On the morning of July 1st the Penguins had two priorities before the noon free agency clock struck: 1) sign forward Tyler Kennedy
to a contract; 2) get a decision from Jaromir Jagr on a one-year contract offer.
“We made (Jagr) an offer on Tuesday within the parameters of our salary cap with the idea of bringing back Tyler Kennedy
as well,” Shero said. “If those two things would have happened that would have been great.”
The Penguins succeeded in locking up Kennedy, signing the 24-year-old winger to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2 million. But in regards to Jagr, the team pulled its offer off the table at 11:30 a.m. Jagr eventually signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“As of last night for me, it didn’t feel right,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “This morning when I talked to the agent I said I needed an answer before the beginning of free agency. We gave them a deadline of 11 o’clock. That deadline came and went. We withdrew our offer and moved on to other things.”
Shero said there are no bad feelings between himself and Jagr because the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.
“I don’t know Jaromir Jagr so I’m not bitter at all. This is business,” Shero said. “If Jagr had said yes to us by 11 o’clock he would be a Penguin. He didn’t. It was time to move on.”
Despite several reports that Jagr asked for more money, Shero said the two sides never negotiated over the price.
“It never came down to a money issue with Jagr, honestly,” he said. “He never asked for more money. We never got into a negotiation. He just went somewhere else.
“I respect his decision.”
Despite the fact that Jagr didn’t return to the Penguins, his legacy is still strong in the franchise’s history. He remains second on the team’s all-time record list in almost every category: goals; assists; points; power-play goals; etc.
“This doesn’t change his place in our history here,” Shero said. “He’s won two Stanley Cups. He’s obviously a great player. ... We wish him the best.”