Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Agent, Oilers mum on Jaromir Jagr rumors
The hockey world was buzzing Tuesday with the rumor that Jaromir Jagr was contemplating a return to the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers.
The story originated from an Edmonton Journal blog, which pointed to a source close to Jagr saying a deal was in the works with the team.
Oilers GM Steve Tambellini had no comment when reached by ESPN.com, while the club denied the story to TSN of Canada.
Pat Brisson, who along with J.P. Barry of CAA Sports was Jagr's last NHL representation, said he had no knowledge of the situation.
"We haven't heard from Jaromir in five months," Brisson told ESPN.com.
One source close to the situation said that the Oilers would not be signing Jagr any time soon, but that they did in fact approach him recently. Jagr's apparent response, according to the source, was that he was committed to the contract he signed with Avangard Omsk in the KHL this past summer, a deal that does not include an out clause. The contract is believed to be a two-year deal that has an option for a third. It pays him around $7 million tax-free a season.
Or does it still? Financial problems have hammered some KHL teams with the devaluation of the Russian ruble. Former Ottawa Senators goalie Ray Emery left his KHL team last week after a payment dispute. Perhaps the Oilers smelled an opportunity. After all, the Oilers had made a strong bid for Jagr in July, offering the veteran Czech winger a one-year deal worth $8 million.
"Edmonton was probably the biggest offer I got," Jagr told us in an interview July 4. "It was a great offer, to be honest with you.
I wish them good luck and thanks to [then-GM] Kevin Lowe and the new owner. It wasn't an easy decision."
Keep in mind, however, that if and when Jagr were to sign with an NHL team this season (it would have to be before the March 4 trade deadline for him to qualify for postseason play), he would have to clear NHL waivers. That certainly puts another fly in the ointment.
Still, did we tell you that the cell phone of Oilers president Lowe rang with an overseas tone when we dialed it Tuesday?