About this time last year, Jaromir Jagr was rocking the hockey world with the news that he planned to return to the NHL after playing in Russia since 2008. When he did, after a protracted back-and-forth that had people on Twitter calling it #JagrWatch, he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers instead of the team he memorably won two Stanley Cups with, the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Still, he turned in a pretty good season for a man of 40, putting up 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games. He was also along for the ride as the Flyers played a tumultuous playoff series against the Penguins and fell to the New Jersey Devils in the conference semifinals.
But now, it looks like he won’t be suiting up in orange next season at all. Just two weeks after Jagr’s agent said that he and his client were trying to hammer out a new deal with Philly before the draft this Friday, the tone of things has changed and reportedly Jagr is going to try out the free agent market.
It is still entirely possible that Jagr might return to Philadelphia, although it’s probably a safe bet to rule out Pittsburgh because of how #JagrWatch went last year. The Detroit Red Wings showed interest in him in 2011, so they might show repeated interest in 2012. Jagr’s best friend, Tomas Plekanec, plays for the Montreal Canadiens, a team that could probably use a scoring touch after their abysmal showing last season. Teams that are having trouble reaching the cap floor might want to take on a guy like him with a high asking price, although keep in mind that the cap may very well change with a new collective bargaining agreement. For the record, though, a few teams that have a lot of cap space to work with as of now include the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders.
If the 2012 series of Jagr Watch turns out to be as dramatic, intense and sometimes downright unusual (remember his flight into Pittsburgh?) as 2011, though, this could prove to be very interesting indeed.
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