30 best NHL players of the 21st century: 10. Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr probably feels too low at just 10 on the list, but really look at the stats. The ageless wonder left for the KHL in the middle of his prime, and when he returned, he was still really good, but no longer a superstar.
Jagr started the century about as good as anyone could have imagined. He won back-to-back Art Ross Trophies during his final two seasons in Pittsburgh. He was then traded to the Washington Capitals, where he struggled to hit the insane numbers he had in the Steel City. He was still putting up close to a point per game, but the 100-point seasons seemed to be behind him.
Then, he was traded to the New York Rangers in the middle of the 2003-04 season, and he ended up getting new life. He scored 123 points in the first season after the lockout, which was his first full season in New York. He followed it up with 96 the next season. After struggling the next season, he took a flight to Russia and didn’t come back for a few years.
After announcing his return to the NHL in the 2011 offseason, he ended up signing with the Philadelphia Flyers (which did not make Penguins fans, who thought they had a chance to sign him, happy). He was pretty good for the rest of his career, which spanned seven more seasons while playing for six different teams.
He still had a 20-goal, 60-point ceiling well into his 40s. If he was able to play with a superstar, he could probably do more, but he chose to play with teams like the Devils and Panthers where he could be an integral part of the offense. He also turned from one of the most hated players in the league to possibly the most universally liked by the end of his career. That might be the most impressive turnaround of Jagr’s career.