FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Stars will have to wait one more day to see their newest acquisition on the ice.
Signed to a one-year free agent contract last summer, 40-year-old winger Jaromir Jagr didn't arrive in town from his native Czech Republic until early Friday. A case of jet lag delayed his initial appearance at the club's practice facility.
"The guy's just a presence in our locker room," said Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan, whose club missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season last year. "And when you have a guy of that stature and that ability, it makes people think you can win every night and that can be infectious."
The good news is Jagr probably won't need much time to work himself into game shape, as he's already been playing for the Czech team he owns, Kladno. With 24 goals and a league-leading 57 points in 34 games, the two-time Stanley Cup winner (1991-92 with Pittsburgh) seems to have plenty left in the tank.
The NHL's eighth-ranked all-time scorer with 1,653 points, Jagr returned to the league last season after spending three in Russia and compiled 19 goals and 54 points in 73 games with the Flyers. He had a goal in 11 playoff games.
One area Jagr will surely help is on the Stars' power play, which ranked dead last in the NHL last season with a franchise-worst 13.5 percent efficiency.
"We're going to put him in his position where he's had the most success, which is kind of running it off the half-wall," Gulutzan said. "He's an offensive guy, he's going to play around 17 minutes a night for us in key offensive situations and we're excited to have him."
Another key offseason acquisition, especially for the power play, is fellow 40-year-old winger Ray Whitney. The 21-year veteran, who finished 13th in the NHL last year with 77 points (24 goals, 53 assists) while helping Phoenix reach the Western Conference finals, will provide offense and leadership alongside captain Brenden Morrow.