Capitals trade Jagr to Rangers

Jaromir Jagr has finally become a New York Ranger.

The Washington Capitals shipped Jagr to the Rangers on Friday in exchange for right-winger Anson Carter.

"To be able to acquire a player of Jaromir's stature is a rarity in this business," said Glen Sather, the Rangers head coach and general manager.

"He has proven over his career that he is one of the top players in the world and we are looking forward to seeing him bring his elite play to New York."

Jagr is expected to make his debut in Ranger blue on Saturday against the Senators in Ottawa.

The deal between the two clubs has been on-again, off-again for months. According to reports, the cash-strapped Capitals first started talking to the Rangers about Jagr, the NHL's highest-paid player, at last summer's entry draft.

Speculation had New York and Washington close to completing a trade last July, then resuming talks in November.

At the time, however, Jagr reportedly was reluctant to waive the $11 million US option year on his current contract.

Under the terms of this deal, the Capitals will pay $20 million of the $44 million remaining on Jagr's seven-year, $77-million contact. The Rangers will pay the rest.

With the addition of Jagr, the big-spending, underachieving Rangers now have five players who make more than $6 million a season on their roster.

"We think we need a shot in the arm right now, (Jagr) was available, we made the deal. We think that he's going to help us get into the playoffs and go far into the playoffs once we get there," said Sather when asked about Jagr's acquisition.

The Rangers currently sit in 10th place in the NHL's Eastern Conference, two points out of a playoff spot.

"Everyone knows that given Jagr's talent, if he's put in the right situation with the right people around him, I don't think there's anybody that can argue that he can't help a team," Hockey Night in Canada analyst Kelly Hrudey told Sports Online.

"More importantly, he has to be in the right frame of mind and maybe on a team like the Rangers, maybe he'll fit in."

The Capitals aquired Jagr from the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the start of 2001-02 season. The Czech sniper was coming off a 121 point campaign. But with Washington, Jagr was never able to regain the form that made him the game's most dynamic player.

Jagr had just 79 points in his first season in a Capitals uniform. Last season he had just 77 points -- his lowest full-season production since his second year in the league in 1991-92.

And Jagr's disappointing play on the ice was mirrored by the Capitals' poor play as a team.

The Capitals didn't make the playoffs in Jagr's first season in Washington. They were eliminated in first round by the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.

In 46 games this season, Jagr has 16 goals and 29 assists for 45 points. He was named to Eastern Conference all-star squad on Thursday. The Capitals are 14 points out of a playoff spot.

The right-winger has tallied 522 goals and 1,280 points in 996 games since being drafted fifth overall by Pittsburgh in 1990.

Jagr has accumulated plenty of hardware too, including a pair of Stanley Cup rings in 1991 and 1992.

A five-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy as the leading point-getter in the NHL (1995, 1997-01), Jagr also captured the 1999 Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player.

The trade is homecoming of sorts for the 29-year-old Carter who began his NHL career with the Capitals in 1996-97. Carter played 19 games for Washington that season before being traded to the Boston Bruins as part of a multi-player deal that brought Bill Ranford, Adam Oates and Rick Tocchet to the Capitals.

"Anson is a proven 20-goal scorer, and we're glad to have him back in Washington," said Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee.

Carter, who led Canada to a gold medal at the IIHF World Hockey Championship last spring, has 153 goals and 174 assists in eight NHL seasons with the Rangers, Capitals, Bruins and Edmonton Oilers.

He has 10 goals and seven assists in 45 games with the Rangers this season.