OMSK, Russia – Czech star winger Jaromir Jagr is leaving the New York Rangers after three seasons. The 36-year-old signed with his lockout club Avangard Omsk of the Russian KHL.
Jagr, who was the Rangers’ best scorer for three straight years, played in the NHL since 1990, with 723 goals and 1057 assists in 1442 games. He won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh, earned the Hart Trophy as the MVP in 1999 and won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL top scorer five times.
His NHL career was interrupted by two lockouts where he played with hometown club Kladno and with Omsk. There were rumors that he would sign with either Penguins or Omsk, but and opted for a two-year contract with an option for a third season with Avangard from the Siberian city of Omsk. According to reports, he will earn an annual tax-free salary of $7m – more than NHL clubs were offering.
After signing Swedish forward Markus Naslund on Thursday, the Rangers had very little cap room left to accommodate the Czech star.
Jagr had 43 Superliga games (20 goals, 32 assists) with Avangard Omsk during the 2004-2005 season and led his team to the 2005 European Champions Cup with an overtime goal in the 2-1 win over Finland’s Karpat Oulu.
He is also a Triple Gold Club member after winning the 1998 Olympic gold in Nagano, the 2005 IIHF World Championship in Vienna and the two Stanley Cup titles with Pittsburgh.