Jagr might have to wait a while, and the league’s active scoring leader might not be the only free agent without a new job this weekend.
“He definitely still wants to play and there is some interest in him,” Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, told The Associated Press on Saturday afternoon. “I think it’s going to take some time, but you never know for sure because there are three teams that are very interested.”
Svoboda declined to say which teams wanted to sign Jagr.
J.P. Barry, who represents two of the top free agents available, Daniel Cleary and Mason Raymond, also expected a relatively slower pace of moves around the league.
“We’ve touched based with several teams and many of them are being patient at this point,” Barry said Saturday. “We’ve got options for (Cleary and Raymond), but we’re in a holding pattern.
“I’ve been through about 15 of these, and there is always a frenzy of moves then a pause to reassess and then a second wave. .”
Day 1 of the free agency flurry included dozens of deals, including Jarome Iginla signing a one-year deal worth as much as $6 million with Boston, which almost acquired the six-time All-Star last season when Pittsburgh did from Calgary. Nathan Horton cashed in on his second strong postseason performance for the Bruins with a $37.1 million, seven-year contract in Columbus.
Daniel Alfredsson made perhaps the most surprising move. The 40-year-old forward is taking what might be his last shot at winning a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings, jilting the Ottawa Senators after being the face of the franchise.
The Senators tried to bounce back by making a bold trade for Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan in exchange for a pair of promising players and a first-round draft pick.
On Saturday, the second day NHL teams could sign free agents, the pickings were slim after top-tier players were taken off the market by teams that agreed to and signed deals.
Among the relatively notable names available Saturday afternoon: Jagr, Cleary, Mason, Mikhail Grabovski, Ilya Bryzgalov, Tim Thomas, Damien Brunner, Mason Raymond, Toni Lydman, Derek Roy, Brad Boyes and Brenden Morrow.
Technically, Teemu Selanne is an unrestricted free agent, too.
No one, though, expects the 43-year-old Finnish Flash to leave the Anaheim Ducks if he chooses to keep playing in North America. Ducks general manager Bob Murray plans to contact Selanne next week to find out if he is close to making a decision on returning or retiring.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray, though, was among the many shocked when Alfredsson said he was ready to leave the only franchise he has played for in his 17-season NHL career.
“He indicated winning a Stanley Cup was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up,” Murray recalled. “He told me the two teams he was talking to. He told me he thought they were in a position ahead of us to make that happen.”
While Alfredsson could’ve stayed in Ottawa to make more than the $5.5 million he’ll be paid next season by the Red Wings to chase a Cup, Horton is leaving a championship-contending team to be well-compensated by a franchise in Columbus without a postseason win in its 12 seasons of existence.
“This is a team on the rise with great players and I’m looking forward to being a part of it,” Horton said.
Jagr, a five-time scoring champion and former NHL MVP, was able to continue his career in the league during the shortened season when the Dallas Stars gave him a $4.55 million, one-year contract last summer.
After Jagr had 14 goals and 26 points in 34 games for the Stars, showing he could still produce in his 40s, Dallas dealt him to the Bruins. He had nine points in 11 regular season games in Boston and 10 assists in 22 postseason games in which he didn’t score, but made key plays that didn’t show up on the scoresheet. Jagr teamed with Mario Lemieux to help lead the Penguins win a pair of Stanley Cup championships as a teenager in his first two NHL seasons in 1991 and 1992, and was the league’s MVP in 1999.