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

    Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer wrote:

    Actually new report, MacT in an effort to create team unity will bag skate Jagr in front of everyone, with Ryan Poultony throwing popcorn at him lap.

    Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer wrote:

    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.

    These are making me audibly laugh in class. You are hilarious!

  • Hippy

    Colin wrote:

    I though the Lubo on the LTIR meant that his money could be replaced with no risk of waivers?

    After reading through the relevant CBA sections that doesn't appear to be the case. You can add a new guy to the roster and Lubo doesn't count towards the Cap while he's on IR, but Jagr would have to clear waivers. And he wouldn't.

  • Hippy

    Colin wrote:

    Colin wrote:

    I though the Lubo on the LTIR meant that his money could be replaced with no risk of waivers?
    After reading through the relevant CBA sections that doesn’t appear to be the case. You can add a new guy to the roster and Lubo doesn’t count towards the Cap while he’s on IR, but Jagr would have to clear waivers. And he wouldn’t.

    Read the CBA again.

    Lubo will always count against the Oilers cap. Being on LTIR allows the team to go over the cap by the amount claimed on LTIR. It does not erase his cap hit.

  • Hippy

    I thought Tambo was our GM? Why isn't he making the comments.

    Seriously though, I do like the idea of having Jagr make a statement that he would "retire" should a team pick him up on re-entry waivers. I wonder how many teams would take the risk of picking him up if he signed with the Oilers? An unhappy Jagr might not be what a contending team wants during their playoff push?

    I remember the Oilers did that to Vancouver a while ago (1996)when Glenn Anderson wanted to come back to the NHL with the Canucks.

    I can't remember how the rest of the league felt about what the Oilers did – but I can imagine they weren't very popular.

    On a side note – I think this rule is quite lame (Jagr having to go on waivers). If the player is a UFA and no other NHL teams cared to sign him at the start of the season, he should still retain his right to sign with the team of his choice.

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    On a side note – I think this rule is quite lame (Jagr having to go on waivers). If the player is a UFA and no other NHL teams cared to sign him at the start of the season, he should still retain his right to sign with the team of his choice.

    I'm sure it wouldn't be so complicated if they actually had a transfer agreement with the KHL.
    Maybe we can loan them the highly touted Liam Reddox in exchange for JJ.

  • Hippy

    bingofuel wrote:

    According to a tweet from @iNews880 on Twitter, K-Lowe is in Russia. I don’t know if that’s true or not as it’s still unconfirmed, but that might be why he’s making the comments and not Tambellini.

    It would make a lot of sense as I believe Peter Adler is based out of Russia, and he's the one who got the comment, not Staples.

  • Hippy

    BUCK75 wrote:

    Other than the fact he can score – he doesn’t help us anyhow. We need an agitator & a face-off guy in my estimation & JJ isn’t either.

    I can't see how more scoring could help this club. Wait, didn't we just lose to Nashville and Minny by 1 goal each?

  • Hippy

    It would also make sense if Lowe wants to assign him to Gaza Firebombers to make sure his "compete level" is up to the acceptable amount of "jam" that would keep him out of Mactavish's dog house.

  • Hippy

    Anyone care to reason why he would want to come to Edmonton – the weather, women, playoff contender ?

    Comment on why he would leave the KHL – monetary conversion contract dispute – as per Emery who told the KHL to go to hell when they were converting his contract with a 30% discount and did not return….

  • Hippy

    @ MJ:
    Effectively the same thing, gives you the same amount to spend(his prorated cap hit on the LTIR).

    @Deep Oil:

    He's gone out of his way to say that he'd like to/likes playing with Hemsky is that not a solid reason?

  • Hippy

    Is KLowe actually getting that big a jump on next season trying to land a bigname now?

    Or is there some loophole of which we are not aware that Lowe intends to exploit?

    I hope it's next year this team needs to be sellers. I'm not sure I credit KLowe with the hockey smarts to do this either way, I can see him trying to hammer him through the waiver wire.

  • Hippy

    @ cremps:

    & I can totally see him doing what the coach wants him to do. I agree we need more offence – but we will be adding another soft, streaky player as well.

    Don't get me wrong, if it happened I would be pumped, but this team is full of holes. I wouldn't be planning the parade route if he showed up either though.

    I am just getting a little tired of this whole "we are 1 player away" routine that seems to come around whenever we are sniffing around the play-off cut line. To get good, you have to get bad first – especially in the league now it seems like.

  • Hippy

    @ Deep Oil:
    I think it's all 3 Deep Oil;
    The weather; he played in Pitt, Wash and NY, he loves the cold. He could have demanded Florida or LA
    The women; come on man, nothing says Alberta like our beef. It's the steroids in the milk.
    Playoff contender; No brainer! MacT said we were going to compete for the division so it must be true.

    The better question is why WOULDN'T he want to come to Edmonton? Things run pretty smooth around here…pretty smooth indeed.

  • Hippy

    Ssseth wrote:

    Good job being one of the first blogs out there to pick up on this Willis. As far as I can tell, you even beat TSN. I love this site!

    True, but unlike TSN, Jon doesn't have to worry about his reporting if he doesn't have 100% of the details right. He knows we'll still love him anyway. TSN, on the other hand, might look really dumb if they reported that Jagr was definitely NOT coming and then a week later he amazes everyone and pulls on a blue and copper sweater, so TSN is a bit more cautious about confirming before going live. I expect they'll have their confirmation and their story out not too far behind Jon.

  • Hippy

    Greg MC wrote:

    @ Deep Oil:
    Paper, money, Katz gots it; Jags wants it.

    Katz has to play within the salary cap – so he could have all the borrowed money in the world – it really doesn't matter when KLOWE has overspent on average players – EPS commercial crimes should of been called for FRAUD as Penner, Horcoff, and Pisani picked his pocket.

    Mr. Greg MC – this does not revolve around money – our team situation should be judged on performance for dollars and KLOWE has NOT given MACT the horses to run with this. If you are going to FIRE MAC – KLOWE should be holding the door and on the way out rather than sucking off the mother breast called OILER for the past 10 years.

  • Hippy

    shakey wrote:

    @ Deep Oil:
    I think it’s all 3 Deep Oil;
    The weather; he played in Pitt, Wash and NY, he loves the cold. He could have demanded Florida or LA
    The women; come on man, nothing says Alberta like our beef. It’s the steroids in the milk.
    Playoff contender; No brainer! MacT said we were going to compete for the division so it must be true.
    The better question is why WOULDN’T he want to come to Edmonton? Things run pretty smooth around here…pretty smooth indeed.

    Sure just ask the following loved oilers:

    1) Jason Arnott
    2) Mike Comrie
    3) Chris Pronger
    4) Joffrey Lupul

    Fans and Lowe are guilty of treating people like crap when the team down the street is paying the same with no fishbowl – so why stay here and freeze if you could pick a more southern climate and have dinner without being interupted……

  • Hippy

    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.

  • Hippy

    Deep Oil wrote:

    Greg MC wrote:
    @ Deep Oil:
    Paper, money, Katz gots it; Jags wants it.
    Katz has to play within the salary cap – so he could have all the borrowed money in the world – it really doesn’t matter when KLOWE has overspent on average players – EPS commercial crimes should of been called for FRAUD as Penner, Horcoff, and Pisani picked his pocket.
    Mr. Greg MC – this does not revolve around money – our team situation should be judged on performance for dollars and KLOWE has NOT given MACT the horses to run with this. If you are going to FIRE MAC – KLOWE should be holding the door and on the way out rather than sucking off the mother breast called OILER for the past 10 years.

    I agree with your judgement on KLOWE. MacT can be dismissed on merit as many posters have identified the many reasons why. On the dollars, they would have to dump salary somehow, obviously.

  • Hippy

    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.

    Oh… So that's how you start rumours.

    Well i heard that they are going to trade for the rights to Gaborik and see what they can do with him in the stretch drive. Minny is despesrate to get at least something for him. Run with that!

  • Hippy

    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.