If the New York Rangers' chances to re-sign star winger Jaromir Jagr looked slim this off-season, general manager Glen Sather may have ended all hope Thursday.
With the Jagr contract talks seemingly at a standstill, Sather went out and inked former Vancouver Canucks right-winger Markus Naslund to a two-year free-agent deal worth $8 million US.
Sather, who said he couldn't wait any longer for Jagr to commit to the Rangers for next season, broke the news to the player on Thursday.
"Jagr was very respectful when I talked to him and gave him the information that we're going to move on," Sather said, adding he believes Jagr might head to Russia for a lucrative contract.
While Jagr was said to be seeking a two-year pact with the Rangers, Sather said neither the player nor his agent, Pat Brisson, indicated what it would take to consummate a deal.
"I kind of always got the feeling that maybe there was something in Russia that is really looking at him," Sather said. "We never got to that situation where I knew exactly what he was looking for, whether it was a one-year or a two-year [offer].… It's pretty tough to negotiate with yourself."
Brisson offered a different viewpoint.
"Glen and I had many discussions regarding Jaromir in the past month or so," he said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "It wasn't a matter of he or us coming up with the right proposal. Jaromir wants to get a deal done if, when, and where he sees fit. Time will tell."
Sather left the door open a bit for Jagr to return "if things don't work out for him in Russia."
The 36-year-old Jagr topped the Rangers with 71 points in 82 games this past season before adding five goals and a team-leading 15 points in the playoffs.