Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Oilers dispute Nylander contract

The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is compelled to clarify the unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances surrounding the Edmonton Oilers and Michael Nylander.

On Sunday, July 1, 2007, Kevin Lowe, Oilers General Manager, and Mr. Mike Gillis, Certified Agent for Michael Nylander, negotiated and agreed to a multi-year NHL Standard Players Contract, starting in 2007/08. Mr. Gillis confirmed same to the Oilers in writing.

The Oilers then proceeded with preparations to announce Mr. Nylander’s contract agreement on July 2, and concurrently continued with the process of negotiating with other free agents based upon Mr. Nylander being an important roster ingredient for the future.

However, while the Oilers were expecting the returned, signed agreements from Mr. Nylander and Mr. Gillis, the Oilers discovered through public announcements made mid-afternoon on July 2, that Mr. Nylander had subsequently entered into a long-term contract with the Capitals.

The Oilers can find no precedent for such conduct in our history. The Oilers are examining and pursuing every course of action available in the best interest of the team and our fans.

For legal reasons, the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club will not be discussing the details any further at this time.
This could get ugly. And you have to feel for the Oilers, who could have been pursuing other players while this Nylander mess was all playing out.

UPDATE Colby Cosh has a good rundown of what went down on the Edmonton side yesterday.

UPDATE mc79hockey has some more good words here, including something I entirely agree with regarding Mr. Nylander:
This whole thing strikes me as silly anyway. Two years from now, when Kevin Lowe is the VP of Remembering the Eighties and someone (competent?) is running the show, I’d suspect that the Oilers management will be happy not have Nylander around pulling down $4.75 or whatever he got from Washington. ... I think that they got lucky here.
Everyone's been screaming bloody murder the past few days over what the likes of Gomezsmythbrieredrury got, but perhaps the true sign the hockey apocalypse is upon us is the fact that non-playoff teams are tearing each other apart to give Jagr's 34-year-old setup man $20-million on a long-term deal.

Good grief.

If Kevin Lowe really wants to turn things around in Edmonton, he should swing as many Pitkanen-type deals as he can and hope like hell what he gets in return turns into what everyone said Pitkanen was going to turn into two years ago.

Or offer Yashin big money. It's really all up to him.



At 9:46 p.m., July 03, 2007, Blogger McLea said...

Ha, does anyone think that it's a coincidence that this happened to the Oilers?

I don't.

At 9:53 p.m., July 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats the best that happen for the Oilers? They get a player signed for multi-million, multi-year contract that doesn't want to be there? They want a piece of Gillis' hide? How many Gillis' clients in the future are going to deal with the Oilers? I know it sucks, but the Oilers got to shut up and walk away and keep vigilant for when the time is right to deliver the shiv to the Caps. What goes around comes around.

At 10:32 p.m., July 03, 2007, Blogger Don Johnson said...

no doubt that this will get ugly. At the very least, I think Washington will have to compensate the Oilers somehow.

At 10:41 p.m., July 03, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not sure that the Caps are going to owe compensation to anyone. Even if things are exactly as the Oilers say, and they seem to have some sort of paper to show it, I haven't seen anything to indicate that Washington was a knowing party to the debacle.

Guilt may stop just with Gillis, or it may be both Gillis and Nylander. One thing to note is that all agents have to be licensed, and Gillis could se his licensed pulled.

At 12:26 a.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be surprised if Gillis' license is in jeoprady. Presumably the Capitals, Nylander, and the NHLPA are just fine with the turn of events, so while I'm sure the Oilers feel jobbed, I don't think they'll get any compensation from the Caps, Gillis might get a slap on the wrist, and Lowe will just have to fume on his own.

At 12:55 a.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Oilers have a dated faxed contract with Gillies' and/or Nylander's signature on it, the Washington contract is nul and void. Real estate is sold this way all the time by dated faxed documents.

There is a very important principle here that has to be enforced. If Gillies and Nylander are allowed to get away with this - without a significant penalty - what will prevent future players from signing agreements and then the next day accepting a better offer from another team.

Washington has no liability, unless it can be proven they had knowledge of the signing with Edmonton. However I beleive Edmonton has every right to sue Gillies and Nylander - joint and severably - for monetary damages.

It is important to show other players and agents there is a real cost to unethical behaviour.

At 1:02 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger GregO said...

I think your post deserves another update, linking to mc79hockey. It's a great read.

At 1:04 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Naw — that'd just inflate Tyler's ego.


At 1:33 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger Don Johnson said...

well, however this plays out, it brought to mind another deal in 1979 when the Oilers came into the league from the WHA. They were allowed to protect three or four players on their roster, the others could be claimed by their NHL rights holders. One of the ones the Oilers wanted to protect was Bengt Gustaffsson, but his NHL rights holder was... Washington Capitals ... and they protested the selection.

John Ziegler sided with Washington and Gustafsson went to the Capitals.

The Oilers did get to protect some guy named Wayne, though...

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

PS.. Showing my age, I know...

At 9:52 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger Marky Narc said...

It's easy to get mad at Nylander and the Caps, but it's not their fault that Gillis made the oilers believe his client was going to do something he was not.

Washington can't compensate Edmonton for a player they never had. If Nylander had actually signed a contract with Edmonton, this story would have been resolved right away.

Yes, there is blame to be handed out here. Let's make sure it goes to the correct (i.e. deserving) party.

At 9:57 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger The Dyce said...

Well I was wondering when the Oil were going to get screwed over this year. Seems to happen fairly regularly.

At 11:51 a.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the Oilers have a dated faxed contract with Gillies' and/or Nylander's signature on it, the Washington contract is nul and void. Real estate is sold this way all the time by dated faxed documents."

Anon - they didn't. The Oilers even stated as much in their press release. No valid SPC was signed or delivered to the Oilers. The question here is whether this "written agreement" that the Oilers claim is actually such, and if so, whether Gillis overstepped his bounds. It seems very obvious from a couple of Swedish interviews Nylander gave that he never agreed to go to Edmonton. Close, but his family preferred to stay on the east coast.

At 8:09 p.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing to remember is that this was day one of the free agent frenzy, where one move can dictate the next move and time can be of the essence.
Totally agree with the previous poster, this is about principle.


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