I go away to Ireland for three weeks and when I get back, look what our boy Kevin has been up to: offer sheet to Dustin Penner of the Mighty Ducks. So after checking all the blogs, reading all the articles I could find, I am all info'd up and ready to offer my extremely educated opinion!
5 years at $4.25 mill per year is the offer. He scored 29 goals last year with 45 points. That was his first year in the NHL. He is 24 years old.
My first thought of the offer sheet: please match it. I do not like this at all. His point production is decent for his first NHL season (he played 19 games the year before but in essence, this was his rookie year) but he's 24. He's a late bloomer and this could be a one hit wonder. Second, some of the reviews mention that he is a poor skater. So putting him on a line with Hemsky and Horcoff could crash and burn. On the other hand, apparently he scored more points than anyone else with his limited ice time average of 13 mins. That's a plus, as is his size (6'4 and 245 pds). However, to throw this much money at a rookie is dangerous. I liked the Vanek offer sheet better simply because I thought he was a better player and had a good chance of having a long NHL career. This is such a gamble. Also, this is not the winger I had in mind to play with Hemsky. I can't see this being a success.
Obviously the Ducks didn't match. It was a no brainer: take the three draft picks (1st, 2nd and 3rd rounder) and let Penner go. Brian Burke had a hissy-fit. These are some of the quotes from the past week:
"I thought Kevin would have told me this was coming. I thought that was gutless"
"An act of desperation by a general manager fighting to keep his job"
"My issue here is that this is the second time Edmonton has offered a player a grossly inflated salary for a player and it impacts all 30 teams"
"We're going to take the three draft picks and given Kevin's recent performance, I expect them to be excellent picks"
Burkie, quit your whining. That last quote hits us all: low blow. Yes one bad year that of course was Kevin Lowe's fault entirely. Really bad recent performances. Stanley Cup final one year and missing the playoffs the next year. Sure Burkie, really bad! If you didn't want an offer sheet to be tended, you would have locked up your player or at least took him to arbitration. You left it wide open for someone to make an offer. Yes I feel the amount is too much, but you knew there was a chance for offers. GM's overpay all the time (I'm looking at your Bertuzzi signing of $4 mill a few weeks ago Burkie) so this is not new. This is a business and Lowe had no reason to call and let you know. I thought you were also going to match all offers?? You would have told Lowe that I'm sure if he had warned you but you didn't match. Take your draft picks and shut up.
Now Kevin....what are you doing? I keep defending you, deal after deal, believing that you know what you are doing, that you are improving this team but you're pushing it. I know the options out there are limited for you, but the deals of Souray and Penner are panic-inducing. I was prepared to wait while you rebuilt this team, but you're abandoning the plan. You can't switch back and forth. You need to stay the path, if it was indeed a rebuilding plan. The team has been improved since April, yes that is true. There has been so many changes in the past year, this team could take some time coming together. The season could be over by the time that occurs.
New players: Pitkanen, Souray, Tarnstrom, Penner, Garon, Sanderson, Nilsson
Gone players: Lupul, Smyth, Smith, Sykora, Markkanen, Tjarnvist, Peterson, Winchester, Hedja
One last thing: Katz made another offer to the Oilers. I keep hoping this gets the approval from the EIG. Please accept this offer. I think it would be beneficial to the Oilers to have a change in ownership. 30 owners or 1 owner? 30 local business or 1 billionaire? It's a no-brainer folks. Now Katz has been saying all the right things lately, but I truly believe he means them. Why else buy a team? Of course you want to make money but he does that anyways. He wants to bring the glory days back to the team. He's committed to possibly financing a new arena (which I've been on board since the beginning. I sit in those seats for all home games and damn right I want a new arena. It's needed). Here is a snip from Katz (basically what I've been saying for some time....time to move on):
"I have a lot of respect for Cal Nichols and the Edmonton Investor Group," Katz said in his statement. "They did a great thing when they came together to buy the team and keep it in Edmonton."As an Edmontonian and as a fan, I'm grateful for everything they've done. As an owner, should that come to pass, I intend to ensure their contribution is recognized and remembered. At the same time, I know there are a number of people within the ownership group who would like to exit their investment and pass the torch to a new generation of leadership. I want to provide that leadership while preserving the great Oiler traditions and maintaining a strong sense of community."
So the vote takes place Tuesday, August 7th. The offer is $170 million. It's over 20 million higher than his original offer months ago to the board. This time it's to the shareholders. This would be a great move. The EIG is no longer effective. They seem to interfer in day-to-day operations. We can't be sure the extent of this interference but they obviously handicap Lowe last year at times, refusing to spend money. Katz seems like a guy who would spend but not spend like crazy (hello NYI).
Even if the EIG turns him down, it probably is not his final offer according to Barnes. I'm hoping when he says, "Katz will eventually offer enough to earn the necessary two-thirds majority and EIG will take a well-deserved bow, and then a vacation" that he knows what he's talking about. We'll find out soon.
UPDATE: EIG are stupid.
UPDATE: EIG are still stupid and Bettman has his hands all over this too. He told Nichols that it was not good to have one owner and it would be problematic. When is Bettman going to start doing what's good for the league? He's an idiot, along with the EIG!!