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Kings say Jagr isn't a 'fit' despite need for offense

Won't pursue 45-year-old free agent, No. 2 scorer in NHL history

by Lisa Dillman / NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Forward Jaromir Jagr is not among the remedies the Los Angeles Kings are looking at to solve their scoring concerns.

Jagr, an unrestricted free agent, has 1,914 points (765 goals, 1,149 assists) in his NHL career, second to Wayne Gretzky (2,857). The 45-year-old had 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) with the Florida Panthers last season.

"Obviously [Jagr] is a tremendous player, been a tremendous player for a number of years, a [future] Hall of Famer," Kings general manager Rob Blake said during a Q&A session with season ticket holders on Thursday. "When you get to a certain age, you have to be a certain fit on a team.

"We've looked at lot of different free agents in the summer and where it fits in in our projections. … There was also the equation of the salary cap and how things fit in. We didn't go in the direction of Jagr this year. But again, he's a tremendous player and I'm sure he'll surface somewhere."

Jagr said last week that a couple of NHL teams had shown interest in him, but "I didn't expect it would be so hard to get a job in the NHL this year."

The Kings were tied for 24th in the NHL last season with 199 goals and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Jeff Carter (62) and Anze Kopitar (52) were the only Kings forwards with more points than Jagr last season.

New coach John Stevens and the Kings executives at the event at Microsoft Theater -- Blake, president Luc Robitaille and director of player development Nelson Emerson -- made it clear they are looking for solutions from within the organization and hoping for a bounce-back season from Kopitar.

The Kings decided not to bring back 40-year-old forward Jarome Iginla, an unrestricted free agent. Iginla, 34th on the League's scoring list with 1,300 points (625 goals, 675 assists), had nine points (six goals, three assists) in 19 games after he was acquired in a trade from the Colorado Avalanche on March 1 for a conditional draft pick.

Los Angeles did sign 35-year-old forward Michael Cammalleri to a one-year, $1 million contract. He had 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) for the New Jersey Devils.

Blake, who was promoted from assistant GM on April 10, replacing Dean Lombardi, said the Kings did not have any restrictions if the right player or the right move was available. But Robitaille said they didn't see much of a "splash" fit on the free agent market this offseason.

Forward Patrick Marleau, 37, signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 2.

"Even though we love him, I don't think anybody would want us to do that," Robitaille said. "It probably wouldn't help us a year from now."

Stevens and the executives gave a brief analytics presentation and discussed ways to improve the offense. Stevens said he believes the presence and experience of Pierre Turgeon, who was added to the staff as an offensive coordinator, will be valuable. Turgeon scored 1,327 points (515 goals, 812 assists) in 1,294 NHL games from 1987-2007.

"We can tell a player where to be," said Stevens, who replaced Darryl Sutter on April 23. "But [Turgeon] can tell him and see what is available in those situations. He can see the game at the level a Kopitar can see and a Carter and [Tyler] Toffoli can see that I can't see.

"I can tell them where to go and what I think should happen. He's lived it. He's seen it and he's done it."

Stevens said he expects Kopitar will rebound significantly. Kopitar had 12 goals and 40 assists in 76 games last season, his fewest points in a full season since entering the NHL in 2006-07. 

Stevens also expressed support for former captain Dustin Brown, who had 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) last season. The 30-year-old forward scored fewer than 30 points in each of the previous four seasons.

"He looks like the power forward that he was when he was having success, where he is taking people on and he's getting to the net," Stevens said.

Blake said 35-year-old forward Marian Gaborik, who had a nonsurgical procedure on his left knee after last season, could miss the start of training camp.

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