So far, 766 players have played in the NHL this season. Just 455 of those, or 58%, were born before the end of 1990. Jagr has played against players born from 1951 (Guy Lafleur) to 1998 (Patrik Laine). Yet he’s still here, and reached an incredible milestone on Tuesday night: Jagr is now tied with Mark Messier for second all-time in NHL scoring.
With three assists against the Sabres, Jagr now has 755 goals, 1,132 assists, and 1,887 points. That’s 524 points more than the next highest active player, Joe Thornton. The 45-year-old Jagr is now playing in his twenty-third NHL season, and has played for eight teams.
The new top five for all-time points looks like this, until Jagr gets his next:
1. Wayne Gretzky – 2,857 points in 1487 games
T2. Jaromir Jagr – 1,887 points in 1662 games
T2. Mark Messier – 1,887 points in 1756 games
3. Gordie Howe – 1,850 points in 1767 games
4. Ron Francis – 1,798 points in 1731 games
5. Marcel Dionne – 1,771 points in 1348 games
Jagr has said that he wants to play until he’s at least 50-years-old. Should he average 50 points from now until then, he would end up in the neighborhood of 2,150 points. While he would still be 700 points behind Gretzky, he would be the first, and likely only NHLer to ever surpass Gretzky’s assist total. The first years of fantasy hockey pools had a rule: no one could take Gretzky, it was either his goals or his assists. That rule was there for a good reason, as Gretzky still has more assists than any other player in history has points, with 1,963. TSN’s Frank Seravelli wrote that Jagr would need to start another Hall of Fame career to even come close to Gretzky, but says “finishing second only to Gretzky, though, is sort of like being first among the rest of the nearly 6,000 other mere mortals to play in the NHL.”
While it may seem like a longshot for anyone to play until the age of 50, Jagr is still having fun. He’s brought back his legendary mullet from the 1990s and is still one of the most dedicated players in the league when it comes to staying in shape. He once told Sportsnet Magazine:
“The time between when I quit hockey and I die, I want it to be the shortest. It’s not going to be as exciting, that time. So as long as I can play, that’s what I’m doing. If I can play ’til I die, that’s what I will do. What else are you gonna do?”