Jagr movement could be coming very soon

| Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jaromir Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, will be at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend. So will Penguins general manager Ray Shero and Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland.

It's time to make a deal.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, fresh off winning the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year, certainly sounded in favor of bringing the team's former star back on board.

"I envision a guy coming back to the NHL with a high amount of motivation," Bylsma said Wednesday in Las Vegas. "He doesn't need to. He could probably make more money somewhere else, but he'd be coming back to prove he could play in the league and to win a Stanley Cup. And to think of a guy who scored 75 points his last year in the league, and then you see him in the world championships be outstanding. ... His work ethic is high and the leadership is there, and that's a real intriguing factor to think about the possibility of adding him to your team."

The Penguins and Red Wings are the teams known to have interest in Jagr, and he is believed to desire a return to Pittsburgh. Svoboda's arrival Friday in St. Paul, Minn., for the draft could make for an interesting weekend.

"Nothing is going to happen in the next couple of days," Svoboda said. "On Friday, I'm coming to the States."

Svoboda said Jagr was set to have a conversation with Shero and Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux on Tuesday. Jagr has long admired Lemieux, his former teammate.

Svoboda confirmed that the Penguins and Red Wings remain the front-runners for Jagr's services. A third team — either another NHL team or a squad from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, where Jagr played the past three seasons — reportedly also is showing interest.

Free agents such as Tyler Kennedy, Mike Rupp, Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot would be less likely to return should Shero sign Jagr. The NHL's free agency period opens July 1, but Svoboda seemed interested in finding his client a team sooner rather than later.

"I would say there is a good chance," he said, "something gets done before July 1."

'Jagr Watch' timeline

Tracking the developments of former Penguins star Jaromir Jagr's possible return to the NHL:

January 2009 — Jagr says he would return to Pittsburgh for the "league minimum" because he "owes his hockey life" to Mario Lemieux.

May 11, 2011 — With Penguins general manager Ray Shero in attendance, Jagr scores a hat trick against the United States at the world championships. On Shero's behalf, Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek delivers an invitation to a 1991 team reunion to Jagr.

May 16, 2011 — Jagr says he would consider a return to the NHL and mentions Pittsburgh as a possible destination.

Saturday — Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, approaches Shero about Jagr's interest in playing for the Penguins.

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