Jaromir Jagr's Kontinental League team, Avangard Omsk, made the playoffs and perhaps put a hold on his NHL return. (Normunds Brics-JansonsMedia)
The NHL’s trade deadline is now history and speculation is turning toward the status of many of this summer’s potential Group II and III free agents.
• Did Jaromir Jagr nearly return to the NHL?
Citing a source, the New York Post recently reported the Edmonton Oilers hoped to sign Jagr this season to bolster their offensive depth down the stretch.
Jagr would’ve had to pass through waivers where he could’ve been plucked away by a rival club. The Post suggested, however, the Oilers might’ve gotten around that by offering up a “poison pill” contract to Jagr, signing him through to next season for as much as $7 million in order to discourage rival clubs from claiming him.
The paper claimed the deal fell through when Jagr’s Kontinental League team qualified for the playoffs, but the notion of a “poison pill” contract wouldn’t fit into the Oilers’ salary cap space for next season anyway, unless they dump considerable payroll to make room.
The Oilers presently have more than $43 million committed to 18 players for next season, leaving little room to sign a much-needed quality starting goaltender and fill out the remainder of the roster.
Adding Jagr at up to $7 million for next season would’ve been more of a poison pill for the Oilers rather than their rivals.
• Looks like there won’t be any re-signing of the Sedin twins by the Vancouver Canucks before the end of this season.
With just more than a month to go until the NHL post-season, the Vancouver Sun reported the Sedins’ agent and Canucks management have agreed to shut down negotiations for the remainder of the season so the talks don’t become a distraction during the playoffs.
It’s believed Daniel and Henrik are seeking multi-year deals worth $6.5 million each, while Canucks GM Mike Gillis is thought to be offering $5.5 million apiece.
The twins want to play together, but given the uncertainty over the salary cap for the next two seasons it could be difficult for them to find the deals they want on this summer’s open market.
Rumor has it Toronto Maple Leafs GM – and former Canucks GM – Brian Burke might make a pitch, as his Leafs will be among those few teams with the cap space to afford investing $13 million per season into the Twins.
• Marian Gaborik might still have a future with the Minnesota Wild.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Wild GM Doug Risebrough could consider making a short-term offer to Gaborik, whose trade and free agent value took a significant hit due to multiple injuries that sidelined him for most of the season.
This isn’t the first time there has been reports the Wild might try to re-sign Gaborik, despite the breakdown of talks last fall sparking a blizzard of early-season trade rumors.
Wild owner Craig Leipold has previously suggested his club could re-open talks with the talented but oft-injured winger.
Given the Wild’s lack of offensive depth and the difficulty in landing affordable scorers, it appears the front office is willing to make the effort to keep Gaborik, despite his rejection last fall of a rumored long-term contract worth more than $8 million per season.
Gaborik must be kicking himself that he didn’t snap that offer up. Let’s just hope he doesn’t re-injure himself in the attempt.
• Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has to be pleased with the contributions of recently reacquired winger Erik Cole.
Since his return from the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline Cole has potted eight points in six games, adding a much-needed offensive spark to the Hurricanes attack at a crucial time in the season.
The Raleigh News & Observer reported Rutherford hopes to re-sign Cole this summer to a hometown discount when his contract expires at the end of this season.
Cole earned $4 million this season and could command as much, if not more, as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Given how his game perked up after “coming home” to Carolina, the possibility of him re-signing at a hometown discount shouldn’t be ignored.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.