(Update: Jagr has agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.)
Both the Red Wings and Penguins have taken themselves out of the Jaromir Jagr sweepstakes, leaving the veteran winger’s rumored return to the NHL in doubt. Pittsburgh issued a press release just before Friday’s start of free agency, as reported by the Sporting News’ Craig Custance, to announce that it was withdrawing its offer to Jagr. Custance reported about a half-hour later that the Red Wings were doing the same.
Adam Proteau of The Hockey News tweeted that part of that release included a comment from Pens GM Ray Shero stating: “(It was) never our intention to get involved in a free agent bidding war.”
There had been some rumblings that Jagr’s delay in picking a team was because a third, unnamed NHL franchise — rumored to be the Canadiens — might be in the mix, or that Jagr was still contemplating a return to Russia’s KHL.
Those may be the 39-year-old Jagr’s only options left at this point. This week has been a whirlwind in Jagr’s free agency — his agent, Petr Svoboda, initially said that Jagr would pick a team Wednesday. However, when Wednesday rolled around, Svoboda had trouble even locating his client. Svoboda then said we’d likely find out Jagr’s plan Thursday, but that 24-hour window also came and went without news.
Detroit re-signed both Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves in Friday’s morning hours, which also may have contributed to Detroit’s decision to back off on Jagr — with those two on board, the Red Wings have 12 of their forwards back from last year’s roster, plus Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton ready to make the NHL jump.