On Thursday, December 22, the Florida Panthers lost to the Boston Bruins. On any other night this would’ve been just another 3-1 final score for the statisticians to file away. However, this wasn’t just any other night — it was the night that legendary right wing Jaromir Jagr, undoubtedly a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer when he finally hangs up his skates, surpassed Mark Messier to take hold of the number two spot on the NHL’s all-time scoring list. The Czechoslovakian right wing has dazzled fans with his electric scoring and fancy passing since entering the league in 1990 but Thursday night he did neither of those things to earn his 1,888 point — instead he was credited with an assist for being at the right place at the right time as a puck bounced off his rear end and landed in front of teammate Aleksander Barkov who scored the team’s only goal of the night.
A star yet team player his entire career, Jagr exemplified it when he looked anxious and ready to get back to business chasing a Stanley Cup Playoffs birth when the game was stopped so that he could be given the gold stick and interviewed for the crowd. Talking to reporters after the game, the veteran mutely said, “You know me, if the game doesn’t go the right way, I cannot just put it behind me. I always feel responsibility the way the team plays. It’s not easy for me to talk about the game or about what I achieved today. Obviously, I wish I had no point and we win the hockey game and I save it for the next game, but obviously this is what happened.”
In a career that has spanned over two decades, Jagr has played for the Penguins, Capitals, Rangers, Flyers, Stars, Bruins, Devils and Panthers in route to his 1,888 points. At 44 years old, he is proof that achieving such a milestone takes an enormous amount of grind but most importantly health. Impressive as it is, he most likely doesn’t have enough in the tank to catch Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky. The Michael Jordan of the NHL holds the career scoring record of 2,857 points, achieving the feat in 20 seasons. Breaking it down, Jagr would need another 969 points to tie Gretzky. In his three seasons with Florida, Jagr has averaged 34 points a year, if you take this average going forward, he would have to play another 28 seasons to get close to the record. If he were to put up the 66 points of his 2015-2016 campaign regularly, it would still take 15 seasons.
So who could be in line to take the top spot on the mountain one day? There’s a rookie in Edmonton that bears keeping an eye on, 19-year-old Connor McDavid. He plays on the same team and at the same position that Gretzky held down for so many years and to top it all off, he currently leads the league in scoring with 40 points. Finally, don’t forget Sidney “Sid the Kid” Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. At 29 years old, he has 975 career points and could be on pace to get close to the top of the all-time leaderboard if he can stay healthy and effective.
We salute Jaromir Jagr for his amazing accomplishment, which you can watch above, and look forward to watching the rest of his career play out.