The Malik Report
Long before the, “Where’s Jaromir Jagr, and which team does he want to play for?” mess began (and let’s be honest, we’re kind of assuming that he’s going to sign with Pittsburgh), two Wings targets in Christian Ehrhoff (twice) and James Wisniewski (once) had their rights traded to teams eager to get a head start on negotiating terms with said players and Jonathan Ericsson began to pop up as a realistic player that other teams might target…
Red Wings fans knew that, as Ken Holland and Jim Nill told the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell, that the team would attempt to re-sign its own unrestricted free agents before July 1st and then survey the marketplace, determining which players they’ll sign to replace Brian Rafalski and reinforce the roster based upon who is actually available at 12 PM EDT on Friday, and not before. We knew we’d have to wait—and that it’d be an uncomfortable wait—for the Wings to get to work.
Updated with comments from Ray Shero and Ken Holland at 1:46 AM: Well, the Jagr watch has turned into, “Where the hell is he?” Unless we believe the Czech reports that Jagr’s either turned down the Penguins and/or is attempting to renegotiate a deal, we’re left in scratching-our-heads territory, as noted by MLive’s Ansar Khan:
His agent, Petr Svoboda, said shortly after 10 p.m. that no decision would be made tonight. Svoboda, who is based in Montreal, said he hasn’t even spoken today to Jagr, who was scheduled to arrive in New York this afternoon.
“Nothing new to report,’’ Svoboda said. “I don’t know where he is.’‘
Jagr, 39, is contemplating one-year contract offers from the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. All kinds of reports and rumors have been swirling all day long. A Russian media outlet had Jagr signing for $1.4 million with the Penguins, which the club has denied. A Czech media outlet claimed he has rejected Pittsburgh’s offer, which Svoboda indicated is not accurate.
From the Penguins’ press, we get speculation that a deal remains in place, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-review’s Rob Rossi and Dejean Kovacevic (that, and we’ve learned that bloggers in Pittsburgh commit a big no-no in calling a player’s agent to ask where his client is):
No decision coming from Jagr tonight
Svoboda expects to talk to Jagr within the next hour and decision likely tomorrow.
Reason the delay according to Svoboda: “Travel difficulties overseas”
If we are to believe Blesk’s Miroslav Horak and Pavel Barta, or, via Paul, Lidovky.cz’s Antonin Vavrda, Jaromir Jagr has supposedly turned down the Pittsburgh Penguins’ offer of about $2 million per season and is either negotiating with the Red Wings and/or the Montreal Canadiens through his agent, Petr Svoboda…
Or Svoboda has at least told the Penguins that their offer to Jagr is unacceptable as he believes Detroit can double it (which is ridiculously in “hard to believe” territory), so he’s continuing to negotiate with Ray Shero to garner more favorable terms.
Depending on how you interpret quotation marks and who’s saying what to whom. Methinks the Czech press is jumping the gun, and I’d prefer to wait to hear what the North American press has to say in a language I can understand without having to rely on online translators.
Update: Do we consider these comments made by Svoboda to the Free Press’s George Sipple stalling?
Jagr was flying to the U.S. today, but his agent, Petr Svoboda, was still waiting to hear from him long after he was scheduled to land in New York.
“I don’t know if he missed a connection,” Svoboda told the Free Press after 8 p.m. “I have no clue.”
Just after 5:30 p.m., Svoboda told the Free Press: “No word. He has not arrived yet. It’s probably going to be another hour or so. They’ve had some delays in New York. As soon as he lands, he’ll be calling me.”
Updated with evening tidbits at 6:30 PM: As we all wait for the Jaromir Jagr saga to end, the Red Wings are well aware of the fact that free agents James Wisniewski, whose rights were traded to a Columbus Blue Jackets team that sounds all too happy to toss money at him, are disappearing fast, and that pre-UFA-day signings like Tomas Kopecky’s $3 million-per-season payday from the Florida Panthers are already throwing the marketplace out of whack.
That being said, Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill tells the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell that the Wings won’t keep pace with their compatriots’ insanity for the sake of spending money, though they’re admittedly stunned to see Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Brian Campbell’s gigantic contracts tossed from team to team:
“I don’t think anyone saw that coming,” Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “Teams have to spend more, while that can be good and bad, they have more money and space under the cap. With more teams able to afford it, there are places to go.”
“They (no-trades) don’t mean much now,” Nill said.“Why stay? You can at least control where you’re traded. How can you come back into a dressing room when you know they don’t want you to be part of the landscape. It would be a very difficult place.”
The Wings simply don’t plan on doing anything of the sort…
Well I don’t know what the hell to think about this: the Dallas News’s Mike Heika believes that the Stars might target Red Wings free-agent-to-be Jonathan Ericsson if he hits the open market, suggesting it’s an “educated guess” that Joe Nieuwendyk would toss money at Ericsson if/when things go south in his negotiations with the Wings, who remain the front-runner for his services:
If you want him to leave a successful place like Detroit, where he seems a perfect fit, you will have to overpay him. He made $1.25 million last season, and the guess is Detroit has him targeted at about $2 million. They are looking for a high-level defenseman in free agency to replace the retired Brian Rafalski, and they also have a couple of good young defensemen pushing up in Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith.
And that may be why Ericsson hasn’t already re-signed with the Red Wings. If he is intent on going to free agency, he is likely intent on going to a new team. Could the Stars be that team?
It depends on the price. The Blackhawks matched an offer sheet for Niklas Hjalmarsson that pays him $3.5 million for four years. Is that what it would take to get Ericsson? The Stars are paying Trevor Daley an average of $3.3 million for six years, could Ericsson have more upside? It’s an interesting discussion.
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon: Do the Chad LaRose and Tomas Kopecky deals make it infinitely harder for Ken Holland to keep Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller? You bet. Is today likely decision day, via RedWingsFeed, for Christian Ehrhoff? You bet. Are the Wings in the market for Brad Richards’ services, as his agent, Pat Morris, suggested to Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski? I have no frickin’ clue;
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi reports that it’s entirely probable that “Jagr Watch” will end today, much to the delight of Penguins fans and relief of Red Wings fans who want this to just get over and done with:
The agent for Jaromir Jagr said today that Jagr is en route to the United States and will inform of a decision on his NHL future late this afternoon.
“He is flying to New York (from the Czech Republic) right now,” agent Petr Svoboda said. “He is coming this afternoon and will tell us his answer then.”
Svoboda said he talked to Jagr last night about the Pens’ offer, and that Detroit and Montreal are also known to have made offers. Jagr is not expected to arrive in the U.S. until at least 3:30 p.m. Svoboda said he expects to know Jagr’s decision within an hour of his arrival.
The Penguins have set today as a deadline to hear if Jagr will accept their one-year offer that is around $2 million to play for them next season. Jagr, 39, spent the first 11 seasons of his NHL career with the Penguins, but has spent the past three years playing in Russia.
That’s about what the Wings have offered him, and, via RedWingsFeed, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov reports that Avangard Omsk still has an offer on the table for Jagr, but flying to the U.S. means he’s likely to play in the NHL.
Update: According to Dennik Sport, Jagr’s not totally excluded signing with the Red Wings.
Update #2 at 2:21 PM: Per Rossi and Josh Yohe:
Red Wings fans don’t do uncertainty well. Between the thinning free agent market, Jaromir Jagr’s increasingly likely status as a marquee player who’s saying, “No, thanks” to an offer from Detroit (which almost never happens), the uncertainty as to whether Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves or Drew Miller will return and the fact that, put bluntly, there are two days until free agency and we’re all antsier than kids on the last day of school, the Malik Report’s comment section has turned into something of a war zone.
So we understand that it’s the salary cap’s “floor,” not its ceiling, that’s pushing smaller-market teams into the red—and the $15 million gap between the “floor” and “upper limit” was Gary Bettman’s idea to foist parity upon the NHL, as a sort of bonus in the NHL’s dream CBA that was supposed to fix every team’s financial problems—and after a weekend’s worth of discussion as to whether the NHLPA will bear the burden of smaller-market teams’ desire to witness the a significant market “correction” in terms of the players’ share of wages and actual player salaries, the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts offers the other side of the coin: if there is to be another lockout, Bettman will have a hard time selling it to the Board of Governors as owners are now splintered.
Via a salary cap determined by league-wide revenues, big-market teams are both making more money than they did prior to the lockout and are being demanded to toss large revenue-sharing checks and up to half of their playoff ticket sales to float the smaller-market teams—and the checks are blank ones—and the bigger-market teams feel that there’s no need to stage a lockout to screw themselves out of good business for their weaker sisters’ sakes:
Those familiar with the league’s finances say a lockout is possible since new NHLPA leader Donald Fehr is not likely to preside over a huge decrease in the players’ share of the revenue. But a more important negotiation may lie ahead. That would be a discussion between the big-market teams and the small-market teams about a more equitable way to cut up the revenue pie. That is not likely to be a pleasant discussion.
A big-market governor scoffed at the idea. He said a lot of the poorer teams don’t run their businesses well, and besides, it’s the big boys who pull in the money. NBC laid out only $2-billion over 10 years for a U.S. television contract because it wants lots of the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings on the schedule, not the Predators and Blue Jackets. But, the governor said, the little guys still get an equal share of the $200-million a year NBC is paying.
He had some other examples, too, but the point was clear – if labour peace depends on large-market largesse, forget it.
Continued with “other examples” as to why the cap floor has pushed many small-market teams into operating loss territory…
So Brooks Laich is off the market after signing for crazy money with Washington, the rising cap means that the Hurricanes could afford to re-sign Joni Pitkanen, as Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski suggests, the Islanders have two days to try to convince Christian Ehrhoff that a gigantic payday makes playing for Garth Snow and Charles Wang worthwhile—as opposed to, say, taking $4.5 million to play for the Red Wings, which James Wisniewski might find appealing—and barring any unforeseen circumstances, Jaromir Jagr’s going to choose to play for Pittsburgh, not Detroit.
The strangest unrestricted free agent market’s thinner than the wisps of hair on my head when I was 19 (good riddance), the Red Wings will have serious-arse competition for the two or three top-flight defensemen available on Friday and, for the first time in a long time, a marquee player in his late 30’s is telling Detroit, “Thanks, but there’s somewhere else I’d rather play.”
So what are the Red Wings doing while they wait for Friday? First and foremost, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Wings are trying to keep Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller in the fold...
Well that’s that. The Red Wings have offered Jaromir Jagr a contract, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari reports that the Penguins have done the same:
General manager Ray Shero offered Jagr a one-year deal Tuesday and said he believes he will find out today whether Jagr agrees to it.
“[Today] is decision day,” Shero said. “We’ll see what he does. ... He’s got all the information he needs from us [to make up his mind].”
Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, could not be reached for comment last evening, but suggested earlier in the day that he also believed Jagr’s status for the 2011-12 season could be resolved today. Svoboda was expected to consult with Jagr Tuesday night, laying out the options that have emerged since Jagr went public with his desire to return to the NHL. It is not known whether any other team has made a proposal, although the Detroit Red Wings publicly have expressed interest in Jagr and at least one other team, believed to be Montreal, is purported to have contemplated pursuing him.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.