There is a strong chance that in two years from now the Edmonton Oilers may have a future first ballot hall of famer skating on their team.
After missing the playoffs for a third year in a row, Edmonton, who recently fired their long time coach Craig MacTavish, finally received some positive news on Thursday regarding former NHL superstar Jaromir Jagr.
In training camp this year, the Oilers, who have a young and speedy team, had some high expectations put on them by management. Unfortunately for fans and the organization, Edmonton, who in recent years have had trouble attracting free agents, underachieved by finishing 11th in the Western Conference with 85 points.
In a surprise move, Jagr, who was pursued by the Oilers last summer, stated to the media that he can imagine himself playing with Edmonton in the 2010-2011 season.
‘I was pretty excited when I heard that Edmonton pushed pretty hard for me to get (there)," the 37 year-old Jagr said. ”I really appreciate it.”
“If I ever go to (the NHL), they would be my number one pick because they showed the interest first. I never forget that and I respect that. They would be my first pick.”
In his 17 seasons in the NHL, Jagr registered 1,599 points and has one more season remaining on his contract with the Avangard Omsk who play in the Continental Hockey League. He plans to honor this contract.
According to reports, Jagr, who is a Hart Trophy Winner along with winning the Lester B. Pearson Trophy three times, (along with being a two time Stanley Cup winner) signed with Omsk last summer after no NHL team would give him a contract for more than one year.
“Day-by-day it’s so much pressure,” said Jagr about the expectations of being an NHL superstar. “I don’t know how to describe it. If I would be on the third or fourth line, I would probably be in the NHL because you don’t have to produce every night. I never minded it, I always wanted to be that guy. But it’s not easy to play in the NHL for 82 games plus playoffs in such pressure.”
Playing like a kid again, Jagr scored 53 points in 55 games this year and has also been one of the better players for the Czech during the world championships.
“I love the game, this is no problem,” says Jagr, who has lost 15 pounds since playing his last NHL game with the New York Rangers.
“I work harder than I ever did in my life, this is no problem.”