Would six months make that big of a difference? I can’t see how the Oilers won’t push to sign Jaromir Jagr before training camp, considering they wanted him this past March.
Here are just a few quotes from Jagr courtesy of CBC.ca:
“I was excited when I heard that Edmonton pushed pretty hard to get me and I really appreciate it. And if I ever go there [the NHL], they would be my No. 1 pick because they showed me the interest first,” Jagr said after Canada beat the Czech Republic 5-1 at the world hockey championship on Thursday in Switzerland.
“I will never forget that and I respect that. They would be my first pick.”
The question isn’t whether the Oilers want him, but rather if he is good enough to be a top-six forward. And even Jagr admits he isn’t sure if he can come back to the NHL and compete.
“I am not sure I would be good enough anymore,” he said of playing in the NHL. “It is a different rink and I do not want to go there and be on the fourth line. I want to come back and be the top guy and I do not know if I can do it.”
Jagr was also very blunt in how he looked at role players in the NHL.
“If I was on the third or fourth line, I would probably still be in the NHL because you do not have to produce every night.”
Would a comment like this rile up current 3rd liners in Edmonton? I would hope not, because it is a fact. Being the man, money-wise and stats-wise is much more pressure than being a bottom-six forward who is expected to check and chip in here and there.
Jagr has said in the past that he would love to play with Ales Hemsky, and the two are playing together at the World Championships right now. You have to think that Hemsky is using his best sales approach to try and convince Jagr to come back to the NHL.
The big question is what would it take to sign him?
Would he accept a one-year deal? If the Oilers aren’t prepared to sign Dwayne Roloson for two years, why would they give JJ a two-year pact?
And what about money?
After a year away from the league, can Jagr realistically demand more than $5 million a year? The Oilers want to make a splash, and maybe he can use that in negotiations, but it will be interesting to see if Steve Tambellini will look for a quick fix or think long term?
I would sign Jagr in a millisecond if it’s for one season. Anything longer would be a big risk, due to his age and the impending salary cap decrease.