Jaromir Jagr: Edmonton Oiler? (Final Update Edition)

Jonathan Willis
February 10 2009 12:26PM

Jagr with the Rangers

According to a report published by the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples, the Edmonton Oilers are close to signing KHL forward Jaromir Jagr. This information, from an anonymous source, was passed on to Staples by Peter Adler, a hockey journalist with close ties to Russia. The anonymous source declined to offer any information as to the specifics of the contract or when it might be finalized.

Jagr has spent this season with HC Avangard Omsk (Omsk Vanguard), leading the team in scoring with 25 goals and 51 points through 48 games. The next nearest goal-scorer has 13, and the next nearest point-scorer has only 40. Omsk is in the middle of the pack in the KHL, only one game over .500, but Jagr looks to have been sensational. I don’t need to discuss his NHL career; suffice to say he would be a major boost to the Oilers’ forward corps.

Avangard signed Jagr to a multi-year contract in the offseason, but they haven’t exactly had a tranquil year. Alexei Cherepanov’s death resulted in heavy punishments to the Club director and the medical staff, and both the general manager (Anatoly Bardin) and president (Konstantin Potapov) are still under investigation. On top of that, starting goaltender John Grahame was bought out of his contract, and the head coach was fired by the team mid-game, than told he wasn’t fired, and then fired for good a few weeks later. Fleming was supposedly personally recruited to Omsk by Jaromir Jagr. Given the turbulent season Omsk has had to date, it would be unsurprising if Jagr were eager to return to the NHL.

That said, I have some very real doubts about the likelihood of this happening. Wade Dubielewicz, for example, was bought out of his KHL contract and subsequently signed by the New York Islanders. Unfortunately for the Islanders, under article 13.23 of the CBA, any player returning from another league after the start of the season must clear waivers. Here’s the article in its entirety:

In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first either cleared or been obtained via Waivers. For the balance of the Playing Season, any such Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing Waivers or through Waiver claim.

Since Jagr was not playing in Russia on loan from the Oilers, he would seem to fall into this category of players. The only circumstance where I could see Jagr clearing waivers would be on a contract that was so repulsive that other teams would be unwilling to claim him.

The Oilers have some cap space, especially with the unpleasant news today that Lubomir Visnovsky will be out for the remainder of the season. Still, playoff rivals Columbus, Nashville and Los Angeles all have more room, so a loaded one year contract would likely not be enough to sneak Jagr past them.

Beyond a loaded, multi-year contract of rather frightening proportions, I simply don’t see how the Oilers could possibly sneak Jaromir Jagr through the waiver wire.

UPDATE:

Staples is now reporting that Kevin Lowe has issued a denial (sort of), quoting Lowe as saying, "Jaromir is under contract in the KHL".  Given the lack of a transfer agreement, Jagr's KHL contract is essentially meaningless to NHL teams, but the fact that he would need to clear waivers is not.

UPDATE #2:

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, easily one of the most knowledgeable and connected guys out there, has chimed in on his blog.  Jagr's NHL agent, Pat Brisson stated that he hadn't heard from Jagr in five months, and that he had no knowledge of any developments between Jagr and the Oilers.  Steve Tambellini declined to comment on the situation, and an anonymous source told LeBrun that while the Oilers had recently approached Jagr, Jagr was still committed to Avangard Omsk.

LeBrun further notes that Kevin Lowe is currently in Europe.

UPDATE #3:

Steve Tambellini's comments on the Jagr rumour:

"Are we always trying to improve our team? Yes.  Am I gonna comment on things that are speculative? No, I'm not gonna do that. There's going to be an issue a day I think on things like this."

As I explained above, I really doubt that this happens, because the waiver situation makes it virtually impossible.  That said, could the hockey people in this organization possibly be making more ambiguous comments? 

UPDATE #4:

Sportsnet pretty much puts this one to rest.  In addition to an anonymous (but apparently high-ranking) Oilers' official calling the report "bogus", Sportsnet talked to Jaroslav Zidek, Jagr's European agent, who said that he was unaware of any advances made by the Oilers.

Given that Lowe is in Europe and given the comments made by Pierre LeBrun above, I'd guess that there was some contact between Lowe and Jagr, possibly with regard to next season.  That said, the odds of Jagr finishing this season with the Oilers are so miniscule as to be non-existent at this point.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Darren P
February 10 2009, 07:53PM
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Robin B wrote:

Jon: a total non-story based on a flimsy report by Uncle Pedro that’s drawn almost 100 comments because you didn’t check all the facts before writing your story. I can understand such a sloppy effort from a MSM guy like Staples — and burying the no-way “out” at the bottom so you can write it anyway before poo-pooing it — but from a blogger with your reputation? Tsk tsk.

And what paper do you work for?

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#102 Jonathan Willis
February 10 2009, 08:58PM
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Robin B wrote:

Jon: a total non-story based on a flimsy report by Uncle Pedro that’s drawn almost 100 comments because you didn’t check all the facts before writing your story. I can understand such a sloppy effort from a MSM guy like Staples — and burying the no-way “out” at the bottom so you can write it anyway before poo-pooing it — but from a blogger with your reputation? Tsk tsk.

Given that Pierre LeBrun, Lyle Richardson, Sportsnet and TSN all have official stories up on their websites, I'm okay with the company I'm keeping these days. Given that it's Richardson's usual stick, and that I refer to him quite frequently (almost always because he's a welcome voice of sanity in a Garrioch/Eklund filled world), I don't see any hypocrisy in doing something similar myself

Also, given that this is the busiest day in the history of the nation, and that this particular rumour has gathered insane traffic at most of the main Oilers' sites, I think it was perfectly applicable to go through everything before dismissimng it out of hand - and you'll notice I suggested it was unlikely well before denials from Lowe, Tambellini, and Jagr's agents started filing in.

If it's a non-story, it's one that's caught a lot of attention. And my conclusion that there likely was some contact fits in well with that expressed by LeBrun.

Of course, the previous three arguments assume that you were making a statement that reflected your actual views, and not just grinding your usual professional media guy vs. amateur blogger axe.

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#103 Robin B
February 10 2009, 09:10PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Sorry, I refuse to use to use those silly happy faces or whatever the hell they are to signify that IT WAS A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't start taking yourself as seriously as I'm accused of doing. I've had many more years to build a false sense of self-importance than you have.

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#104 Jonathan Willis
February 10 2009, 10:16PM
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@ Robin B:

Fair enough. I'll try not to be quite so touchy.

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#105 me
February 10 2009, 10:31PM
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While we are so busy poo-pooing this rumour. Has anyone confirmed why Lowe is in Europe?

So we know for a fact that there is no change Jagr will sign in Edmonton this year. So there is no change Jagr and Edmonton are talking a contract for next year?

But sorry Mr. Brownlee insulting another media member seems beneath you.

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#106 Robin B
February 10 2009, 11:17PM
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@ me: Get off it. See my comment and don't get preachy.

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#107 me
February 10 2009, 11:32PM
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@ Robin B:

What are you my mother?

Why don't you try to find out why Lowe is in Europe instead of mothering me.

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#108 Robin B
February 10 2009, 11:56PM
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@ me: Again. See the original comment (103). It was a joke. And best to leave your mother out of it . . .

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#109 David Staples
February 11 2009, 12:38AM
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Good reporting job, Jonathan, especially on the waiver wire stuff.

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#110 David Staples
February 11 2009, 12:42AM
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@Robin. Well, I got your joke, even if some others didn't. Made me chuckle.

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#111 klowe
February 11 2009, 12:57AM
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What does Jagr know about SIX STANLEY CUP RINGS. I mean come on, yeah he played with Cancer guy for a while, but realy, I mean honestly, does his hair look anywhere as good as mine. Check the stats man. He was full on AFRO MULLET when I was groovin on comb foreword coooool. That's the problem with the league...what happened to the buzz cut apple pie guy...I could always beat that RUBE (JIMMY CARSON) when we played stuke on the bus. Wow what a gig. The owner bought the team so we could be pals. Sometimes I feel dirty around him...not kinky but greasy like using a dude... dirty. I'm gunna show him the finer points of STUKE tommorow. Tonight I drink red wine like I'm Nero...or someone else kinda cool and powerful.Someone who has SIX STANLEY CUP RINGS kind of powerful.

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#112 abdullahTheButcher
February 11 2009, 06:41AM
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Jonathan, FYI, you need to check your facts before you report them. I don't know where you heard about Peter Adler but your information is wrong.

Peter Adler is working out of south east Edmonton. He used to be a copy desker at The Journal and has contacts in Europe. Because he speaks five or six languages he used to chat lots with the European players when they came here.

He DOES NOT WORK OUT OF RUSSIA.

BTW what do you think the chances of Pruitt being fired would be if he were a former Oiler? Zip. Nada. Nil.

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#113 Deep Oil
February 11 2009, 07:41AM
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Pokie Reddik wrote:

Deep Oil wrote: Pokie Reddik wrote: Rumour has it K-Lowe and Tambill have already talked to MacT this past week. If MacT feels he can’t do the job then Bucky is the one who will take over for the remainder of the season. The Balls are in MacT’s Corner. This nepotism and incestous relationship back to the 80’s has to stop - or is that why they are playing PRIVATE EYE’s - rumour has no backing - where did this rumor come from MacT’s wife’s hairdresser ???? Note: Allan Watt will be calling you to stop spreading this rumor. It came from his toilet, why don’t you do a little investigating and you can find out for your self. Ask a few people int he inner circle, Maybe Fred Stauffer can verify it for you.

Why this is worse than EKLUND, the waiver component makes this a non topic. This communication between Oil and Jagr is for next season - idiots.

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#114 Deep Oil
February 11 2009, 07:43AM
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David S wrote:

Smokey wrote: Have you not seen those gorgeous European honeys, I guess you have not seen that particular website… Three words: Russian bride websites *drool*

www.russianlovematch.com - YUMMY

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#115 Jonathan Willis
February 11 2009, 08:28AM
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@ abdullahTheButcher:

Thanks; I assumed based on circumstantial evidence, and I was wrong.

Sloppy mistake on my part, and I'm sorry.

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#116 Colin
February 11 2009, 09:27AM
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It was a fun afternoon Willis, nothing to be sorry for.

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#117 APE
February 11 2009, 10:01AM
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@ Deep Oil: Deep Oil wrote:

This communication between Oil and Jagr is for next season - idiots.

Idiots? Can you confirm this so-called communication?

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#118 cambosmash
February 11 2009, 11:45AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Waiver wire loophole update.

If the Oilers were to sign Jagr to a contract, he would be put on waivers. If, say, the last place team in the league (#1 in the waiver order) NYI were to pluck him off waivers he would be their property. They could then trade him to the Oilers for picks/prospects. But wait, he has to go back on waivers for that transaction to go through.

Don't worry Nation, the team that initially signed him to the contract (The TembelLowes) gets first crack at the waiver wire. BAM! Jagr for draft picks.

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#119 David S
February 11 2009, 03:34PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

http://www.russianlovematch.com - YUMMY

Ric*ckulous!

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#120 Jorge
February 11 2009, 04:06PM
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I still think there is something in the works otherwise why all the conversation. If what Cambocash said is true It is a very possible reality

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#121 David Staples
February 11 2009, 04:07PM
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Good digging Cambosmash.

You're sure this is right?

I'm no expert on waiverwire-ology, but that would make things do-able for this year.

As I said all along, I'm not sure of the the "when" of this move, just have information about the intent to make it so.

And all I know is that where there's a will, there is a way, and Mr. Katz has got a helluva will.

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