Czech Mate?

by Matt Cole

9-time NHL All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist, 2-time Stanley Cup winner, and future NHL Hall of Famer, Jaromir Jagr was placed on waivers Sunday by his current team the Calgary Flames

After having amassed a staggering $135,000,000+ in earnings throughout his 24 years in the NHL, he is currently finishing out a $2 million, 1-year contract with the Flames.

Why bother?

With 33 games left in the Sabers’ 2017/18 season and sitting second from last in the NHL, why should Buffalo bother putting Jagr in the blue & gold? Well, let’s take a closer look at this…

With less than $1 million left on his contract, Buffalo would likely make more than that in increased merchandise and ad revenue alone by picking up one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of skates and at bargain basement prices.  Jagr, whose salary was $11 million per year at its peak, could be had right now for under $1 million for the rest of the season.

No, he is not likely to put many points on the board. At 45 years old he no longer has the speed and physical ability that he once did. But, if you are realistic about what you need him for and what you expect of him, the multi-Stanley Cup winning Olympic Gold Medalist could still have a couple years left in him and be a huge steal for Buffalo.

But we won’t make the playoffs…

First off, you don’t know that yet. A lot can change in the locker room and on the ice when you give a team that kind of leadership and moral boost. In fact, his presence on the Florida Panthers, when he was sent there in 2016, turned there season around and helped them make the playoffs that year.

But he won’t put points on the board…

Second, and more importantly, Buffalo is grooming several young players to be potential superstars, Jack Eichel chief among them.

What better investment could you ever make in their futures – which you have invested tens of millions of dollars in and tied the team and city’s futures to directly – than to give them some time to learn directly from arguably the greatest European player ever.

But, he’s done forever in a few months…

Gordie Howe played full time until he was 51 years old and earned 40 points in his last season. That was without modern training, nutrition, and technology.

What’s in it for us?

So that covers “more important”.

Lastly, and possibly most important, are the fans. The die hard, world renown –if not notorious- Buffalo fans who – when they are not body slamming each other off of busses and through flaming tables – buy tickets night after night, often selling out the arena to – sorry but – to watch their team loose. Many of them – and as a season ticket holder, I count myself among them – paying up for the entire season in advance to, sorry again but, watch a bad product.

The opportunity to give – possibly the best fans in all of professional sports – some much deserved excitement, playoffs or not, is sitting right in front of us.

The opportunity to invest in the future of your biggest rising stars – at little to no cost – is sitting right in front of us.

The clock is ticking.

The dice are in the front office’s hands.

The roll is free.

Let’s Go Buffalo!