change."

The announcement came on the same day Jagr was named one of three finalists for the 2014 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, an annual award given to the NHL player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

The Devils named the 42-year-old right wing the team's most valuable player after he led the club in assists (43), points (67), plus-minus (plus-16), game-winning goals (six) and shots (231). He ranked second on the team with 24 goals.

Jagr said he enjoyed having Peter DeBoer as his coach and is looking forward to an even better season in 2014-15.

"I felt like we didn't have really great superstars or goal scorers, but I think the system we play gives us a chance to compete against anybody and beat anybody," Jagr said. "If you follow the system, you don't have to be great to be able to have success or hope that the team you play against will have to have a bad night in order to win. If we really work hard and follow the system we have a chance, and maybe it's just my feeling, but that system gave me confidence that we can go out there and win the games."

Jagr, who will enter his second season with the Devils in 2014-15, ranks 20th all-time in games played (1,473), seventh in goals (705), eighth in assists (1,050) and is tied for sixth with Steve Yzerman in points (1,755). He is the NHL's all-time leader with 124 game-winning goals, including 18 overtime goals in 20 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and Devils.

A member of the Penguins' 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championship teams, he has 78 goals, 121 assists and 199 points in 202 career games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Jagr is confident the Devils will be a contender next season. New Jersey failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season in 2013-14.

"We made a lot of mistakes during the season and I felt like we were able to play against the good teams, but lost a lot of points against teams that didn't make the playoffs," he said. "If you're a good enough team, you should grab those points, otherwise it's tough to get them later on in the season. We got in this situation where we had to win almost every game [down the stretch] to get into the playoffs, and it's tough. There's too much pressure and we have to learn from that."

Jagr was a pleasant surprise for the Devils after signing a one-year, $2 million contract last July. He was looked upon to fill the void created when Ilya Kovalchuk decided to return to play in his native Russia during the offseason. Despite playing in 105 games in 2012-13 while splitting time between Europe and the NHL with the Stars and Bruins, Jagr remained an offensive force.

"You don't play into your 40s unless you're really working at it, working at your body, working at your conditioning, taking care of yourself," DeBoer said during the season. "And you have to love the game. It's a grind. People don't realize how tough an NHL season is, night in and night out. You have to have a real passion and love for the game to keep doing that at this high of a level.

"He's a very intelligent guy. He's got a high IQ, and if he can help us score a few more goals by sharing some of that knowledge with our guys, I'm more than open to that."

Jagr's play rejuvenated Travis Zajac, who usually centered the top line with him. In 80 games Zajac has 18 goals and 48 points, his highest total in four seasons. He had 25 goals and 67 points in 82 games during the 2009-10 season.

"I know I play the best hockey when I'm happy, and we had a good group of guys," Jagr said. "I was getting ice time and I like to play a lot. I don't get tired much, so I really enjoy that. It was a loose atmosphere; we work hard, but there's not one bad guy on our team.

"Maybe we need one or two [bad guys] to make the playoffs."

Mike Morreale

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59