While the two biggest stars on the NHL free-agent market were still pondering their futures, a future Hall of Famer found a new home in Texas.
The Dallas Stars signed 40-year Jaromir Jagr to a one-year deal worth $4.55 million on Tuesday.
“He’s still a world-class player,” Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. “For us to bring a player like that to our franchise is a big deal.”
Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, however, were not yet ready to pick a team to play for next season and beyond.
“When a young man is asked to commit for 13 years, why is it considered extraordinary to take a few days to make a decision?” Neil Sheehy, Suter’s agent, wrote in an email. “A deal will happen when it happens.”
Parise said Tuesday he still didn’t have a timetable for his decision soon after landing in his home state at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
“I’m back here to talk with my family and make sure that we’ve done all the work that we need to do make sure we make the right decision,” Parise told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.
Parise hasn’t met with any teams, one of his agents, Wade Arnott, told The Associated Press. His other agent, Don Meehan, said there was no chance the coveted client would make a decision Tuesday night.
“We will resume tomorrow,” Arnott wrote in a text message Tuesday night.
The New Jersey Devils want their top forward available to re-sign while Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit and Minnesota are among the teams that are trying to lure him away.
Parise said he has been looking at where he wants to live, where he’ll be happy and what team he wants to play for since hitting the market Sunday. And, he’s looking forward to being done with the process.
“It’s been a stressful couple days,” Parise told the Star Tribune.
The two free agents are both 27 and each has been with only one team during their seven-season careers. Suter has played for the Nashville Predators, who are hoping for a quick answer from him so that they can move onto Plan B if necessary. The Predators aren’t alone.
Second-tier free agents such as defenceman Matt Carle and forward Alexander Semin seem to be waiting for Suter and Praise to sign so that they can offer their talents to teams that don’t get a top target.
Some players, however, have jumped at chances to re-sign or sign in the opening three days of free agency.
Colorado kept defenceman Erik Johnson thanks to a $15 million, four-year deal and New Jersey retained defenceman Bryce Salvador with a $9.5 million, three-year contract.
Jagr, who played last season with Philadelphia, has led the NHL in scoring five times and won an MVP. He had 19 goals and 54 points — both career lows — for the Flyers.
In NHL history, he ranks first with 16 overtime goals, second with 114 game-winning goals, eighth with 1,653 career points, 11th with 665 goals and 12th with 988 assists.
Jiri Hudler signed a $16 million, four-year contract with Calgary — getting much more than Detroit offered to keep him — and former Flames forward Olli Jokinen left to play in Winnipeg on a $9 million, two-year contract on Monday.
There were a flurry of signings Sunday — Day 1 of NHL free agency — including forward P.A. Parenteau leaving the New York Islanders for a $16 million, four-year contract with the Avalanche and 40-year-old forward Ray Whitney getting a $9 million, two-year deal from Dallas.
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