It is hard to believe but it has now been 20 years since legendary National Hockey League forward Jaromir Jagr was officially a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, 20 years exactly to the day.
On this day in 2001 the Penguins made the fateful decision to trade away their star forward to the Washington Capitals, a move that would be almost unthinkable today given the rivalry the two franchises have built up over the years, in a move that no doubt drastically altered the fates of both franchises and Jagr himself.
Some will be shocked to learn that the Penguins would have traded such a legendary franchise player in the first place, and I suspect that the way players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are currently being treated by the franchise may be due in part to current Penguins ownership feeling that Jagr should also have been a lifelong member of the Penguins, but even more shocking is what he was traded for. The Penguins targeted three prospects from the Capitals in the trade and those prospects were Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk, all 3 men players you don't likely remember.
Of the 3 it would only be Kris Beech that would have any real impact at the NHL level, appearing in 198 career games split between the Capitals, Penguins, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks in which he recorded 25 goals and 42 assists for 67 career points.Sivek only made 38 appearances for the Penguins recording 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 career points in the NHL, while Lupaschuk appeared in just 3 games for the Penguins and never recorded a point in the NHL.
Fans of the Penguins who will be horrified upon learning of the return can take some solace in the fact that Jagr's performance dipped considerably following the trade. After putting up 121 points in his final season with the Penguins he never collected more than 79 points for the Capitals with whom he would only play 3 seasons. It wasn't until his time with the Rangers that he would once again surpass that mark, recording 123 points in the 2005 - 2006 NHL season with that organization.
A memorable trade to be sure, but perhaps for all of the wrong reasons.