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Top Reasons Why Jaromir Jagr Should Re-Sign With The Panthers

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It's no coincidence that the Florida Panthers started playing their best hockey of the season around the time that Jaromir Jagr arrived in Sunrise.  The 43-year-old veteran has infused the young Panthers with the right combination of skill and leadership, and now the team is knocking on the door of their first playoff berth since 2012.

The team still has some climbing to do before they reach the top of the mountain but considering the way they've been playing over the past month, the postseason is a very real possibility.

Whether or not the Panthers make the playoffs this season, it's becoming common knowledge that this is a team that will be one of the best in the Eastern Conference sooner rather than later.  The growth of Florida's young core is going to happen no matter what, but having Jagr around for a full season will only expedite the process.

Both Jagr and the Panthers have expressed interest in continuing their union next season but the two sides aren't going to get into contract discussions until their current season is finished.  Hopefully that won't come for another month or two, but in the meantime here are the top reasons why Jaromir Jagr should stick with the Panthers for (at least) another season.

Great Mentor For Younger Players

Since joining the Panthers last month Jagr has been a great mentor to the team's young core.  He can be seen during games chatting up his linemates on the bench between shifts, or going over techniques and positioning during practices.  He has 25 years of professional hockey experience and knowledge to pass along and the young Panthers are more than happy to soak it all up like sponges.  A young Jagr was taken under the wing by players like Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey, who taught him how to train and how to win.  Now, all these years later, Jagr is happy to pay it forward.

Still A Scoring Threat

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers
(Source: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

While age is only a number, so are goals and assists.   Panthers coach Gerard Gallant is quick to point out that Jagr isn't quite as fast as he was when the two shared the ice in the early 90's, but that hasn't stopped the wily veteran from continuing to put up points on a consistent basis.  Before joining the Panthers the knock on Jagr was that his scoring and production in general was down, but so was his ice time.  After arriving in Florida Jagr saw his ice time go back up and along with that came the goals and assists.  In 57 games with the Devils this season, Jagr had 29 points.  Since joining the Panthers he's put up 12 points in 14 games.

Makes Players Around Him Better

One thing that anyone in hockey will tell you about Jagr is that he isn't just a scorer, he's a playmaker.  The difference is that he isn't out there just looking to score goals and pad his stats.  When Jagr is on the ice he always knows where his teammates are and looks for ways to get them involved in the play.  During his time with the Panthers Jagr has played with the same two linemates every game, 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.  The trio has combined to put up 13 goals and 25 assists in the 14 games that Jagr has been with Florida, and Huberdeau's 16 points during the month of March is only bettered by superstar Sidney Crosby.

Provides A Veteran Presence

Since arriving in the NHL in 1990 at the ripe age of 18, Jagr has been through it all.  Stanley Cup runs, Olympic Games, work stoppages, world cups and even a few years playing in the KHL in Russia.  He's played with numerous Hall of Famers and has developed a well-known workout regimen that keeps him playing as though he were 10 years younger.  Few teams in the NHL are as young as the Panthers and having a guy like Jagr around is very beneficial.

Two-Way Street

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers
(Source: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

While having Jagr on the roster absolutely makes the Panthers a better team, that most certainly goes both ways.  As previously mentioned, Jagr's production level has gone way up since he was acquired by Florida and the veteran is quick to point out that he gets just as much from his teammates as they get from him.  Jagr's value playing for the Panthers is much higher than it would be with most other teams in the NHL and he knows that much of that has to do with his impact on the young players in Florida.  That being said, few teams in the league can offer Jagr the opportunity to play with such talented linemates and have a major influence in the future of the franchise.

Follow David on Twitter (@DavidDwork)

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