Continued from page 1

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Jagr’s first NHL team, are waiting to hear about an offer they made. The Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are also known to be interested.

The 39-year-old Jagr teamed with Mario Lemieux on Penguins teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992. Pittsburgh offered him a one-year deal that could mark the end of his career.

In 17 NHL seasons with the Penguins, Capitals and Rangers, Jagr has 646 goals and 1,599 career points. He was the NHL MVP in 1999, a finalist five other times, and an eight-time All-Star.

The free-agent defensemen class got a bit of a head start as Andrei Markov decided not to test the market, and instead re-upped with the Canadiens on a three-year, $17.25 million deal.

Kevin Bieksa is also staying put, re-signing with the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks for five years and $23 million. The Canucks also re-signed defenseman Andrew Alberts to a two-year, $2.45 million deal.

That was only the start of the Canucks’ free-agent issues. Vancouver was also trying to work out deals with defenseman Sami Salo, after giving up on bringing back fellow defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. The Canucks shipped Ehrhoff’s negotiating rights to the New York Islanders, but New York also hit a wall in trying to ink a deal with him so the Islanders sent Ehrhoff’s rights to Buffalo on Wednesday, one day after they got them. Ehrhoff was traded for a fourth-round draft pick each time.

Buffalo might have more success with new owner Terry Pegula readying for his first full season as Sabres owner. He has given general manager Darcy Regier the go-ahead to spend freely. After acquiring defenseman Robyn Regehr and forward Ales Kotalik from Calgary at last weekend’s draft, Regier might be set to bolster the blue line again with Ehrhoff.

“We hope to be active. We’d like to add both a forward and defenseman, but we’ll have to see how it goes,” Regier said. “You have to give Terry a tremendous amount of credit because he’s opened up the ability for us to focus on unrestricted free agents and given us the resources.

“We’re in competition for what really is a pretty small group of players. It’s a small list this year.”

One defenseman who won’t be returning to Buffalo is Steve Montador, whose rights were traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for a seventh-round draft pick next year or in 2013. The Canadiens sent the rights to defenseman James Wisniewski to Columbus for a seventh-round pick.

In moves made Thursday, the Carolina Hurricanes re-signed forward Jussi Jokinen to a three-year contract worth $9 million, and the St. Louis Blues kept 24-year-old forward T.J. Oshie away from restricted free agency, agreeing to a one-year, $2.35 million deal.

San Jose reached one-year deals with potential restricted free agent forwards Jamie McGinn and Frazer McLaren.

The Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins will let defenseman Tomas Kaberle, acquired midseason from Toronto, and forward Michael Ryder test the market. However, general manager Peter Chiarelli hasn’t given up on bringing them back to Boston.

“We certainly haven’t parted ways,” Chiarelli said Thursday during a conference call. “I’m wary of the market, where it stands right now and I said, ‘Look guys go out there and see what’s going on and let’s continue to talk.’ The risk that we run is that they will get a deal, then they can’t come back to us. I understand that risk.”

Because of the limited amount of star power, clubs will try to make deals to get better without spending unwisely. One rogue contract could throw the pay scale out of whack.

Story Continues →