It doesn’t look like Jaromir Jagr will not be returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The news broke all over Twitter that the Pittsburgh Penguins have apparently withdrawn their offer to the Czech superstar. The offer was a one year, two-million dollar contract.
It was later confirmed by the Pittsburgh Penguins official website.
We made what we thought was a very fair contract offer to Jaromir on Tuesday, based on his stated interest of returning to the Penguins,” said Ray Shero, the team’s executive vice president and general manager.
“We made our best offer from the start, given our salary cap structure, in an attempt to facilitate a deal. But now, after several days, with an extended time frame for making a decision, and additional teams getting involved, we have decided to move in a different direction. It was never our intention to get involved in a free agent bidding war, and we have to focus on our team.”
It looks like the Penguins wanted a decision from Jagr before the free agent madness starts at noon. The Penguins have several players who will become unrestricted free agents including Tyler Kennedy and Mike Rupp. It is rumoured that Penguins general manager Ray Shero is still interested in signing at least one of those players.
Alex Kovalev, Max Talbot and others will test free agency, as will Rupp. It’s known that Kovalev will not return and the Toronto Maple Leafs have shown interest in Max Talbot.
The Penguins have about $5.6 million in cap space and they certainly need help on the wings. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the team is close to signing Tyler Kennedy but they will need to make a couple other signings as well. EDIT: The deal with Kennedy is now done.
Jagr has also seen interest from the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens and possibly others. Some rumours say that 12 NHL teams were involved at some point. Despite saying his “heart is in Pittsburgh,” you’d have to assume that the Red Wings are now the destination of choice for Jagr. Nope. Apparently the Red Wings are out of the bidding war as well.
It seems like Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, has been trying to start a bidding war for Jagr’s services as there were reports that several other NHL teams have entered the race for Jagr recently. It now looks like this strategy was working and the price was going up too high for Pittsburgh.
So where will Jagr sign? Will he sign today or will the “Jagr Watch” continue across the NHL?