Jagr becomes richest NHL player


WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Jaromir Jagr became the richest player in the NHL Thursday.

The Washington Capitals announced Jagr had signed a contract extension that has made the superstar right wing the highest-paid player in hockey.


While terms were not disclosed, ESPN reported the contract was for $77 million over seven years. The average salary would surpass the 10-year, $87.5 million deal Alexei Yashin signed with the New York Islanders this year.

"He should be the highest-paid player in the league, which he is right now," said Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who joined Jagr and general manager George McPhee at a Thursday news conference.

Jagr, the NHL's four-time reigning scoring champion, still has two years remaining on the last deal he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is scheduled to earn more than $10 million over each of the next two seasons.

The extension would increase his salary by about $1 million a season, which Leonsis said he thinks is worth it.

"We knew he was a great player, but I'll reiterate, he's a good man," Leonsis said. "He fits like a hand in a glove here."


Jagr has yet to earn his money in 2001-02. He had a goal and three assists through three games, but has missed the last three with a knee strain.

Frustrated with the financial climate in Pittsburgh, Jagr demanded a trade, which he received in the offseason.

The Penguins sent Jagr and defenseman Frantisek Kucera to the Capitals for centers Kris Beech and Michal Sivek, defenseman Ross Lupaschuk and future considerations.

Leonsis said he feels the Caps have put together several pieces of a Stanley Cup puzzle, adding Jagr to a team that includes Peter Bondra, Adam Oates and Olaf Kolzig.

"I think we put together the cornerstones on a long-term basis," Leonsis said. "I think Jagr is the best player in the game. We really have the pieces to build and really bring the Stanley Cup."

Jagr listed the team's desire to compete for a Stanley Cup as his biggest reason for signing an extension. He needed a short period of time to figure out he wanted to remain in Washington.

"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "It's pretty exciting,

and that's a place where I wanted to be."


Jagr has broken the 100-point barrier four times since debuting

with Pittsburgh in 1990. He had 52 goals and 69 assists last

season while missing only one game.

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