Being 36 years old in the NHL for an average player generally means retirement is on the horizon. Don’t tell that to Jaromir Jagr, who confirmed today he’ll be playing his 36th straight season of pro hockey, suiting up with his hometown team, Rytiri Kladno, in the Czech Extraliga. Jagr, the team’s majority owner, doesn’t ride the bench at age 51, either. His 14 points in 26 games last season still placed him top ten on the team in scoring as Kladno narrowly managed to avoid relegation to the 1. liga for the second straight season. This season, he’ll be once again joined by team captain Tomas Plekanec, as the longtime Montreal Canadiens pivot is still active overseas at age 40. Longtime NHLer Michael Frolik is also suiting up for Kladno in 2023-24 after playing last season in the Extraliga with Bili Tygri Liberec. Jagr has played for Kladno ever since his NHL career ended in 2018 with the Calgary Flames.
Other notes from around hockey on this Saturday night:
- Groundbreaking British prospect Liam Kirk spoke to PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan recently after mutually terminating his entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Last season was a roller coaster ride for Kirk, who was healthy after a knee injury sidelined him for most of 2021-22. Loaned to ECHL Atlanta and then overseas to Jukurit in Finland, Kirk says he “didn’t really hear from the Coyotes” throughout the campaign and was even more confused after AHL Tucson was still active after his season in Finland ended without recalling him. Kirk, the first player born and developed in England to be drafted by an NHL team, has a one-year deal with HC Litvinov in Czechia next season, where he’s expected to play a top-six role. The 23-year-old remains in pursuit of another NHL opportunity down the line.
- Pittsburgh Penguins 2019 first-round pick Samuel Poulin is back on the ice with the team during rookie camp after taking a four-month leave of absence to deal with his mental health last season, telling NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale he “feel[s] great” and is looking forward to competing for a roster spot. It’s been a tough transition to pro hockey for Poulin, who put up strong numbers in the QMJHL but had just four goals and no assists in 15 games with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Laval product can play all three forward positions.