February 25, 2015 would the final date Jaromir Jagr would ever suit up in a New Jersey Devils uniform to play in a game. Tom Gulitti reported that Jagr has been traded to the Florida Panthers for a second round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft as well as a conditional third round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Per Gulitti, the conditions are not yet released but it could be Florida's third rounder or the third rounder Florida got from their recent Sean Bergenheim trade.
Jagr was unquestionably the Devils' top forward and our pick for the most valuable Devil in the 2013-14 season. Alas, age, a new coaching system, some fewer breaks, and a worse team led to Jagr more or less demanding a trade in public. Jagr's ice time was reduced since Adam Oates and Scott Stevens became coaches and he has been pointless in his last eight games. Slump aside, he finished out his time with the Devils this season third on the team in scoring, only recently bested by Adam Henrique and Mike Cammalleri. And he's still the leading shot-taker on the Devils. That said, with the reduction of usage, so came a reduction of Jagr's usefulness. A new start in Florida could be exactly what the 43-year old needs, provided Florida has a unit that's all about winning pucks in deep or building from the perimeter in.
Had Jagr played like he did last season, then, sure, I can seem him being worth a first rounder. These days, I think the return is fine. Florida's second rounder should end up being in the middle of the round, which is a good spot to have an extra pick in. It gives the Devils, who will have a high second rounder themselves, some flexibility as far as who to take at the draft. The conditional third could be useful should this transition get extended and/or the Devils think they can package it for something more significant. I'm a little surprised the Devils didn't wait until after Saturday's game in Columbus to field offers for #68, but I suspect Jagr's demands for a move forced Lou's hand instead of settling for pennies on the dollar for Jagr.
And so it begins for the Devils. Will this be their only move by the trade deadline? Or is this the start of something more? Furthermore, who replaces Jagr in the lineup for tomorrow? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this trade in the comments. Thank you for reading.