Mark Messier doesn’t see any signs of Jaromir Jagr slowing down.
The Hall of Fame center said Thursday that he has been waiting for Jagr to pass him on the NHL’s all-time scoring list for some time — and when you count Jagr’s totals playing in Europe, it has already happened.
While Messier had 11 points with the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA in 1978-79, Jagr notched 146 points in three seasons in the KHL from 2008-11.
Jagr passed the legendary Gordie Howe for third place in NHL scoring last season.
“In my own mind.” Messier said, “he surpassed me a long time ago. I had a chance in my first year pro and I amassed all of 11 points. So I wasn't quite as productive as he was.
“The total he's amassed as a professional hockey player is astounding.”
Messier is currently second on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,887 points in a career which spanned 25 seasons and six Stanley Cups with the Oilers, Canucks and Rangers.
Messier tearfully ended it in 2004 while playing with Jagr and the New York Rangers — the team he famously captained to the Cup in 1994. Messier then passed over the captain’s ‘C’ to Jagr.
Jagr had an assist in Florida’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night and is now within three points of tying Messier and four from taking second place all to himself.
“We have to win some hockey games, that’s the priority right now to me,” Jagr said before Thursday’s game in Winnipeg.
“I know if I just stay healthy and I’m going to play good, the points are going to come. The team is No. 1 for me right now.”
Wayne Gretzky leads all NHL players with 2,857 points, a mark which is more than likely to survive Jagr — who turns 45 later this season.
“When I watch Jaromir, when I see him play his shifts, he's still hustling to get the puck,” Messier said. “He is still very powerful on the puck. What it will boil down to, eventually, is what he wants and how he wants to contribute to the team as the team improves. …
“But there doesn't seem to be too many signs of him slowing down at this point.”
Messier said he hoped to be around when Jagr does eventually pass him, which, theoretically could come Friday night in Denver when the Panthers visit the Avs.
Florida returns home from this road trip and plays host to Buffalo on Tuesday. If Jagr doesn’t pass Messier on Friday — he hasn’t had four points in a single game since beating the Panthers 6-3 as a member of the Devils on March 31, 2014 — it will likely come on the Panthers extended five-game homestand.
The Panthers play eight of their next 10 in Sunrise.
“I would like to be there in person, if possible,” Messier said.
“I don't know if it's going to be possible or not, but I will certainly reach out to Jaromir and congratulate him when he does move into second place.”
JAGR MOVES UP THE NHL SCORING LIST
1. Wayne Gretzky 2,857 points (1,487 games)
2. Mark Messier 1,887 points (1,756 games)
3. Jaromir Jagr 1,884 points (1,660 games*)
(*) — Florida Panthers visit Colorado Avalanche on Friday at 9 p.m.