I still think the Devils could have signed Jagr if Kovy were still here. There were the rumors that the Devils were trying to trade for him in the lockout year, which appear credible as I recall it was from the same source that had him signing with the Devils as a free agent. Ryder and Brunner were really the Kovy substitutes.
First, it's not a ridiculous post, and if anything it kind of helps focus on the state of the franchise even if we're talking about hypotheticals.
The answer to your question though lies in whether you believe the Devils can make the playoffs I the next three to four years. If the answer is yes, which I believe it is, an elite goalie can get you very far into the playoffs pretty much on his own. It's also not a stretch at all to assume that he'll be almost as good at the end of his deal. He's only 28 and doesn't have a ton of mileage under him. In fact, a lot less at this stage of his career than Lundqvist, Price or Luongo.
Guess I'll be the contrarian and say I was hoping for a prospect who could play relatively soon. For some reason I had it my head that he could be part of a deal to St. Louis for a player like Barbashev, but what do I know.
Still, if Florida ends up missing the playoffs the second rounder is something like number 45, so perhaps there's some flexibility to move up in the first round to get a Marner or Strome.
So how is this unfortunate for the Devils exactly? They may pony up a little more given their situation if they legit think Jagr can help them. I don't think Chicago is gonna be like 'Oh we lost Kane, time to give up now'. He's great, but he's one player.
They won't give up, but at the same time it makes less sense to part with something of value when it's less likely that they'll win the Cup.