Jaromir Jagr: Edmonton Oiler? (Final Update Edition)

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.

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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.

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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:

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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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  • Hippy

    What a great way to cut down on CO2 emissions. For the next several weeks, all of Edmonton will be holding their breath, me included. Golly this would be cool.

  • Hippy

    Do Oil fans really believe this one? I would be absolutely shocked if this happens. We need to quit looking for the quick fix for this team. Go with what we have now and deal with the consequences in the off season.

  • Hippy

    Its confirmed, Jagr has signed with us. MacT confirms he will play on a line of Jason Strudwick and Ladi Smid in an effort to generate more "jam" against the opposition.

  • Hippy

    It would at least be worth it to try to sign him for the remainder of the season. It would bolster an anemic 1st line and even up and strenghthen a couple more lines, and offer some more offensive possibilities throughout 3 other lines. A trade for a defenseman to replace Lubo now, and your looking at a new team with firepower.

  • Hippy

    Oilers rumors are alot like the weather channel. You look on it on Monday and it says it's going to be sunny and plus 10 on Wednesday, but when Wednesday comes, it's still snowing and -20, so therefore I refuse to get my hopes up that Jagr will come save, the day. Although it is nice to dream.

  • Hippy

    @ Willis:

    Is (Sundin Money) 10 million a year enough for those other teams to be scared off? Because we all know that Katz has the $$$.

    I guess my first question would be how much cap space are we sitting at right now? How much COULD be spent on one player as of right now?

  • Hippy

    Is there a rule that would prevent the Oilers from bringing him in after the trade deadline?

    If not then waiting till then could go a long way to solving the waiver issue. After the deadline the teams that are looking to load up will likely have spent their money and the teams that were sellers would have no reason to put in a claim.

    As a further deterent, if the Oilers signed him through the end of next season then it makes it even less appealing for teams to grab him.

  • Hippy

    The saloon doors swing open and there's a hush in the room. The sun blurs the figure standing there other than a silhouette of a beer gut and ditch-drunk hair. As he moves into view we see he's holding a jersey with a name on the back 'Jagr'. It's a Leafs jersey and the guy holding it says only…'F**k You Kevin Lowe…F**k you.'

  • Hippy

    It would be great if the Oilers could get Jagr, but I just don't see it happening, at least not during the season, in the summer, maybe, but he'd be more likely to sign someplace else.

  • Hippy

    I don't think much of Lowe's denial. Why would he confirm anything?

    Second if Jagr truly wanted to play just for the Oilers or was willing to state such, being over 35 he could let it be known if he was claimed on waivers he would retire on the spot and his cap hit would still count against the cap for whatever team claimed him. I think that would be enough to scare off most teams.

  • Hippy

    Rick wrote:

    Is there a rule that would prevent the Oilers from bringing him in after the trade deadline?

    As per the article quoted above: "…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…"

    In other words, the rule applies until the Stanley Cup has been awarded.

  • Hippy

    FMNF.

    Let's call Garth Snow. He gets first shot at the waiver wire. Islanders sign Jagr and trade him here for whatever prospects Garth wants.

    Of course Lowe would deny everything. He doesn't need other teams kicking tires.

    Jagr has already said he would play for league minimum in Pitt because Mario Lemiuex helped him out when he was getting into the league. He also said he'd go back to NYR and has stated he would like to play with Hemsky.

  • Hippy

    cambosmash wrote:

    Let’s call Garth Snow. He gets first shot at the waiver wire. Islanders sign Jagr and trade him here for whatever prospects Garth wants.

    As per the article quoted above: 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.

    In other words, if Snow were to claim Jagr and then try to trade him to Edmonton, Jagr would need to clear waivers first.

  • Hippy

    New development: In an effort to ensure Jagr's "Battle level" is up to Mactavish's standards, The Oilers are sending the veteran Russian into Gaza armed with nothing but a kockey stick and a pair of dull skates. This way Jagr will be prepared for what it feels like to play the Red Wings as an Oiler.

  • Hippy

    jeanshorts wrote:

    It looks even less likely that he signs next season, because where is the cap space going to come from unless they have a fire sale in the offseason?

    Erik Cole, primarily.

  • Hippy

    Klowe reacting from hindsight once again. They could've had this guy in the lineup at the begining of the year IF they would have given him a 2 year contract. Now they are trying to get him for the rest of this plus another one why the hell didn't you just give him this contract in the summer. You got to think with Jagr this team would have 4-7 more wins that 8-14 points we would be right with Calgary or ahead of them, great move Klowe waiting 6 months to try and get a player YOU could've had in the offseason.