In an exclusive telephone interview with Jaromir Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, Canes Country confirmed today that the Hurricanes are on the short list of teams Jagr is interested in playing for next season.
"What I can tell you is this: Carolina was on his list," Svoboda said. "What the reason is, he knows better than me. He’s not 20. He knows where he wants to go and why."
Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford has mentioned that there is mutual interest between the Hurricanes and an "elite" free agent over the past couple of weeks.
"There is one guy that has said he will take less, and a one year contract, to come to us because he likes our team and would like to play here," Rutherford said Tuesday during an interview on 99.9 The Fan. "I’ve been continuing to work on ways to do that. We’re going to have to move a player out before we’re able to add a player. At this point I haven’t been able to do that but he player is still waiting patiently."
Many have speculated why a "high caliber" free agent would be interested in a small market team like Carolina, but Svoboda said his client does, in fact, have interest.
"There are a lot of reasons," Svoboda said. "Ron Francis is there and when he looks at the roster and everything else, he feels that it’s a very good team."
Jagr and Francis played together in Pittsburgh from 1991-1998. During the 1995-96 season, Jagr amassed 149 points, 62 goals and 87 assists, while featured on a line with Francis, then team captain. Francis left the team, and captaincy to Jagr, after the 1997-98 season.
Amid speculation of two or three teams being involved, Svoboda said there are more than three teams.
"A long story short, there are more than three teams," he said. "Jaromir wants to be sure of the decision that he makes because he was in Philly, he was in Dallas, then in Boston. He wants to make sure he makes the right decision."
According to Svoboda, there is no timetable for Jagr’s decision.
"It could be soon, it could be a month from now," he said. "Right now, I’m just going to keep very quiet and we’ll see where it goes."
The Hurricanes powerplay struggled most of last season and Jagr's skill could certainly be a help. Can the Hurricanes close the deal and bring the future Hall of Fame player to Raleigh?