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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

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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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