Jaromir Jagr’s performance for the Czech Republic
in the World Championships has added gasoline to the rumors of a potential NHL
return for No. 68.
Yesterday, Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal penned an
article with these comments from Jagr:
“You never know. Maybe it will be still fun to go back to
NHL,” Jagr said mere minutes after collecting a bronze medal at the IIHF world
hockey championship when the Czechs beat Russia 7-4 on Sunday. “Maybe Pittsburgh. I don’t know.
Maybe New York.
played there for a long time. Mario is the owner. It’s better to play with
great centres like (Sidney) Crosby
and (Evgeni) Malkin, (then) this game is a little bit easier and I’m not young
anymore. I would like to score some goals, empty-netters with those guys and
it’s a lot easier.”
I always had a great feeling about that city. They gave me a second chance. I
never forget about that. And Montreal and Canada, it’s
totally different hockey. The fans are crazy about hockey and I’ve never played
in my life. You never know.”
Other media outlets have reported that Jagr is deep into
negotiations with other KHL teams and may be using the NHL rumors as leverage.
But Jagr’s comments can’t be ignored.
At 39-years-old, he’s not the player he once was, but Jagr
could undoubtedly help an NHL team in the short-term.
It is likely that the Rangers will be hoping to add Brad
Richards and a top-six winger this summer in their quest to add more
offense. Jagr is not necessarily worse
than other free agent wingers, many of whom come with equal risk.
Simon Gagne – Long concussion history
Alex Tanguay – Big drop-off in points in each of the last
three years until revival in 2010-2011
Jussi Jokinen – Tempting, but talent may not equate to
top-six role or pay
Brooks Laich – Thrived behind Washington’s big guns, likely to get big
Ville Leino – Flyers want to keep him, also will be pricey
Andrew Brunette – 37-years-old
Michael Ryder – Has been a disappointment in both Montreal and Boston
Erik Cole- Oft-injured, 32-years-old
Cory Stillman – 37-years-old, best days far behind him
Tomas Kopecky – Did well with bigger role this year, still
Tomas Fleischmann – Missed end of season with pulmonary
Scottie Upshall – Coming off best season, still scored just
Sergei Samsonov – 32-years-old, Rangers have plenty of
Steve Sullivan – 36-years-old, can’t stay healthy
Joel Ward – Huge in playoffs, still a third line forward
Sean Bergenheim – Monster in playoffs, doesn’t fit with
previous career results
Of all of them, Leino, Jokinen, and Laich are probably the
most tempting, but they are also the players most likely to command rich
multi-year deals. The Rangers are likely
looking for a stop-gap solution while they wait for Christian Thomas and Chris
Kreider to arrive.
Several of those guys might be had on the cheap, but Jagr
might be better than all of them, even at this stage of his career.
On a one-year deal, it’s hard to see where signing Jagr hurts
the Rangers. As long as he understands
the situation, he’s probably as good as almost any other free agent the Rangers
Plus, he’s got a history here and it would be fun to see him
back in blue.
- Kevin DeLury at NYRangersblog.com is holding a contest in
tribute to Derek Boogaard. Head on over
there for more details.
- It has been well documented that Minnesota Wild fans were
extremely attached to Boogaard. Here are
the extremely emotional details on the memorial service held yesterday at Xcel Energy
- The Rangers continue to be tied to Swedish goalie Viktor
Fasth. Hard to understand why Fasth
would want to sign with a team so set in goal as opposed to the Tampa Bay
Lightning, but perhaps the allure of learning from Henrik Lundqvist is enough.
- Andrew Gross believes that Coach John Tortorella would be
extremely cautious should the Rangers end up on HBO’s “24/7.” In fact, Gross thinks that getting an inside
look at how GM Glen Sather operates might be the more interesting subplot.
- Ryan Callahan should be fully recovered by next week. Tortorella, on the other hand, is struggling
to heal from his knee replacement surgery.
- The Calgary Flames re-signed Curtis Glencross to a four-year,
$10.2 million deal. This is a little
surprising because the Flames are pressed right up against the salary cap. Re-signing Glencross doesn’t seem like it
should have been a high priority. That’s
another winger off the free agent market, though there have been no indications
that the Rangers were interested. Glencross’s
cap hit of $2.55 million may impact the Rangers’ offers to Brian Boyle, Brandon
Dubinsky, and Ryan Callahan.
- Larry Brooks reports that the Rangers will likely be forced
to hold their last two weeks of training camp overseas plus a handful of
exhibition games against European teams and their first two regular season
games. The Blueshirts will return home
only to head on another six-to-eight game road trip, probably to Western
Canada, as they await the re-opening of Madison Square