NCFOM II: Jagr Revisited

jagr_khl

So, Jaromir Jagr could see himself in Edmonton Oilers colours, could he? I bet he could, as long as there’s lots of green to go along with the copper and blue he suddenly seems to be fond of.

After sounding thoroughly disinterested a few months ago about overtures made by president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, Jagr has the hearts of some Oilers fans all a-titter now that’s he’s apparently cozied up to the idea of all that green, ahem, I mean copper and blue.

Thursday at the IIHF World Championships, Jagr was quoted in the National Post as saying: “That was really exciting when I heard Edmonton pushed really hard to get me, I really appreciate it.

“I want to thank those guys (in Edmonton). And, if I ever got there (back in the NHL), they would be my No. 1 pick because they showed me the interest first. I never forget that. I respect that and they would be my first pick.”

Really? Is that so? Is that right? It seems to me Jagr’s flip-flop on interest by the Oilers is equalled only by the KHL’s reversal of financial fortune. Wasn’t it just a few months ago Jagr shrugged off Edmonton?

He said: “Yes such an opportunity really existed. The teams had discussed how that could be fulfilled. But it did not depend on me. Should Omsk ask me to join Edmonton, I’d do that, but that was not something I desired myself.”

Now, apparently, he does.

Sign the papers, old man

Already 37 and several years removed from his prime, Jagr still has one year remaining on his contract with Omsk of the KHL and indicated he intends, at least for now, to honour it.

That would mean Mario Junior would be nearing his 39th birthday by the time he signs for a stack of cash, I mean pulls on a jersey, with the Oilers. What would it take to get Jagr? One season at $6 million, $7 million?

I wrote back on March 10 that I think pursuing Jagr and trying to turn back the hands of time is a waste of money and effort for the Oilers, and I don’t feel any different about it today. The reasons remains the same.

What, there won’t be a player available as a UFA this summer for $6 million who’s got more in the tank and can be a part of the future of organization for more than a year? Jagr, in what looks to me like a money grab and nothing more, is GM Steve Tambellini’s best option? I think not.

Bad arguments

1. Even if Jagr isn’t the player he used to be, he’d be worth that stack of dough because, well, he’d do so much for the image of Edmonton as a destination for unrestricted free agents. We have, after all, been shunned often and by many. You can’t put a price on esteem.

Well, no. Putting together a team capable of competing for a Stanley Cup would do far more in terms of attracting UFAs — welcome to the Motor City Marian Hossa — than paying sucker money to a once-great player a decade past his prime. Works OK in Detroit, no?

2. So what if Jagr only has 27 points at Christmas? The young players on the roster need a mentor and Jagr would be great. He’s a leader of young men and that’s what’s been lacking around here. Think about the kids. How else are Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano supposed to develop?

I don’t know, how did Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane manage without a $7-million nanny wearing a jock in Chicago? Who did Rick Nash learn from in Columbus, Jody Shelley? Alex Ovechkin figured it out in Washington without having Father Time on the wing.

3. Still, even if Jagr was in it only for the money and it turned out he wasn’t even a legitimate top-six forward any more, it would be really cool to bring him in just to say we did.

No. Jagr’s mullet in the 1990s was cool. Winning is cool. Looking ahead instead of back over your shoulder is cool. Having a long-term plan and taking some lumps in the short-term to do it right and make it work is cool. I don’t think Jagr fits into that.

Somebody might pay Jagr’s price, but it shouldn’t be the Oilers.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • treblecharger

    Geez, you're cranky Brownlee!!! I dunno… you make a good case but I still feel like Jagr would be an upgrade on what the Oil have. Salary cap? ….not my effin job, man, I just say an Oiler top 6 with Jagr in it is better than what we are sitting on today, you cranky b astard!

  • ed

    Agreed!
    Like you said, not only a waste of $ but also a waste of time and effort.
    There are better much better options.
    Hell, Mats Sundin would be a better option.
    Jagr's not even a good leader. Captals anyone?

  • I don’t know, how did Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane manage without a $7-million nanny wearing a jock in Chicago? Who did Rick Nash learn from in Columbus, Jody Shelley? Alex Ovechkin figured it out in Washington without having Father Time on the wing.

    I mostly agree with everything you said, but could you have picked better examples?? No offense to our young studs, I love em to death, but they are no where near the caliber of Ovechkin or Nash.

    But again, I whole heartedly agree that Tambo should definitely pursue every other available option out there before he takes a sniff at Jagr's mullet. Unless Jagr wants to sign for 4 mill or less. He'd do that right? Right??????

  • ed

    ed wrote:

    Ovechkin’s out of this world, but Toews/Kane are absolutely at Nash’s caliber.
    Hell, I’d say that Kane is already better than Nash.

    And I just realized that you weren't comparing Toews/Kane, but the Oilers young'ns (Gagner, Cogs, etc.).

    Time to sleep!

  • If it came between the option of starting the season with 6 million in the bank vs. having Jagr, id pick having Jagr in a heartbeat.

    Now if there is a better option for 6 million then im all for the better option, but something is better than nothing if were willing to spend The Dark Lord's money to its fullest.

  • Tyler

    Rick Nash is pretty awesome now but he took a huge leap once they got a coach who introduced him to his own end of the ice. Before that he was just an expensive way to lose games by higher scores.

    Not that this undermines your point that expecting Jagr to teach anyone anything is as silly as crediting Adam Oates for Shawn Horcoff and Jarret (I have no idea how to spell that; it's as stupid name; Markkanen is easier) Stoll being good at faceoffs.

    That said, we'll see what the dollars are like and I don't necessarily believe that he wants to come to Edmonton but a pile of money on a short term deal isn't such a bad thing, particularly if there's no better fit out there and the Oilers have the cap room. Cash is just cash for those of us who aren't Darryl Katz; better in Jagr's pocket than his.

  • I could not agree more RobBro.

    *clap, clap, clap*

    I think money is better spent on a combination or 1 or of:

    Mike Cammalleri
    Vernon Fiddler
    Manny Malhotra
    Travis Moen
    Dominic Moore

    or JBouw

    waste of $ signing Jagr – get some more young blood in here.

  • douggy

    i agree! the oil should go after younger guys, like cammeleri, hossa, or gaborik. if we wanted to bring in an aging veteran isnt kovalev and koivu a ufa in montreal? bring jager in on a 1yr deal worth no more than 4mil.
    i also say re-sign kotalik and get rid of soft hand gilbert while he still holds value!
    is abyone else as excited as i am to have "the vision" visnovsky back next season? hands down one of the best pick ups in oilers history!
    i hope eberle can crack the lineup this year!

  • Robin Brownlee

    Tyler wrote:

    Not that this undermines your point that expecting Jagr to teach anyone anything is as silly as crediting Adam Oates for Shawn Horcoff and Jarret (I have no idea how to spell that; it’s as stupid name; Markkanen is easier) Stoll being good at faceoffs.

    That's fair enough.
    I'm not big on paying guys to be "good in the room," etc. In the case of Oates, while his on-ice performance was dismal, he really did take it upon himself to work with the young centres. I saw it first hand. And, with Oates, we were talking a $1.75 million salary, not $5-7 million.

  • Colin

    BUCK75 wrote:

    I could not agree more RobBro.
    *clap, clap, clap*
    I think money is better spent on a combination or 1 or of:
    Mike Cammalleri

    How sweet would it be to grab Cowtown's prize UFA?

  • Rick

    I'm with Robin on this one, what's the point?

    The Oilers aren't ready to win now and Jagr won't help them win later so all it ends up doing is wasting cash and muddying the identity of the team which should be the young guys.

    So obviously it's got to be about the optics of a "star" wanting to play in Edmonton. Right? It will pay dividends for the Oilers down the road when they are looking to lure UFA's to our town. Right?

    Well here is the catch as I see it. It makes for positive headlines when he signs. Which is 1 year away from when the next batch of UFA's become available for the Oilers to try and get.

    What happens if, oh just for giggles, let's say Jagr doesn't like it here? Or he doesn't like his role here? Or he gets caught in a sound byte like Cole did where he said he "couldn't keep the smile off his face when he heard he was traded back to Carolina", as an example? After all we are talking about a player that has a reputation of being a prima dona and high maintenance.

    Do the free agents remember the positive press from a whole year earlier when Jagr signed or the fresh print from his way out of town? I am betting on the latter…if it was to even make a difference at all.

    The whole idea of him signing here is short sighted on every level and if the Oilers had an ounce of sense they would forget about the 'has beens' and focus on what really matters which is building a program with quality players that start to win.

    It's the best publicity and sales approach for UFA's they could get.

  • Chaz

    I love the level-headed approach Robin. How many elder superstar payola signings actually work out for the team who signs them anyways? Not many it seems to me, and in my opinion I'd rather sign an aging warrior a la a Keith Tkachuk as opposed to a guy like JJ, although if they threw in a 1991 Mullet clause, I would reconsider.

  • Archaeologuy

    If signing Jagr to a 6 million dollar contract forces the Oilers to move the other overpriced players then I'm all for it. It all depends on what Jagr wants out of this deal. If its just a cash grab then I get why the Oil wouldnt want him, BUT if he wants to play for a Canadian team before he retires then maybe he will come at Shawn Horcoff money. Plus, if he's only got 27 points by Christmas wouldnt that put him at a higher pace than 2/3 of the club anyway?

  • Rick

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    If signing Jagr to a 6 million dollar contract forces the Oilers to move the other overpriced players then I’m all for it.

    The Oilers should be feeling pressure to move the other overpriced players anyways. I don't know why signing Jagr would further that along, except for maybe putting the Oilers in a bigger bind cap wise and forcing them to take even less pennies on the dollar out of desparation.

  • SOUBY

    Quoting Robin "pursuing Jagr and trying to turn back the hands of time is a waste of money and effort for the Oilers"

    Exactly. If the Oil want to bring in a top offensive player then shell out the bucks for a guy like Hossa or make Atlanta a deal they cannot refuse and go after Kovolchuk. These guys are in the prime of their careers with lots left in the tank.

    If Jagr would take 2 million for 1 year as a third liner with time on the PP, then maybe you do this deal. You and I all know that his price tag will be more like 5 or 6 million and he will expect 1st line minutes. Not worth the investment.

  • Hemmertime

    Rick wrote:

    The Oilers aren’t ready to win now and Jagr won’t help them win later so all it ends up doing is wasting cash and muddying the identity of the team which should be the young guys.

    I believe with Visnovsky we are a playoff team, and I have expectations of playoffs next season. In playoffs anything can happen, the Presidents Trophy winner doesn't win the cup automatically (or at all). The question is who would you rather have, Gags or Jagr on 2nd line in PO. Looking at free agent talent to me:
    1A/B: Hossa, Havlat
    3A/B: Cammalleri/Gaborik
    5: Saku Koivu/ Sakic / Tanguay
    8: Kovalev / Gionta / Jagr / Tkachuk (all old but Gionta)

    After that Kotalik, Afinogenov, Satan, Sykora, Comrie level players come into play. Looking at the Free agents available I would say Jagr is a top 10 outlook. I couldn't disagree with someone if they Valued some of the "2nd tier" FA more than Jagr, and since we never seem to get a top 5 FA (besides you Souray! all my love, but I dont believe was a top 5 FA that year because his "lack of defense" – suck it MTL) I think Jagr would be a decent pickup. Jagr's worst season in his career was his rookie year, even if he tied those point #s (57) he would have been second on the Oilers.

  • Archaeologuy

    Rick wrote:

    The Oilers should be feeling pressure to move the other overpriced players anyways.

    Dont under-estimate the Oilers' ability to ignore a problem for much longer than it should. No 3rd line center, No first line LW, Too many goalies, FMNF…

  • mjsh

    I must be getting old. I remember seeing Jagr's first game in Edmonton a very long time ago. I said to my companion that he should be watched because he was going to be a superstar in the league. I have liked him except for his time in Washington. He was incredible at the Olympics in Nagano. That was a two man team, Jagr and Hasek that won the Olympics.

    When the Rangers last came to Edmonton, I was at that game too. I remember Jagr doing very little for much of the game but in the third period he seemed to turn it on a bit. If we think we have too many floaters now, look out if Mario Jr. comes to town. He will frustrate the fans to no end and yet will still produce some points.

    A couple more things. I said last August that the Oilers should trade Gilbert and keep Grebs. The others at this site and Lowetide roasted me as if I was crazy. Now it would appear there are many more thinking the same way.

    One final memory of Jagr's first game in town. I came down the night before from McMurray and had dinner at Hy's. While I was waiting for my companion to show up, I sat at the bar. A gentleman came in and sat beside me. It was Mario. I few minutes later in came Tom Borrasso. It always struck me as stange that he was the one Mario had dinner with because of his reputation of being moody.