The Pittsburgh Penguins withdrew a one-year, $2 million contract offer to Jaromir Jagr, declining to get into what they called a “free-agent bidding war” for the 39-year-old right wing.
Jagr, who played in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League for the past three seasons, spent the first 11 seasons of his National Hockey League career with the Penguins.
The Penguins withdrew their offer after Jagr held discussions with other teams in an attempt to get more money, Penguins General Manager Ray Shero said.
“We made what we thought was a very fair contract offer to Jaromir, based on his stated interest of returning to the Penguins,” Shero said in a statement. “But now, after several days, with an extended time frame for making a decision, and additional teams getting involved, we have decided to move in a different direction. It was never our intention to get involved in a free-agent bidding war. We wish him the best.”
Jagr won both of his Stanley Cup titles with the Penguins, in 1991 and 1992. Pittsburgh took him with the No. 5 pick in the 1990 draft.
In his 11 season with the team, the forward led the league in points five times, including four consecutive seasons from 1997 through 2001. The league Most Valuable Player in 1999, Jagr finished his NHL career with the New York Rangers, before leaving the league in 2008. He was an All-Star pick nine times.
In 1998, Jagr led the Czech Republic to the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He had one goal and four assists in the tournament, tied for the team lead in points. Eight years later he helped the Czechs to a bronze medal in Turin, Italy.
Jagr, who had 15 consecutive seasons with 30 or more goals, is ninth on the NHL’s scoring list with 1,599 points. He trails former Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic by 42 points for eighth. Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh’s owner and a former teammate of Jagr, is seventh.