Tag: free agent rumors

Jaromir Jagr of the Czech Republic (Fron

Jagr to the Penguins a done deal?


The hockey world was told that Jaromir Jagr would make his decision on Wednesday. As Thursday has come and gone, we still haven’t heard any official statements to shed any more light onto the dimly lit situation. However, on Thursday night we now have a strong clue as to where the five-time scoring leader will land for the 2010-11 season.

Ray Shero and the Pittsburgh Penguins: come on down, you’re the next contestant on the Price is Right! Philadelphia Flyers beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo of the DelCo Daily Times has been pounding the phones and gives us the most insight into the Jagr melodrama to date.  According to SanFilippo, it’s a done deal with the Penguins and all that remains is the official announcement.

If only that were the whole story.

I was told Jagr has already told Lemieux that he’s going to sign with Pittsburgh and that the Penguins have a huge front page for their Web site ready to go live at Noon tomorrow with a big “welcome home” theme.

Why the delay then?

From what I was told Jagr’s agent Petr Svoboda may have been trying to lure another team into offering Jagr a bit more money so he can put a PR spin like “I turned down more money to come back to Pittsburgh.”

In a situation that has had more twists and turns than a Six Flags ride, SanFilippo’s report could be the beginning of the end for #JagrWatch. The interesting bit is that even though a deal could be done in principle, Jagr’s agent is still working opposition organizations to drive the price up.

Sure, that makes sense. But when it comes out that the only reason for talking is to increase bargaining power, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? There’s supposed to be an actual threat that the player may take another offer. If he’s already told the Pens that he intends to sign in Pittsburgh and they’re rolling out the digital welcome mat, why would opposing GMs even pick up the phone? Would they continue to negotiate in an attempt to drive up the price for the Penguins? Then again, is it even possible for Ray Shero and Co. to feel desperation at this point? Doubtful.

While some of the best teams in the league are championing for Jagr’s services, it’s still worth asking if Jagr is worth all of the trouble. His play started slipping in his last season with the New York Rangers in 2007-08. In the three years since, he’s been less than a point-per-game player with Avangard Omsk in the KHL. If/when he returns to the NHL next season, will we see the player who has steadily declined over the last five years or will we see the player who captured hockey fans’ imagination at the 2010 Olympics?

The Penguins, Red Wings, Canadiens, etc. are betting that he’s still an elite player who can make a difference on a contender. Judging by the attention the story has received, it sounds like hockey fans around North America agree. Only one more day and we’ll find out if he plans on making a triumphant return to Pittsburgh.

With the way this has played out, it may take more than one day.

Update: And so it begins. Petr Svoboda has already told Scott Burnside: “There’s a lot more teams now we’re talking to…” Are these legitimate offers or is he just trying to drive the price up for the Penguins?

Flyers, Ducks among teams reportedly interested in Ray Emery’s comeback

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It makes sense that the Philadelphia Flyers and Anaheim Ducks are among the three or four teams who expressed interest in the possible (and courageous) NHL comeback of goalie Ray Emery.

After all, each team received an up close and personal account of the fiery goalie during his healthier days. Emery’s most recent NHL season came with the Flyers in 2009-10, as his campaign was cut short by that hip injury and the surgery it necessitated. (It’s kind of hard to believe that was only a season ago, right?)

The Ducks, meanwhile, played against Emery in the Stanley Cup finals when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators. While Anaheim more or less dominated Ottawa in that series, Emery played well in those contests and was fantastic during that playoff run in general.

Philadelphia always seems interested in adding some depth to its goaltending position, so it makes sense that they might be inquiring about their former starter. Anaheim would make it even more sense, though, since they are making Jonas Hiller start almost every game thanks to their shaky backup Curtis McElhinney. Hiller already played in 47 games so far, the second highest total of his career (his highest mark is 59, a total he’s likely to pass).

The third rumored team wasn’t named, so let the speculation begin. Was it his old squad in Ottawa? Maybe the constant goalie rumor targets in Long Island? Maybe the Detroit Red Wings are willing to give him a shot? Feel free to debate the mystery team’s identity in the comments. (Although other reports indicate there might be four teams in the mix. How exciting.)

We’ll let you know if any of those Emery flirtations amount to something more substantial. For those of you still suffering from Evgeni Nabokov Waiver Claim Disorder, relax; he didn’t play overseas this season so if a team signs him, he’ll be on their roster.

Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly eye offensive D Marc-Andre Bergeron


The Tampa Bay Lightning have a lot of talent. Obviously, there is Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis along with the on-the-mend French Canadian duo of Simon Gagne and Vincent Lecavalier. They also boast a decent amount of talent on defense, with 2009’s second overall pick Victor Hedman joined by Pavel Kubina and Mattias Ohlund.

Apparently, they aren’t especially happy with their defense when it comes to power play quarterbacking, though.

The team often employs the crafty forward St. Louis on the man advantage, but if well-founded rumors are correct, GM Steve Yzerman & Co. are looking to amend that by adding a specialist. Damian Cristodero reports that PP point generator Marc-Andre Bergeron’s agent Paul Corbeil claims that the team has serious interest in his client.

As with most late-to-the-party free agents, there is a catch, though.

“He’s one of the best defensemen on the power play in the NHL,” Corbeil said.

Bergeron also is coming off summer knee surgery. Corbeil said his client will be examined next week and could be cleared to start practicing with a team by the beginning of December. In other words, Bergeron’s inclusion in any lineup, as Corbeil said he is talking to several other teams, is not imminent.

“I’d say they are serious,” Corbeil said of the Lightning. “They are doing their homework about Marc-Andre, and I am doing it about them. I think it would be a good match.”

Bergeron certainly brings some skill to the table. He crossed the 30-point threshold three times in his seven year NHL career and has one other season with 46 points, his career high. He’s also French Canadian, which one would assume would help him fit in on the Lightning.

That being said, he does have knee problems and while he can quarterback a power play, he’s gone through much of his career garnering criticism for his defensive play. It might be weeks before this flirtation even turns into anything substantial, but if it does, we’ll pass along news about this new relationship.