With Drew Stafford signing this morning, many fans are turning their sights to Jaromir Jagr and Thomas Vanek, arguably the top two names left on the open market. Both have had rumors recently about renewed interest, but it’s now late August and neither has found a team.
As we’ve looked at in the past, Jagr is one of several players from the Czech Republic who could give his country a huge boost for the upcoming Winter Olympics. The NHL isn’t going, and Jagr could play in Europe until after the international tournament. Thomas Vanek is not so lucky.
Vanek is Austrian, and though he captained his country’s team in the 2014 Games he won’t get the same chance in 2018 regardless of where he plays his hockey. Austria—playing without Vanek—got crushed by Latvia in Olympic qualifying 8-1 and then again by Germany 6-0 last summer to get knocked out of contention, despite ranking nearly ten spots higher than the host South Korean team in the world rankings. There’s no Olympic incentive for him, making his continued free agency something of a mystery.
So, we ask you reader what you think will happen this season. Coming off 46 and 48 point seasons respectively will Jagr and Vanek both suit up for an NHL game in 2017-18? Or depart for the professional leagues abroad?
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