It wasn't too long ago that Jaromir Jagr described his return to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers as "the most enjoyable year I've ever had" following a series-ending loss to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Though Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren didn't rule out the prospect of re-signing Jagr, he remained non-committal Monday when he spoke to the media at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, N.J.
"I haven't spoken to Jaromir or his agent [Petr Svoboda since] within two days after the season was over," Holmgren said. "We left it at we would talk later on near the end of June. Again, we don't know what the salary cap is going to be, so there are a lot of variables that we have to wait on.
"I think Jaromir brought a lot to the team this year, and I can see him doing the same next year, so I would certainly have interest."
Svoboda told CSNPhilly.com he planned on speaking with Holmgren regarding Jagr at the NHL Draft, to be held Friday and Saturday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Holmgren said it is 50/50 whether Jagr returns to the Flyers after playing out his one-year, $3.3-million contract.
"What he brought to our locker room and what he brought to the practice rink and our strength and conditioning room was outstanding," Holmgren said. "Having him around for the young guys was a great thing."
Svoboda's other Flyers client, Jakub Voracek, received a qualifying offer of $2.25 million as a restricted free agent. That guarantees the team will retain his negotiating rights through free agency, which begins July 1.
"I think, like I said when the season ended, Matt wants to be a part of the Flyers organization and we would like to keep him," Holmgren said. "We can't do anything right now. I have kept in contact with both Matt and his agent. I am fairly certain that we will get him signed."
He's looking forward to this year's draft and the chance to add more assets to a relatively young group.
"I could tell you now, positionally, we are stronger as an organization at the forward position than we are at defense," Holmgren said. "That doesn't mean that we are going to take a defenseman. If there is a forward that our group likes ahead of the defenseman, we will probably take the forward. That's what I would say. That is the way we have always done business and we will continue to work that way."
Philadelphia owns five picks in this year's draft. As of now, the club does not have a pick in the second or sixth rounds.
"Our first-round pick is at 20 and we are happy with that position," Holmgren said. "We think we will get a player there that is a good prospect. It is a different draft for sure. There are some top-end guys there and maybe after the first five or six players, it evens out."
Holmgren was asked if his team would consider drafting a goalie.
"I guess we could," he said. "I think we have a couple of young guys that we signed here. Niko Hovinen is going to play this year in North America. Cal Heeter, out of Ohio State, we signed. We have some young guys that are under contract that are going to play in the system. That doesn't mean that we won't look at a goalie at some point in the draft. In the first round, who knows?"
According to NHL Central Scouting, the top three European goalies are Russia's Andrei Vasilevski (6-3 1/4, 204), Sweden's Oscar Dansk (6-2 1/2, 186) and Finland's Joonas Korpisalo (6-1 1/2, 163). The top-ranked North American goalie is Malcolm Subban (6-1, 188) of the Ontario Hockey League's Belleville Bulls. Subban is the brother of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
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