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Baggie Buzz: Jaromir Jagr may leave Panthers

News, notes for teams packing up after failing to qualify for playoffs

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the second and final installment of the 2017 Baggie Buzz, a look at the news from Tuesday involving the teams that didn't qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

 

Florida Panthers

Forward Jaromir Jagr was noncommittal about returning to the Panthers next season, which would be his 24th in the NHL.

"I don't want to talk about anything," said Jagr, 45, who ranks second on the NHL all-time list in points (1,914), third in goals (765), fifth in assists (1,149) and fourth in games played (1,711). "Just wait and see and whatever happens, happens. Of course, there's going to be some kind of changes. That's what the owners want and it's already starting."

On Monday, the Panthers announced Dale Tallon would take over as general manager. Tom Rowe, who had been coach and GM, will not return in either capacity next season, but will remain with Florida as a special adviser to Tallon.

Jagr can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"We haven't talked," Tallon said of Jagr. "[We] talked casually with his agent about a month ago. As we have in the past, we'll sit down moving forward in the next few weeks and see what his desires are and where we think it fits or not. We'll have a good positive discussion … and then we'll see where that leads us."

Video: FLA@BOS: Jagr nets wrister through traffic for PPG

-- Goaltender Roberto Luongo, who missed the last month of the season with a lower-body injury, is intent on returning.

"My focus is just making sure that I get healthy and 100 percent for next year," Luongo said. "I feel that I still have a lot of good hockey left in me when I'm healthy and feeling good. That's what I'm going to be focused on this summer."

Luongo, 38, had hoped to be able to play if the Panthers had qualified for the playoffs, but will wait until next season to climb the NHL's all-time wins list. He ranks fifth with 453 wins, one behind Curtis Joseph. Ed Belfour is third with 484.

-- Forward Thomas Vanek, a pending unrestricted free agent, said the Panthers are high on his list for next season. Vanek had 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 20 games with the Panthers this season after being acquired in a trade from the Detroit Red Wings prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Vanek, 33, has 697 points (333 goals, 364 assists) in 12 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Minnesota Wild, Red Wings and Panthers. He scored at least 40 goals in a season twice with the Sabres (2006-07, 2008-09). 

-- Center Nick Bjugstad will play for the United States in the 2017 IIHF World Championship from May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, but center Vincent Trocheck will opt to rest because of nagging injuries.

-- NHL.com Correspondent Alain Poupart

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Steve Mason isn't closing the door on returning to the Philadelphia Flyers, but if he does, he would like it to be as the clear No. 1 goalie. 
 
"Every single team needs to have a defined starter and a backup goalie," Mason told the Courier-Post on Tuesday. "Just having that clarity would have simplified a lot of things. At the end of the season there was that clarity and the results showed for it."
 
Mason, 28, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He was 26-21-8 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 58 games this season, most of that in a timeshare with Michal Neuvirth. 

Mason played 15 of the final 20 games and went 9-4-2 with a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage. Those 15 games came after Neuvirth, who could have become an unrestricted free agent, signed a two-year contract March 1.
 
In five seasons with the Flyers, Mason has won 104 games, third-most in their history behind Ron Hextall (243) and Bernie Parent (232). Mason's 231 games are third behind Hextall (489) and Parent (486). Of the 24 goaltenders to play at least 50 games for the Flyers, Mason's 2.47 GAA is fourth and his .918 save percentage is second to Roman Cechmanek (.923). 
 
Mason said he enjoyed the partnership with Neuvirth but said in his opinion, for a team to be successful, it can't have two No. 1 goaltenders. 
 
"It doesn't work," he said. "It's shown throughout the League that it doesn't work. [The Tampa Bay Lightning] got rid of their situation (with Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy). [The St. Louis Blues] got rid of their situation (with Jake Allen and Brian Elliott). It's got nothing to do with [Neuvirth] and I as people. I've got no issue with [Neuvirth]. It just doesn't work for the goaltending position."
 
Mason said in his meeting with Hextall he asked that a decision one way or the other be reached quickly. 
 
"I just told [Hextall] to do me the favor of making the call as soon as possible because I have other things that I have to take care of in terms of a house and moving things from here," Mason said. "He said he'd be in contact with my agent when they figure their stuff out."
 
-- NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Adam Kimelman

 

Detroit Red Wings

Coach Jeff Blashill will coach the United States in the World Championship.

"Obviously, I'd like to be playing tomorrow -- we all would -- but it is a great honor to get the opportunity to represent your country in a tournament like the World Championships," Blashill said Tuesday. "On top of that, it is also a great learning experience. I try to get better as a coach every day, and this gives me a chance to do that. I'm going to be working with new players and new coaches and there will be things that I can take away from them to make me better."

Center Dylan Larkin and goaltender Jimmy Howard will play for the U.S. Forward Justin Abdelkader is getting an MRI on his knee this week, and if there is no damage, he will play as well. Forward Gustav Nyquist is interested in playing, but has not yet spoken to Swedish management.

-- NHL.com Correspondent Dave Hogg

 

New Jersey Devils

Left wing Taylor Hall said he isn't fazed by the success of his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, and the fact they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs the season after he was traded to the New Jersey Devils.

"It's tough to see your old team do well, but at this point it's been a long time now, and I'm starting to be resigned to the fact that they're going to do what they do," Hall said Tuesday during Devils breakup day at Prudential Center. "I had a really good time with the Devils, and players in this area. I'm committed to having the success that Edmonton is having, doing that here and being a guy who can turn that around."

Hall, acquired in a trade with Edmonton for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, finished tied for the Devils scoring lead with 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) and the Devils controlled 52.75 percent of all shots attempted with Hall on the ice.

-- NHL.com Staff Writer Mike G. Morreale

Video: PIT@NJD: Hall roofs wicked shot for power-play goal

 

Vancouver Canucks

Canucks players took the blame for the firing of coach Willie Desjardins, along with assistant coaches Doug Lidster and Perry Pearn, one day after finishing the season with 69 points (30-43-9), second-fewest in the NHL.

"It's never fun to see your coach go, but that says a lot about what we have done this year on the ice," captain Henrik Sedin said. "It was a tough day [Tuesday]."

Henrik and Daniel Sedin finished with 51 and 44 points, respectively, their lowest full-season totals in more than a decade; it marked the first time since 2005-06 neither led Vancouver in scoring. Their struggles played a big part in the power play, which finished 29th (14.1 percent) in the League, and in setting a Canucks record for fewest goals in a full season with 178.

Each vowed to bounce back next season.

"If we were 25 it would have been an off year, now we're 36 and people think it's because we are getting old," Daniel said. "For me it was an off year and we are going to come back and have to prove, first and foremost to our teammates, that we can be those guys. It's going to be a challenge, but we like challenges."

"Next year I see ourselves going back to putting up numbers," Henrik said. "It's not going to be 80, 90 points … but putting up 60, 65, 70 points is not out of the question and that's something we have to show."

-- NHL.com Correspondent Kevin Woodley

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