The race to bring Jaromir Jagr back to the NHL after being away from the league for the past three seasons has officially reached a fever pitch. With both the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins expressing the most interest in the 39 year-old future Hall of Famer the competition to see who can land him is apparently fierce and now his former team in Pittsburgh has made the first move.
Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports tonight that the Penguins have made a one-year offer to Jagr to bring him back to Pittsburgh for the first time since the end of the 2000-2001 season.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero confirmed this evening that he has offered free agent right winger Jaromir Jagr a one-year contract — he declined to divulge the financial aspects of the proposal — and said he expect to learn Wednesday whether Jagr will accept it.
“We feel from the information we have and after seeing at world championships, that he’s a guy who might be able to help us this coming season,” Shero said. “We feel he’s a guy who could help us this year, and retire as a Penguin.”
Shero setting things up to be decided tomorrow helps him and the Penguins better prepare for what will be a busy, but lackluster free agent kick off party on Friday afternoon. If Jagr’s interests lie elsewhere be it in Detroit or somewhere else, then the Penguins can get over the hysteria that’s gripped Pittsburgh wondering if the legendary winger who helped the Penguins to two Stanley Cups in the early 90s will return or not.
The worth of the offer is unknown for now but Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi reports that the offer could be around $2 million for the season. That might sound a bit high for a guy who’s been out of the NHL for three seasons and is 39 years-old, but if used properly and accompanied by the right linemates Jagr could be very productive. With guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh or Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in Detroit, Jagr would be right at home with some of the best players in the NHL.
It’s unknown when or if Detroit’s GM Ken Holland will jump into the fray, but for now and through tomorrow, Jagrwatch is on big time in Pittsburgh.