Jagr will decide soon on Penguins' offer
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The puck is on Jaromir Jagr's stick.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero on Tuesday offered Jagr a one-year contract, and the one-time Penguins great is expected to make a decision today on whether to accept it.
"He was an icon in Pittsburgh," Shero said. "We'd like to see him finish his career here."
Shero refused to divulge financial terms, but the Penguins' offer is in the $2 million range, sources said.
"We made our offer," Shero said. "It's an offer that really isn't going to change. We only have so much to spend. We'll see what happens. The agent (Petr Svoboda) said it isn't about the money for Jaromir. He said it's about the fit."
The Penguins are about $6.5 million under the salary cap but want to remain at least $1 million under the cap ceiling in case transactions are necessary during the season. They would also like to sign a couple of their unrestricted free agents, including Tyler Kennedy.
Shero spoke with Jagr on Monday and was confident the NHL's ninth all-time leading scorer wants to play for the Penguins.
"That's what he says," Shero said. "He really feels like he is in great shape, and I'm sure that he is. He always has been. He saw what (Teemu) Selanne and (Mark) Recchi did this year."
At 39, Jagr no longer possesses great speed. Shero and coach Dan Bylsma, however, are convinced Jagr still is capable of being a productive NHL player. Shero witnessed Jagr's hat trick against Team USA in the World Championships last month.
"And he might be even better on a smaller ice surface," Shero said, noting the larger world championship rinks. "We are confident the guy can still play."
Svoboda said his conversation with Shero yesterday was positive.
"We had good talks," said Svoboda, who noted a decision likely will come today.
Jagr cannot sign an NHL contract until Friday, when free agency begins.
The Detroit Red Wings also are believed to have offered Jagr a contract, likely one that is more lucrative. Montreal may also have made an offer.
One of Jagr's former teammates said the future Hockey Hall-of-Famer would be welcome in the Penguins' locker room. Pascal Dupuis, who signed a two-year deal with the Penguins yesterday, played briefly with Jagr in New York.
"He's one of the greatest players of all time," Dupuis said. "When he feels like it, he can be the best player on the ice."
Shero yesterday also spoke with Mike Rupp's agent but has a plan B if Rupp doesn't re-sign. Arron Asham, who wasn't believed to be in the Penguins' plans, has had discussions with the team about a new deal.
"I'm not sure if we'll sign Rupp or Asham," Shero said. "But we're talking."
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