Reporting Bob Pompeani
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Talks continue in Jaromir Jagr’s efforts to return to the NHL. The agent of the former Pittsburgh Penguins star says there could be new developments within the next few days.
This is normally a very busy week in the NHL with the draft taking place this weekend, this year in Minnesota.
It’s a time when general managers and agents are all in the same place at the same time. That means a deal for Jagr could be signed by Saturday night.
The Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings appear to be the two most interested teams.
Even at age 39, Jagr has the talent to help a team, especially on the power play.
He was terrific in the recently-played World Championships. Plus, this is where he got his start, spending 11 seasons with the Penguins – winning two Stanley Cups, one Hart Trophy and five Art Ross Trophies.
However, there are two things that the Penguins have to figure out before they agree to a deal.
The first is, does the money make sense. The Penguins don’t have a lot of money to spend under the cap and have several of their own players still without contracts.
Sources tell KDKA’s Bob Pompeani that the Penguins would be willing to offer a one-year deal for $2 million plus incentives, but not much more.
The second is that the Penguins must believe that Jagr would be okay with handling a subservient role. He will be a contributor, not a centerpiece, and can he handle that role without becoming a distraction within the locker room.
That might be a big reason why Jagr was scheduled to speak directly with owner Mario Lemieux today.
Jagr’s agent Petr Svoboda will be in this country this weekend, presumable to finalize a deal with either the Penguins or the Red Wings.
The other factor in the talks will center on the Penguin current centermen.
If they chose to keep Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal all at center, then the need for a guy like Jagr would increase.
However, if they move Staal to a top six position and on a line with Malkin – which was the plan last year – then, Jagr’s talents might not be needed.