LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Dan Bylsma sure sounds like a guy who would welcome the opportunity to insert Jaromir Jagr into his lineup.
The Pittsburgh Penguins coach admits that he’s intrigued by the possibility of the team adding a player of Jagr’s calibre. The 39-year-old is eyeing a potential return to the NHL after spending three years in Russia and the Penguins are a possible landing place.
“Hypothetically, you’re talking about a guy who in his last year in the National Hockey League had 75 points,” Bylsma said Tuesday at an availability for the NHL awards. “That’s leading our team last year. That’s an intriguing thing to think about—a power-play guy, what you saw him do in the world championship against NHL-calibre players was nothing short of outstanding.
“Those are intriguing things to think about hypothetically and it’s tough not to think about adding 75 points to your roster if that’s something you’re capable of doing.”
Jagr started his NHL career with the Penguins in 1990 and spent 11 years with the franchise, teaming with Mario Lemieux to help the franchise win back-to-back Stanley Cups. He also claimed five scoring titles and one Hart Trophy.
His agent, Petr Svoboda, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he’s had discussions with Pittsburgh and Detroit about signing his client to a one-year deal.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has even spoken on the phone with the flashy Czech forward. At this point, Bylsma hasn’t reached out.
“I’ve talked to Mike, not to Jaromir,” he said with a laugh.
Bylsma is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year after helping the Penguins crack 100 points despite dealing with major injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He’ll be up against Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault and Nashville’s Barry Trotz on Wednesday night.
“It would be special (to win),” said Bylsma. “Now that I’m here, you’re kind of like this is something I’d like to be able to get. Again, I think it’s a big indication of our organization right from the top on down, right through the players and what they were able to do this year.”