Newly acquired Dallas forward Jaromir Jagr conducted his introductory presser on Thursday and told reporters that coming to Texas wasn’t his first choice, surely thrilling the Stars in the process.
Dallas might not have even been his second choice.
As per NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman, Jagr said his original goal was to play next season in Montreal, but the Canadiens weren’t interested in acquiring his services.
Not that this comes as a huge surprise. On Monday, TSN’s Darren Dreger first reported Jagr’s interest in Montreal, the same team that employs Czech countryman Tomas Plekanec. Jagr had also stated in the past his desire to play in Canada — especially in Montreal.
The Jagr-to-Habs development hit a snag, though, when it was learned the 4o-year-old wanted $4 million in salary, a price point apparently out of GM Marc Bergevin’s range (or comfort level.)
It turns out Montreal wasn’t the only team Jagr was looking at.
He also noted his former team, Philadelphia, could’ve been in the mix as well — but that possibility died when Flyers GM Paul Holmgren went silent after the season ended.
“If they really wanted me back I think they would probably make some kind of talk before free agency,” Jagr said. “Because they had a chance.”
Update: Here’s the full audio of Jagr’s conference call, if you feel like listening. The key quotes…
“I always wanted to play in Canada and I wanted to go to Montreal if I had a chance, but Montreal wasn’t interested. All of a sudden I got a phone call form Joe Nieuwendyk that Dallas was interested.
“After the season — even during the season — I thought I would re-sign in Philadelphia, but I guess they wanted to go in a different direction. They were waiting for Parise and Suter, and probably I would have to wait until right now to try to negotiate a new deal with the Flyers and I didn’t want to wait.”