Oilers offer Vanek $50-million
The Edmonton Oilers, who have been embroiled in controversy in which they claim they signed Michael Nylander before the Washington Capitals, found time this morning to sign Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek to an offer sheet.
Globesports.com has learned that the Oilers are willing to pay Vanek a stunning $50-million (U.S.) over seven seasons. Now the Sabres have seven days to decide whether they will match the lucrative offer sheet to retain the 23-year-old sniper.
UPDATE Here's Covered in Oil:
It's a steep price for the Oilers to pay, in both money and futures, but for a 23-year-old sniper coming off a 43-goal, plus-47 performance and for whom the sky seems to be the limit, oh man is it worth it.The problem being, in my estimation, that the Sabres aren't tight against the cap, and were likely prepared to pay Vanek in the neighbourhood of $5-million a season as a restricted free agent.
Oh, those Oilers. Every time you think they're down and out for good, they come storming back in.
Another $2-million isn't going to break the bank, which means it's just a matter of what sort of value Darcy Regeir puts on those four draft picks.
UPDATE Here's the other side, Sabre Rattling:
WOW. I can’t see the Sabres matching here. Its an overpayment of ridiculous porportions. Take the 4 first rounders, Edmonton is going to stink for at least 2 of those years anyways.UPDATE The Sabres' brief news conference just announced that they will be matching the deal.
"Had they locked up a Drury or a Briere, they might have thought differently," The Hockey News' Adam Proteau says on local radio here in Toronto.
UPDATE Apparently several teams made offers for Vanek, but the Oilers' offer was so much higher that a bidding war never took place.
UPDATE Tom Benjamin offers his always entertaining take here:
I'm not surprised to see RFA offers — I predicted it would be a consequence of the new CBA. However I expected it would be large market teams scooping stars from small market ones. (Bettman poodles assured me that it would never happen. I suppose they were right — I didn't expect teams in more or less the same boat to eat each other.)UPDATE And here's Spector with his thoughts:
This hasn't been a good week for Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, as now he's been thwarted of signing a potential marquee RFA. He's entitled to make another offer to another RFA player, but having tried and failed to pry away Vanek with an eye-popping offer he could decide RFAs like New Jersey's Zach Parise or Anaheim's Dustin Penner aren't worth the effort.UPDATE From Kukla's Korner:
It'll be interesting to see if other teams also try their luck with offer sheets to RFA players. If the Oilers successfully signed away Vanek, it might've opened the floodgate for more offer sheets, but having seen the Sabres match what appeared to be an unmatchable offer, that could put the brakes on other potential offers.
GM Darcy Regier said he contacted Kevin Lowe last night and tried to persuade him not to make the offer, that they were always going to match whatever offer the Oilers might make.UPDATE Appropriately enough, I'll give Kevin Lowe the last word here:
Oilers GM Kevin Lowe — all but shut out on the unrestricted free agent market and still smarting from having centre Michael Nylander agree to, then back out of a contract — called the Sabres reaction “rather juvenile.I mentioned to bloggin' vet Lowetide that he may soon need a new name for his blog. Things haven't been going so well for the Oilers GM ever since losing in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.
“I could have behaved that way with Washington (which signed Nylander),” Lowe said on a conference call. “It’s a business.
“Take the personal out of it. It was right for the Oilers and obviously it was right for the Sabres.”
Labels: Kevin Lowe