James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Taking the right Flyer

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


For the most part, the Hockey Daily Dose has been about what you can do right now to improve your team(s).

 

Still, let’s take a second and try to reflect on the success of Jaromir Jagr. The former(?) NHL star went on a three-year exile to the KHL only to land in a perfect situation in Philadelphia. He didn’t have the baggage that surely would have followed him with a Pittsburgh Penguins return.* Jagr went to a place where he would have at least the slight boost from the incalculable revenge factor. (Pittsburgh fans conveniently forget that they booed him whenever he touched the puck during his many returns to the Steel City.) Oh yeah, he also had the potential opportunity to form a line with one of the best up-and-coming stars in the NHL in Claude Giroux. (Giroux has a great chance to eclipse Phil Kessel’s points lead, as he has 22 points in 2011-12.)

 

Sadly, there won’t be many Jagrs in the future. The closest example I can think of is Alex Radulov, who has a considerably larger number of karma points to deal with if he returns to the league with any team other than the Nashville Predators. (Radulov leaving the Preds is one of the least-discussed “What if?” situations in recent history, if you ask me.) Even then, Radulov didn’t leave the best league in the world with one Hart Trophy and – in my opinion – a partial claim to two others, either. **

 

That being said, the ultimate lesson is that later rounds are a great time to take on leftover “sexy” choices. Personally speaking, I was able to snatch Jason Spezza late in drafts by similar logic; a former (?) star can regain his previous glory by mere chance if he can stay healthy. (I fear that by uttering that last comment, Spezza will fall victim to his nearly-annual injury, so apologies if that does happen.) The funny thing about Jagr is that he left the NHL with a great playoff performance and a respectable 71-point season with the New York Rangers, who trotted out the rapidly declining Scott Gomez aside him in 2007-08. Should we have expected more in the first place?

 

Anyway, it won’t help you this season, but just keep in mind that the later rounds are a wonderful time to start taking blind swings based on gut instincts. After all, it’s great to have those picks that make you feel like a visionary in a cubicle/street clothes … right?

 

* - Seriously, without a fully healthy Evgeni Malkin or a slightly healthy Sidney Crosby, how would that have been a successful situation?

 

** - Hockey history tends to forget the guys who were borderline coin-flips for big awards, but I’d argue Jagr could have three Hart Trophies to his name. He had a legitimate argument to win the strike-shortened MVP that Eric Lindros won and was neck-and-neck with Joe Thornton in 2006-07 as well. Oddly enough, the Czech-born winger lost to the big, Canadian centers both times. I will now stop planting conspiracy theory thoughts in your heads …

 

After the jump: ride out the storm with Dwayne Roloson, another quick assessment of Jhonas Enroth and more ...



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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than two years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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