How Jaromir Jagr and the Sharks Have a Lot in Common

What does Calgary Flames winger Jaromir Jagr have in common with Shane Doan, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano, Teemu Selanne, and Ray Whitney? They're the only players to score points in three different decades against the San Jose Sharks. 

Jagr, 45, is the only player besides Modano on that list whose NHL career predates the Sharks' existence, and the only one who remains active. He's projected to play Thursday night against San Jose, according to Sportsnet 590, and will become the second-oldest player to play against the Sharks.  

If he plays in one of the next two matchups between San Jose and Calgary in March, he'll be the oldest. It'd be a fitting accomplishment for one of the sport's foremost athletic freaks, who's not only beaten the odds to remain in the league in his 40s, but stayed effective. .

He's on pace for the lowest points per game of his career, but is still averaging nearly 0.4 points per game and remains a positive possession player in terms of raw numbers and relative to his teammates. 

All as a 45-year-old.  

Despite spending the vast majority of his career in the Eastern Conference, Jagr's something of a living time capsule when it comes to the Sharks. Jagr's witnessed the franchise's evolution firsthand, from doormat to contender. 

In Jagr's first four games against San Jose, his Pittsburgh Penguins outscored the Sharks 32-7. They won all four of those games. 

In his first 12, Jagr's Penguins won nine games, tied twice, and lost just once. The last of those wins came at the beginning of the 1997-98 season.

Since then, Jagr's teams have only beaten San Jose four times with him in the lineup. The Sharks, meanwhile, have only missed the postseason twice over that span. 

A small sample size (21 games over 20 seasons), the end of the Penguins' contention in the 1990s, his subsequent departure from Pittsburgh, and three seasons played outside of the NHL entirely are all contributing factors to the disparity. But the biggest, of coure, is San Jose's own emergence. 

The franchise finds itself in a similar position to Jagr, as the NHL's fifth-oldest team looking to stay relevant as the rest of the league keeps getting younger. Like Jagr, they aren't scoring as much as they have in the past (20th in goals per game), but remain relatively effective.

They're two points up on Anaheim for the division's final playoff spot with four games in hand, but it's an open question whether or not they're too old to make a deep playoff run. 

Assuming Jagr plays tonight and in the final two games of the season series, this will be the most Sharks fans have seen him play against San Jose in a single season. It's better late than never to watch a living legend, just as it will be for the fanbase if the Sharks end the season with a Stanley Cup.

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