NHL Free Agency started two weeks ago and two major names that remain unsigned are Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla. Both players are former Art Ross Trophy winners, however, neither has won that award since the early parts of this century. Jagr was most recently with the Florida Panthers while Iginla did a brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings to conclude the 2016/17 season. At the ages of 45 and 40 respectively, both players are risky to sign. However, each still appears to be able to contribute in a supporting role.

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Jagr still good enough for NHL

Jagr's productivity dropped off a lot in the 2016/17 season. He was still very effective in the previous year, tallying 66 points in 79 games for Florida. That productivity did a lot to help the Panthers win the Atlantic Division in 2015/16, a surprise title for the club. However, last season he had just 46 points in 82 games. If his numbers continue to slide then, depending on the contract size he wants, that makes him a risky signing for NHL clubs.

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Last season Jagr was still able to command roughly $5.5M (base salary + incentive; contract details from Spotrac) from Florida on a one-year deal. However, after posting just better than a half-point per game, clubs will be wary of offering that kind of money to him. He should still find a contract somewhere and he would still be a good pickup in the $1.75M to $2.25M range.

Jarome Iginla talks retirement

The same could be said about Jarome Iginla, however, his stats dipped in a big way last season.

As a member of the Colorado Avalanche, the veteran had just 18 points in 61 games. When he moved over to Los Angeles at the late stages of the season, his production improved. The Kings failed to make the playoffs, but the former NHL MVP had 6 goals in 19 games and some assists.

In short, when he left Colorado, an egregious team, and joined a team that was only a little below average Iginla's production improved.

That 18 points in 61 games might be a red herring that reflects more on Colorado as a whole than Iginla as an individual. If you disregard his production in Colorado, where he had almost no good linemates to play alongside, and instead focus on what could be some remaining goal-scoring potential, he could be a half-point per game guy still. Iginla made $2.75M last season at the age of 39 and might also be a good pickup still in the $1.75M to $2.25M range.

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However, with Iginla, there is some retirement buzz. He was recently quoted in a Marty Hastings article at Kamloops This Week. “It’s not as cut and dry as when I was young and we didn’t have any kids,” Iginla said, regarding jumping around the NHL with a family. “There is a point where we don’t want to keep moving (the kids)" (July 13th, 2017).

We've seen aging veterans command a lot more in the free-agent market than what their on-ice production would suggest they should be paid.

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Both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were able to get big contracts ($8M and $6.25M respectively) for next season despite drop offs in production. A reason for that is the players' names have value, even if they are passed their primes. A GM that signs a former star does something to appease some fans that look more at the name than the stats.

For that reason, if a team signs either Jagr or Iginla based on their names instead of what they can do, then that team risks bogging itself down with a big contract that might not produce on-ice results. In short, if it's about the money Jagr and Iginla could probably get decent offers on a non-contender. If it's about winning in the twilight of their careers, then they have to accept the going rate for what they did on the ice last season and a peripheral role. With Iginla, that might mean looking passed what he did in Denver and focusing on his Los Angeles numbers. But both Jagr and Iginla were able to avoid missed games last season despite their ages. Where they end up and in what role (if any) is an interesting aspect of NHL free agency still.

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