Jaromir Jagr gave the Florida Panthers some star power like perhaps never before, helped them win a division championship and unquestionably played a role in energizing what had been a stagnant fan base.
After all that, his tenure with the Panthers is over.
Making official what was suspected for some time, the Panthers revealed they are going forward without the surefire Hall of Fame forward.
On a day dominated by free agent signings — such as Florida adding forwards Evgeny Dadonov, Radim Vrbata and Micheal Haley — the biggest news out of Florida was that Jagr no longer is in the Panthers’ plans.
“I can’t say enough. It was an honor to be touched by a legend,” General Manager Dale Tallon said. “I was torn. It was a tough couple weeks or months, whatever it was. Can’t thank him enough. What he did for our kids, for myself and everyone in this organization, you can’t measure it.” . . .
After celebrating a Stanley Cup championship for a second consecutive season, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford told the team’s pending free agents to test the market and report back if they wanted to return.
There’s not much room at the inn, and it turns out that the Penguins will look very different as they try for a three-peat. As free agency opened, Pittsburgh signed defenseman Matt Hunwick and goaltender Antti Niemi but lost winger Chris Kunitz, center Nick Bonino and defensemen Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey.
Arguably the team’s most important move came late Saturday when it re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Justin Schultz to a three-year, $16.5 million deal.