The Calgary Flames have built a strong offensive core over the last few years, but have had decided trouble developing one position: right wing.
They addressed that very efficiently on Monday with the signing of Jaromir Jagr. His last two seasons with Florida saw an average of 56 points, with 66 and 46-point campaigns respectively. That is very clear top-six production for a bargain at $1-million.
The Flames right wing depth chart is not bad, but they lack on offensive option. Michael Frolik and Troy Brouwer offer similar skillsets: responsible veteran play that can chip in offensively. Kris Versteeg is an offensively oriented option for the right side, but most teams would prefer better.
Jagr also gives the Flames an additional wrinkle against larger teams, as Matthew Tkachuk is their only offensively skilled winger who stands at least 6’2. The mullet-man will help Calgary along the boards – few shield the puck as well as Jagr.
Lastly, he provides any younger team with the work-rate that only legends possess. No one plays as a 45-year old without being an incredible professional, and the day-to-day exposure will pay dividends for their youngsters. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov in Florida showed obvious improvement alongside Jagr and revered the lessons he offered. Sean Monahan, Sam Benett, Curtis Lazar, Matthew Tkachuk, and Mark Jankowski are all 23 years old or younger, and will benefit from soaking in the presence of an all-time great.
Considering Gaudreau and Tkachuk on the left, a center trio of Monahan-Backlund-Bennett, and their wealth of top defenders, and Calgary has no obvious weakness – depending on what you think of Mike Smith in net.
Prior to this signing, we already had Calgary as a lock for the 2018 playoffs. But as a team that scored the 17th most goals in the league last year, this offensive improvement should only bode well for the Flames.
Calgary Flames Depth Chart
Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Jaromir Jagr
Matthew Tkachuk – Michael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Michael Ferland – Sam Bennett – Troy Brouwer
Kris Versteeg – Matt Stajan – Curtis Lazar
Mark Giordano – Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie – Travis Hamonic
Matt Bartkowski – Michael Stone
Mike Smith – Eddie Lack