Monday, June 20, 2011

Sweepstakes for Jagr?

rangersWord that there is some suitor shopping going on by the agent of Jaromir Jagr has got a little bit of buzz to it these days.

The 39-year old Czech winger has spent the last few seasons as one of the best players in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia and might be shopping his services around in the NHL in hopes that might get him some more money back in Russia, where salary caps don't really exist.

The rumour mill has the Penguins, Red Wings and Canadiens in on his services, although by the sound of some ramblings on rumour sites, Montreal may be less into Jagr than the other two teams.  The Penguins should have some pull, being the original team that Jagr played for in the NHL, while the Red Wings are a team that enjoys taking on ageing veterans for their poise and coach-ability, while the Habs are a team that have seemingly been on Jagr's radar, as a team that he would like to play for.

It is somewhat unclear as to how much a team would be able to offer a player like Jagr, as he had shown at the Vancouver Olympics, his skills haven't really diminished in his time over in Russia and he was a top-dollar player (whether he deserved it or not) when he was last playing in the NHL, back in 2008.

The Red Wings do have some cap space available, but I couldn't see them making a move for Jagr unless it was on their terms, which would likely put the cap hit down around $2.5 to $3 million, at best.  The Penguins are in even worse shape than Detroit, having less cap space to worry about, but the allure of a top end scoring winger for either one of their top two centres must have some appeal to it.

Personally, I have no nostalgic feeling for Jagr, so I could really care less as to whether or not he actually comes back.  If this isn't an elaborate ruse to suck more money out of the KHL teams, I would think that this is a significant blow to the KHL's credibility as a hockey league, especially one that is trying to rival the NHL.  Jagr wanted to play hockey closer to home and make a lot of money doing it, but I would think that the competitive drive of most players would still like the game to be at its best for a player of his calibre to still be playing in it.  Taking less money to play better hockey, that could be damaging for the KHL, if they ever could make a big push for another superstar free agent out of North America.

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