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.

  • Jonathan Willis wrote:

    RE: Markov vs. Bouwmeester
    Both are obviously good players, but Markov was the most important player on that Montreal team this year; they were far worse without him than with him.

    Since Bouwmeester didn't sit out how can you argue that Florida wouldn't have suffered just as much without him? Moot point I think.

    Bouwmeester v. Markov…Is a good debate, but the most glaring difference comes in PP points…

    Markov had 39 to Bouwmeester's 20. Montreal's PP scored 72 to 51 goals…Markov is more involved in the PP and he played :53 seconds more of PP time every game. That makes a big difference, especially on a team that has a great PP.

    ANd OB, to say that teammates don't matter is a bit strange to me.

    Hossa went from OTT with skilled teammates to ATL with KOvalchuk and Kozlov…pretty skilled players…

    If your PP has more skilled guys, and guys who know how to run a PP, a D-man can see his points improve drastically.

    I take Boummeester because of his size and skating ability. His size allows him not to get as tired, and he is more durable.

    I'd venture a guess that most have seen Markov more due to CBC and such, and if Bouwmeester goes to a team where you can see him more, I'd expect people to be surprised at just how dominant he is.

  • Chris

    Here is what I see.

    Penner (If he shows up in shape and has a good camp)
    Horcoff
    Hemsky.

    Coglino
    Gagner
    O'Sullivan (The kid line again with an upgrade on Nilsson)

    Moreau
    New third line center. A MUST!
    Pisani

    JF Jaques
    Brodziak (IF he has a good camp)
    Stortini

    Release Penner if he shows up to camp out of shape. Try to sign or aquire another top six forward to push both Penner and Horcoff. Find someone to push Brodziak (Prospect). The forth line center MUST be more physical. Move Pisani, Moreau, or O'Sullivan at the trade deadline if the team is not in the hunt.

    The Oilers need to sign or replace Roli. They need another center. They need another top six guy. Say goodbye to Pouliot, Nilsson, and Kotalik. Keep Reddox in the minors where he belongs. (Add two subtract four)

    Pray that the new coach can deliver a top 15 PP/PK and that Roli or his replacement can post a .915 SV% and this group could make the playoffs.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    @ kingsblade:
    @ Ogden Brother:
    If J-Bo wants to play here, (BIG IF) AND the Oilers can afford to sign him… Great! Then You can move ONE of the other top four for a top six forward. I don’t think Tambellini has the cap room though.
    Next scenario. Move ONE of the top four D-men for a top six forward. Acquire another legit D-man to replace the guy you moved. (Damn cap dilemma again!)
    Either way, I think it would be a mistake to move TWO of the current top four this offseason. Smid is not ready to be a top four guy starting out. (Though I’m sure he would appreciate the opportunity to step up in the event of an injury) It is counter-productive to move two guys out, then two different guys back in unless you can a)Really upgrade. Or b)save several million dollars by doing so. I’m not sure Tambellini can realistically achieve either.

    *Slaps head* Your scenario 2 "Move One top 4 dman for a top 6 forward, aquire another legit top 4 dman* is identical to

    "Sign J-bo, Move two top 4 Dmen for a top 6 forward and another legit top 4 Dman (defensive)"

    Your agree with the theory but arguing with the mechanics??

  • Chris

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Your agree with the theory but arguing with the mechanics??

    I'm NOT arguing mechanics. I'm arguing a very important point: I don't think it is wise to turn over two of your top four defencemen in one offseason. Both my scenarios involved turning over only one of the top four.

    Chris wrote:

    It is counter-productive to move two guys out, then two different guys back in unless you can a)Really upgrade. Or b)save several million dollars by doing so

  • Chris

    Regarding my earlier post.(Comment #182) The Oilers are committed to $43 millionish in salary next season. By releasing/shedding Nilsson, Staios, and Pouliot: Tambellini should have enough cash to sign Grebs, Smid, and maybe Brodziak. Assuming the cap comes in at 50 million (conservative guess)… Tambellini needs to sign a goalie, a third line center, AND make an upgrade on the top six for just 7 million…(I'm guessing Gaborik is out of the question) I'm thinking Penner HAS to be the man on that top line or he has to go. I don't like the Oiler team depth. I especially don't like the lack of wiggle room under the cap… That said, I don't think downgrading on the back-end is the way to go. Skate this team and hope you can get more out of Gagner and Coglino. I know this is boring…

  • Gene's Pubes

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    Jagr deserves a chance? He’s not looking to donate his services. His entitlement to $5-7 million is based on what?

    The fact that he would make this team 5-7 million dollars in merchandise let alone all the other crap that comes with it. The Oilers would make his salary back in a heartbeat.

    If we have nothing else to go on, no prospects, no chances of a top UFA, then whats the harm? You can throw around waste of money this and that, when Yagr's own presence will make that back. He cant produce here? Even if he comes and scores 60 points, thats better than all but 1 of our forwards.

  • Robin Brownlee

    Gene's Pubes wrote:

    The fact that he would make this team 5-7 million dollars in merchandise let alone all the other crap that comes with it. The Oilers would make his salary back in a heartbeat.

    That's a new concept. I wonder if Sather or Lowe or Tambellini have been factoring in potential sales of souvenirs when they make hockey decisions?

  • Gene's Pubes

    @ Robin Brownlee:

    That may not be their first thought, but your nuts if you dont think someone with some power will say, "That Jagr guy is going to make us a lot of money"

    But my point was, the Oilers will make his money back therefore its not like the Oilers will be throwing away money with nothing to show for it.

  • Garett

    Factoring in sales of merchandise? Are u guys f'n serious? Or am I the dumb one? Merchandise sales don't go back against the cap you idiots, we have an owner who can burn $100 bills for heat, we need cap help, not measily merchandise sales, pull your heads outta yer asses, we want a contender, not a western version of the Maple Leafs where they sell out even if u suck!

  • Robin Brownlee

    Garett wrote:

    Factoring in sales of merchandise? Are u guys f’n serious? Or am I the dumb one? Merchandise sales don’t go back against the cap you idiots, we have an owner who can burn $100 bills for heat, we need cap help, not measily merchandise sales, pull your heads outta yer asses, we want a contender, not a western version of the Maple Leafs where they sell out even if u suck!

    Nice comprehension. In the future, please engage that little walnut you call a brain before applying your fingers to the keyboard and making a jackass of yourself.
    And thanks for the tip about souvenir revenue not counting against the salary cap. I wasn't aware of that.

  • West Coast Oil, $Version=1

    @ Robin
    Sundin made the Canucks better because other teams have to respect him and his accomplishments. Meaning they need to put a top end defensive line against him which opened up more space for the Sundin line.
    If we can get a consistant secondary scoring line, having Jager means he would automatically draw the top defence pairing giving the second line more space.
    With Sundin he has been a shell of himself but he still draws the top end defenders because no coach wants him to find his scoring touch against their team

  • roughneck

    Its right there Robin… they pay him a percentage of what Gordie Howe made at 38 adjusted for inflation, if he meets or exceeds 75 points in 70 games then he can negotiate up to Gordies full salary.
    ~I cant see JJ having any problem with that~

  • Robin Brownlee

    @ West Coast Oil, $Version=1:
    You're absolutely right about secondary scoring. I'd suggest, though, it's smarter to try to acquire it with a player that fits into the plans long term as opposed to hoping somebody like Jagr can still deliver.
    People shouldn't get me wrong — Jagr was a magnificent player at his best and there's every possibility what he's got left would still make him one of the Oilers top two or three forwards, but he's a stop-gap solution.
    I'd rather see Tambellini skip the quick fix and spend his time and resources on somebody who has a chance to be here in two or three years when the younger players the Oilers have already invested in are hitting their stride.

  • Archaeologuy

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    You’re absolutely right about secondary scoring. I’d suggest, though, it’s smarter to try to acquire it with a player that fits into the plans long term as opposed to hoping somebody like Jagr can still deliver.

    I think everyone agrees with this statement Robin. But would you still disagree with signing Jagr if it's August, the Oilers have 5ish Mill in space, and all other routes for acquiring longer term solutions have been exhausted?

  • myteammytown

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Robin Brownlee wrote:
    Guys: Out of curiosity, I looked at the statistics the eight players ahead of Jagr in career scoring put up in the seasons in which they played at age 38. There’s quite a range.
    PLAYER GP G A PTS
    Gretzky 70 9 53 62
    Messier 59 13 35 48
    Howe 70 29 46 75
    Francis 82 15 50 65
    Dionne 37 7 16 23
    Yzerman 16 2 6 8
    Lemieux 10 1 8 9
    Sakic 44 13 27 40
    They all look pretty good to me. If he gets hurt we get the LTIR.
    Jagr at 6
    Or
    Kotalik at 3.25 and two million in open cap space?

    if he gets hurt we MIGHT get the LTIR.

    injured players continue to count against the cap, even on LTIR. there is relief available if replacing the $$$$ puts the team over the cap.

    banking on LTIR has disaster written all over it.

  • Robin Brownlee

    @ Archaeologuy:
    IF the Oilers exhausted every possible option and came up with nothing, IF they first addressed the other holes in the line-up and IF they could get Jagr for NEXT season at no more than $5 million, I'd put my philosophical distaste for trying to squeeze the last drop from over-the-hill superstars aside, hold my nose and tolerate the move.
    It's a last resort. It shouldn't be a first move.

  • Hemmertime

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    Guys: Out of curiosity, I looked at the statistics the eight players ahead of Jagr in career scoring put up in the seasons in which they played at age 38. There’s quite a range.
    PLAYER GP G A PTS
    Gretzky 70 9 53 62
    Messier 59 13 35 48
    Howe 70 29 46 75
    Francis 82 15 50 65
    Dionne 37 7 16 23
    Yzerman 16 2 6 8
    Lemieux 10 1 8 9
    Sakic 44 13 27 40

    The avg PPG there is equal to Hemsky, I would sign Jagr