It’s the calm before the Friday frenzy, and throughout the Interwebs bloggers are stirring, waiting for some quality keyboard mashing material.
Friends, these are stressful, tense times. It’s already Tuesday afternoon and Steven Stamkos is still slated to become a restricted free agent. But let’s not forget about the real meter movers: pending UFAs Tim Brent and Joey Crabb. What is Burkie doing! (clearly he’s signing Stamkos).
There are however some developing stories that deserve our undivided attention. Well, at least if you’re the sentimental type who swoons a 39-year-old former superstar potentially returning to his old team. If that sentence describes you then you’ve come to the right place, because all the kids are digging Jagr Watch.
It’s almost as popular as planking.
The latest news in Pittsburgh’s ongoing love affair with the return of Jaromir Jagr comes from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Yohe confirmed that Jagr’s agent Petr Svoboda has a meeting with Penguins GM Ray Shero Tuesday afternoon.
Svoboda told Yohe that an end to Jagr Watch is likely coming very soon.
“We are meeting this afternoon to talk about a deal,” Svoboda said. “Hopefully by tomorrow, we will know something.”
The Tribune’s Rob Rossi later reported that the meeting will not be taking place in person, while Yohe added that after signing forward Pascal Dupuis to a two-year, $3 million deal this morning, the Penguins are targeting Tyler Kennedy and Mike Rupp along with Jagr.
With the money they’ve now invested in Dupuis, Pittsburgh has done the unthinkable by jumping Philadelphia to become the league’s most cap crunched team. Shero has $6.4 million left to work with and nine free agent forwards still lingering (seven UFA, two RFA). Dustin Jeffrey and Kennedy are the two RFAs, and the combined cap hit of their expired contracts was about $800,000 last year. The Penguins didn’t extend a qualifying offer to Kennedy, meaning he’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he’s not signed by Friday. However, Kennedy’s agent said the team has clearly stated their interest in retaining the young left winger who scored a career-high 21 goals last year.
As painful as it will be to lose Hilary Duff’s presence in Pittsburgh and her sexting, the team has already said Mike Comrie is gone along with Alexei Kovalev. That leaves Rupp, Maxime Talbot, Eric Godard, Arron Asham, and Chris Conner as Pittsburgh’s remaining players set to hit the open market, a fivesome who accounted for a cap hit of roughly $3.9 million last year.
In a dream world where none of those players gets even a single dime more than the value of their recently expired contracts, Shero could theoretically sign all of his remaining UFAs and RFAs, and still have some uncomfortably tight wiggle room left against the cap to secure Jagr (about $1.7 million).
More realistically, signing Jagr will likely cost Pittsburgh one of the team’s proverbial grinders like Rupp, Godard, or Asham.