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Jagr says he's 'able to wait' for NHL deal

45-year-old free agent forward wants 'to extend my career there' with Cup contender @NHLdotcom

Jaromir Jagr reiterated Tuesday that he wants to play in the NHL this season, preferably for a team that complements his style and where he has a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

"I love NHL hockey. That's the reason I'm able to wait," the 45-year-old right wing said in an interview translated from Česká televise on Tuesday. "So many people would love to play at least one game in the NHL. And me, if I didn't go to Russia, I would have the most games played of all players, so I was extremely lucky. I like the conveniences, environment and all the things around [the NHL] so much that still I want to extend my career there."

Jagr has been an unrestricted free agent since July 1 after playing last season for the Florida Panthers, who chose to not try to re-sign him.

He confirmed the Calgary Flames have had interest in him this offseason.

"The interest has been there from the first day (of free agency)," he said. "But it's tough to consider how big that interest really was. Especially when it's changing from one day to another."

Jagr outlined what he is looking for.

Video: Elliotte Friedman on Jaromir Jagr remaining unsigned

"It's about going to a team where they have, let's say, fewer wings; going to the team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup; and going to the team that plays similar kind of hockey as I do," he said. "And to the team where I know there [are] a couple of players that I could click with playing together.

"Money is a factor too. But not because of the money itself, but because if you took an offer with a minimal salary, it could easily happen that after the first half of the season they tell you, 'Bye,' and you don't have a spot on the roster anymore. Myself, I'm curious to see how it's [going to] turn out."

Jagr said on Aug. 9 that he "didn't expect it would be so hard to get a job in the NHL this year." His agent, Petr Svoboda, told a Vancouver radio station on Aug. 26 that "I am working around the clock and will get something done." 

Training camps open in about two weeks, and the regular season begins Oct. 4.

"It's a kind of [like] poker," Jagr said. "Neither side will open its cards and time is not pushing anyone for now. There are many teams who haven't yet finished their rosters and they have lots of gaps there. The teams and [general managers] are not [in] a rush. They know they still have [a month] before the season starts."

Jagr had 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 82 games for the Panthers last season, his 23rd in the NHL, and became the second-leading scorer in League history behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857-1,914).

He has played 1,711 NHL games, fourth in League history, 56 behind leader Gordie Howe, with three seasons spent in the Kontinental Hockey League (2008-11). Jagr said returning to play in Europe is an option.

"It wouldn't necessarily have to be the KHL, but it has to be a top league," he said. correspondent Michael Langr contributed to this report.

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