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

    Greg MC wrote:

    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.

    Why is KLOWE crowned the King and NO ONE holds him accountable – MACT is too groundhog day for me – I would tune him out – play my heart out and sign elsewhere when I could – but then the FANS would burn me in effigy – just ask MIKE COMRIE.

  • Hippy

    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.

  • Hippy

    As for the coaching in the 06 playoff run, get one of the star reporters to ask Jason Smith who took over the dressing room in 06 it was Pronger and Peca. Smith and Smyth will confirm it

  • Hippy

    Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer wrote:

    @ Pokie Reddik:
    You didnt learn your lesson when Brownlee undressed you the last time didnt you?

    My comment was way over Brownlee's head as well as yours.

  • Hippy

    Pokie Reddik wrote:

    As for the coaching in the 06 playoff run, get one of the star reporters to ask Jason Smith who took over the dressing room in 06 it was Pronger and Peca. Smith and Smyth will confirm it

    Were Pronger and Peca handling the line matchups too? I love the notion that people have that coaching is about giving pep talks to the guy and showing them how to score goals – it's far more than that, and as far as control of the dressing room goes, I'd suggest the guy with the authority to scratch and bag skate guys is always going to be in charge.

    Regarding your MacT/Buchberger rumour, as much as I think that Buchberger would be the guy if MacTavish stepped down, do I need to get into why anonymous message board commenters aren't taken that seriously when they spread rumours based on their own information?

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    There has to be a tinge of merit to at least part of the story I would think. These stories can't just come from no where. HAHAHA

    but seriously, maybe there is a bit of denial as per the norm right now for information protection purposes?

  • Hippy

    Could his Russian team loan him to us like Tbay did with Vrbata only the other way. Any idea if this would eliminate the waiver issue?
    His Russian team is non playoff bound so I would think they would not mind shedding the Rubles.

  • 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!

    Gregor had this on his show yesterday, and said zero chance Jagr clears waivers. Nice to see we have the guy who breaks stories, but doesn't has to thump his chest in doing so. Add in Brownlee and Willis and this site is getting better all the time.

  • Hippy

    By the way, the post has been updated with information from Pierre LeBrun.

    And everybody, could we play nice and not re-fight old battles again and again and again and again?

  • Hippy

    @ Travis Dakin:

    I'd expect denials from the Oilers, especially the sort of ambiguous denial that Staples' quoted, if stuff was happening.

    On the other hand, I can't possibly see how they could circumvent waivers.

  • Hippy

    5Cups wrote:

    Could his Russian team loan him to us like Tbay did with Vrbata only the other way. Any idea if this would eliminate the waiver issue?
    His Russian team is non playoff bound so I would think they would not mind shedding the Rubles.

    Unfortunately they can't; there's no transfer agreement between the KHL and NHL for that to happen. Even if there were, the CBA paragrpah above makes me think he would still need to clear waivers.

    Incidentally, when the Lightning sent Vrbata back to Europe, he went through waivers first.

  • Hippy

    BUCK75 wrote:

    & 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.

    I know what you mean. In the past, we have tried to fill this "1 player" hole with a variety of 20+ goal guys (Penner, Cole, etc.). It would be interesting to see what a bonafied 30+ or 40+ goal guy would look like with Hemmer.

  • 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.

    Give your head a shake and stop starting blatant lies. There is ZERO chance Buchberger will be the next coach in Edmonton, unless it happens three or four years from now.

    As for Jagr I also said there was no chance he would be here this year, because of his contract this year in the KHL.

    Also, Jagr can play left wing and was quoted on the record as saying Hemsky is a player he really would love to play with. That means a bit, but clearly money talks and I could see the Oilers still offer him 6 million next year if they can't land a younger proven scorer.

    With the Visnovsky news that he is done for the season, expect the Oilers to sniff around Schneider. He makes the exact same money as Visnovsky, and if the Oilers put him on LTI then his salary wouldn't count against the cap and they could bring in Schneider and not add any overall salary towards the cap. But if they keep Visnovksy on the IR then his salary does count against the cap.

  • Hippy

    APE wrote:

    bingofuel wrote:
    According to a tweet from @iNews880 on Twitter, K-Lowe is in Russia.
    What the hell is he doing in Russia?

    Maybe checking up on our star prospect Alexei Mikhnov, newest replacement for Liam Reddox on the top line.

  • Hippy

    This seems to be getting a lot more spin that I'd think it deserves, it makes me suspicious (Not that I think the Oil will have Jagr this year-or any year really, but it would be pretty cool).

  • Hippy

    me wrote:

    Obviously he is not going to be here this year.
    But why is Kevin Lowe in Europe or specifically in Russia?
    Seems to me there may be something to this story.

    Scouting? Vacation? Grab players for offseason? His secret other family? Legalized drugs and prostitution?

    There's lots of reasons 😉

  • Hippy

    @ Colin:

    LOL.

    I don't think we have heard the end of this story.

    If Kevin Lowe is in Russia and it was confirmed by Gregor that he is in Europe.

    This story has some definite legs.

  • Hippy

    Would any team pick him up if the Oilers signed him to a 2 year 13 mil deal, if he said I will retire if anyone takes me that means the team that picks him up will be on the hook for 2.5 mil this year and the whole 6.5 next year I think that would scare off enough teams.

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    @ swany:
    I like it, I like it…..

    If and it's a big IF they want him there are ways around everything, Katz=money, you don't think that with the khl suffering big time Katz couldn't workout a buyout of that contract and like I posted you could scare enough teams off by getting Jagr involved.