Jaromir Jagr signed the richest contract in NHL history, then advanced the Washington Capitals’ five-year plan to win the Stanley Cup by two years.
Jagr, the league’s scoring leader for five of the last six seasons, signed an eight-year, $88-million contract Thursday. The first seven years are guaranteed at $77 million with an option year to follow that could keep Jagr in a Capital uniform into 2009.
“When I came here, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Jagr, who had played only with Pittsburgh in an 11-year career before the Penguins traded him in July. “Then I heard the promise to win the Stanley Cup in five years.”
He paused briefly, then added: “Maybe three years now.”
“That’s pretty exciting,” he said. “This is the place I wanted to be. It’s been a long time since I won the Stanley Cup. I came into the league and won two in a row and thought it was going to be easy. It’s not that easy.”
Jagr had two years and $19.75 million remaining on his old Penguin contract. The new contract essentially amounts to a five-year extension worth nearly $60 million, the basic outline of which had been in place for more than a week. Jagr and the Capitals ripped up the old deal, with the new one taking effect immediately.
“We thought we made a very good trade this summer, and it just got better,” General Manager George McPhee said. “There were a couple of players in front of him in terms of salary, so we’ve put him at that level.”
Florida Panther right wing Valeri Bure returned to Florida to have his right knee examined.
Bure, the younger brother of Panther star Pavel Bure, will miss the remainder of the team’s trip through Saturday. He has a goal and an assist in six games this season.