He became in 1990 the first Czechoslovak to be drafted to the NHL without needing to defect to the West beforehand when the Pittsburgh Penguins made him their first pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pens as a support player during his first years before being given more room to let his talent flourish. In 1994-95, he won the Art Ross Trophy. Although tied with Eric Lindros, his 32 goals were better than Lindros' 29. The next season, he posted career highs for goals (62) and assists (87); his 149 points that season still stand as a record for the most points by an European. He then became the Pens' captain.
After a poor stay with the
Washington Capitals, Jágr ended up with the New York Rangers, where he retrieved his scoring touch and helped the team climb back to a level of respectability it had lost over the last few years.