SUNRISE, Fla. - Jaromir Jagr is one of only a few men that have been able to outskate Father Time for the better part of four decades. The legendary 45-year-old continues to shine on the ice for the Florida Panthers and was astoundingly effective in his second full season in Sunrise.
Jagr, the oldest active player in the NHL, proved effective for the Panthers and extremely durable, recording 46 points (16-30-46) while competing in all 82 games for the first time since 2013-14.
His teammates, however, weren't so lucky. After coming together to form one of the league's most formidable scoring lines in 2015-16, Jagr unfortunately had to play through the majority of this past season without his two primary linemates, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, who missed a combined 72 games due to injury.
"Those two guys are pretty key players for us," Jagr said after cleaning out his locker at the BB&T Center in April. "With them in the lineup we probably would have had different results in some games, especially early in the season, but it just didn't happen. Injuries are a part of the sport, but when you lose two guys like that it's not easy to overcome."
Still, even without the help of two of Florida's brightest stars, Jagr still managed to produce well beyond the expectations for a player of his age, piling up points while reaching various historic milestones on what felt like almost a weekly basis. On Dec. 23, Jagr passed Mark Messier to claim sole possession of second place on the NHL's all-time scoring list, earning the 1,888th point of his legendary career with an assist in a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Jagr recorded point No. 1,888 in his 1,663rd game. Messier hit his total of 1,887 in 1,756 games. Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL's all-time points mark with 2,857, which he accomplished in just 1,487 games played.
"The only way you can play, and do what he's doing right now, is to make sure you are putting in the time for your conditioning and taking care of yourself," Messier said of Jagr's dedication. "The game has to be the No. 1 priority in your life because it takes a lot of time to prepare each and every game, let alone each and every season. You've got to give Jaromir a lot of credit for what he's been able to do early in his career, and then maybe even more credit for how he's been able to sustain himself."
With yet another season in the books - the 23rd of his illustrious NHL career - Jagr now finds himself near the top of the league's all-time lists in nearly every major offensive category, ranking second in points (1,914), fifth in assists (1,149) and fourth in games played (1,711).
"Whatever you wish for, you can accomplish anything as long as you work and you love it," Jagr said in December. "I still love the game. Thanks to the Florida Panthers, they gave me the opportunity to play here. I love the game. I'm willing to do anything to play as long as I can."
If there's one thing Jagr's got a lot of, it's awesome mullet photos from the '90s.
If there's another thing he's got a lot of, it's cool stats.
For example, with two assists in a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers on March 17, Jagr tied, then passed Gordie Howe for the most points by a player after turning 40.
Howe, whose final NHL game came at the age of 52, finished his Hall of Fame career with 268 points after turning 40. Jagr, who currently has 277 points since hitting the quadruple decade mark, joked (we think) that his sights will now be set on catching Mr. Hockey for the most points after 50.
"I'm going to pass him for most points after 50," Jagr said after the game, flashing his signature grin.
In the first of two three-point games he would record during the season, Jagr had a goal and two assists to help lead the Panthers to a 4-1 victory over the Senators in Ottawa on Nov. 19.
After the game, Jagr, who was honored as the night's second star, opted to shy away from the spotlight, instead giving all of the credit to his goaltender and the game's first star, Roberto Luongo.
"The score says we won 4-1," Jagr said, "but Lou saved three or four goals at least, so we have to thank him."
Video: Jagr, Luongo lead Panthers over Senators, 4-1
GOAL OF THE YEAR
These dekes will make you dizzy.
After stealing the puck away from defenseman Josh Manson behind Anaheim's net, Jagr uses some fancy stickhandling to freeze and then beat goaltender John Gibson to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead over the Ducks on Feb. 17.
Video: FLA@ANA: Jagr steals puck and scores after nice dekes