The Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Josh Yohe is reporting, via Jaromir Jagr’s very-talkative agent Petr Svoboda, that the Czech winger is expected to speak with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and general manager Ray Shero Wednesday.
“That’s what I am expecting to happen today,” Svoboda said. “They are supposed to talk.”
Svoboda went on to backtrack from his earlier statements that Jagr could have signed with an NHL team as early as yesterday, saying the timetable has been extended a bit longer.
“But nothing is going to happen in the next couple of days,” Svoboda said.
“I would say there is a good chance something gets done before July 1,” Svoboda said. “It’s not anything for sure, of course. It’s not 100 percent. But something could get done. It just won’t be in the next couple of days.”
Svoboda is still in the Czech Republic, but is expected to head stateside later this week for the NHL draft.
Jagr’s respect and admiration for Lemieux has been well-documented over the past few seasons. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun speculated earlier this week that the one thing that could really turn this courtship in the Penguins favor would be some real investment, of both time and money, from Lemieux.
That may come today, if the conversation goes well and Lemieux is convinced that Jagr can make an impact if he returns.
Now, will Jagr play in Pittsburgh for the maximum of $1 million the Penguins are supposedly willing to invest in him? Not likely. How about if the Penguins tripled that? Perhaps. And, as Mark Madden pointed out on his blog yesterday, there aren’t many impact wingers available on the free agent market for the price tag Jagr is likely seeking.
Who else can the Penguins sign? Cory Stillman? Nikolai Zherdev? Jussi Jokinen? Those guys might all cost MORE. The Penguins can’t afford Michael Ryder. Mike Knuble is almost as old as Jagr. There’s going to be an element of risk with any of those guys, Jagr included. So you have to consider risk vs. potential reward.
Of course, if Jagr is expecting to reel in more than the theorized $2.5-3 million price tag, he’ll have to settle for Detroit or the mystery team, as the Penguins would simply be unable to afford it while tightrope walking the salary cap.