Post to Post: What If Jaromir Jagr Never Left the NHL?

December 28th, 2016 by Jonathan Willis Leave a reply »

Jaromir Jagr’s career has been one of the finest in NHL history. Just before Christmas he moved into second on the NHL’s all-time points list, and he’s unquestionably headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame whenever he eventually retires.

The crazy thing is there was room for him to achieve even more. Even if we ignore the three separate lockouts that cost him games over his career, Jagr took a three-season detour to the KHL before returning to the NHL in 2011. What if he had spent those years in North America instead of Europe?

Obviously, there’s an element of path dependence to that question. We can’t know how playing three years overseas has affected Jagr’s career. There’s a big difference between playing 50-odd games in those larger KHL rinks than there is playing 82 contests per year in the close quarters of North American hockey. Injury and/or earlier retirement are real possibilities, though it's possible he would have just kept playing anyway.

What we can do is approximate how he might have played in the NHL over those three seasons.

The first way to do this is with ...

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