Friday, July 06, 2007

Is Kevin Lowe Trying To Get Fired?

I'm not trying to pile on here, but what the hell is Kevin Lowe doing in/to Edmonton? Let's put it this way - if Lowe worked in the current Bush Administration, he'd have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by now. Here are a few of the Oiler GM's recent head-scratchers:
  • Traded "heart and soul" Ryan Smyth to the Islanders at the trade deadline, sending OilerNation into a deep depression, only to admit just a few months later that had he known the salary cap was going to rise as much as it did and had he known the troubles he'd have luring free agents to Edmonton, he'd have given in to Smyth's ~$5.25 million demands (Smyth got $6.25m/year in Colorado). Regarding the former, everyone knew the cap was going to get a decent bump - take this report from back in February, for example, noting that a $4m increase was expected. Regarding the latter, Lowe is apparently just realizing "what Calgarians have known for years: no one wants to move to Edmonton." The trade itself was certainly defensible at the time. But the rationale given now raises an eyebrow.
  • Failed to draft Karl Alzner, who, by many accounts, was the guy the Oilers were targeting (they were clearly high on him), despite the fact that Los Angeles, with the 4th pick, was looking to trade down. The Caps, of course, drafted Alzner 5th, leaving the Oilers to draft Sam Gagner at 6th.
  • Traded captain Jason Smith and winger Joffrey Lupul to Philly for Joni Pitkanen and deadweight Geoff Sanderson. I'll give Lowe a bit of a pass on this one, given Pitkanen's upside and Lupul's horrendous 2006-07, though it's never a good thing when a trade "has [your] players fuming off the record" (though it is, presumably, better than when they're fuming on the record).
  • Lost out on signing unrestricted free agent Michael Nylander (in case you hadn't heard) who took significantly less money to play in D.C.
  • Traded a (likely very high) second-round pick in the impressively-deep 2008 draft to the Islanders for Allan Rourke - a guy who "will provide [the organization] with experience in Springfield (Edmonton's AHL affiliate)" - and the Isles' third-round pick in 2008.
Now, I'm admittedly an outsider looking in on the situation and have cherry-picked some less-than-favorable examples to make my point. But that point still remains - Kevin Lowe has made some questionable moves of late, and Edmonton Oiler fans deserve better.

Update: I just saw an explanation for the Rourke trade that makes sense, and that is that the Oilers needed to acquire that 3rd round pick - which had originally been there and was sent to the Island as part of the Marc-Andre Bergeron trade - in order to have the right picks so they can make an offer to a Restricted Free Agent. Maybe Lowe knows what he's doing after all.

Update: The Oilers have signed Sabres RFA Thomas Vanek to a 7-year/$50-million offer sheet. If the Sabres don't match, not only will the Oil be on the hook for $7+ million per year for the next seven years, but will have to compensate the Sabres with four first round picks as well.

Update: The Sabres match. Who's next up for Lowe? Zach Parise? Dustin Penner? What's Plan C?

Update: As of 1:30, here's the first graf of Lowe's Wikipedia entry:

Funny. (h/t to ExParrot)

45 comments:

b.orr4 said...

Myabe he plans on offering Sutherby a contract in retaliation for the Nylander fiasco. (sarcasm intended)

Tyler said...

Next-question: Does making a bid for an RFA make sense for a team that is pretty unlikely to be a playoff squad? Why mortgage picks/future to finish 10th in the West?

NS said...

doesn't make sense for the team. maybe he's trying to salvage whats left of his career with Edmonton? (although signing RFAs and giving away draft picks is idiotic)

JP said...

Apparently they just signed Vanek to an offer sheet:

Sources tell TSN that the team has signed forward Thomas Vanek to a seven-year, $50 million offer sheet, a signing that carries a price tag of four first round picks as compensation to the Buffalo Sabres if the team chooses not to retain him.

NS said...

holy crap

smitty said...

4 first rounders and a 7 year deal... Lowe has lost his mind.

kb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kb said...

Maybe he really is trying to get fired.

Sonia said...

this is NUTS!

Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

Given how high these first round picks are, this IS nuts... and $7mil for Vanek? Hey...d00ds a good goal scorer, but WTF?

JP said...

Isolated incident, or should we be crapping our pants vis a vis Semin coming up for RFA next summer (to say nothing of AO)?

b.orr4 said...

The Vanek contract is going to most definitely be used by Semin in his contract negotiations. We laugh at the cap hell Pittsuburgh is headed for, but we're going to be right behind them.

On Ice said...

I don't have the numbers available but if the Sabres match will they actually end up paying MORE for Vanek than they would have if they tried to retain Drury or Briere?
That deal is just nuts all the way around.

JP said...

To be honest, if some non-playoff team wants to give the Caps four (likely high) 1st round picks for Alex Semin at $7m/year after next year, I take it without thinking twice.

JP said...

Oh, and Briere and Drury could have each been had for much less during the season. Not sure if they'd have taken that to stay in Buffalo this past week, but I would hardly doubt it.

Rage said...

I'm not sure I would take 4 picks over Semin. Picks take time to develop and are risky. Semin's money (unless he becomes a jerk this year).

tg said...

I don't know how much I'd worry about a big offer from someone for Semin. True, the four first round picks are a king's ransom, but also, how many teams would have the cap room to make an offer like that? It seems like most teams are aiming for the middle of the cap to leave them with some wiggle room, but $7 million per year for someone who's not a "star" player? That'll put you in salary cap purgatory for a long time.

NS said...

Buffalo, according to my buddy, has supposedly matched the offer (dont have link)

JP said...

Yep. Buffalo matched (updated w/ link in the post).

Murshawursha said...

That man has officially lost it. Shall we start a pool for how much longer he keeps the GM job?

Anonymous said...

i agree about semin as long as its a team out west, i couldnt stand to watch semin undress everyone on our team twice before scoring, eight times a year

Rage said...

Talk about a competition between two struggling offseasons.

JP said...

No doubt. And two small markets to boot - it's like black-on-black violence.

Rage said...

That's a thin-ice/eggshells analogy right there.

NS said...

i can't decide about Semin until i see him with a legitamite playmaker.

Semin & Ovie haven't even had a chance to shine yet...kind of exciting considering what they've already done.

Tyler said...

LOL

Semin also isn't a +47.

Snktimoniuz said...

Under the CBA, aren't there limits on the percentage of salary that can be tied up in one, marquee, player?

I mention it to address the threat of a team offering an Ovechkin or a Semin a 5 year 40 million dollar contract. Unless the $8 mill/year fits within the percentage of team payroll, it just won't get approved.

or did i imagine the whole thing?

PB said...

Kevin Lowe is acting like a desperate man. The pressure is surely on him and he looks like he's feeling it.

Jibblescribbits said...

Why did Buffalo match this offer, there are only 3 players in the NHL i can think of worth 4-first rounders:

Ovechkin, Crosby and Luongo. Everyone else is too old or too unproven, including Vanek.

While Lowe made a stupid move to try and sign him, Regier should have said "fine you called my bluff, thanks for the 4 first rounders"

This whole ordeal is embarrassing for all involved.. well except Thomas Vanek.

On Ice said...

You've outdone yourself with that Wikipedia bit, JP.

NS said...

Vanek is currently bathing in champagne, laughing at the entire NHL. possibly doing a drunken happy dance.

Talk about good luck....

Murshawursha said...

The problem is, if the Sabres let him go, they have literally nothing left offensively. Although taking the first rounders and starting a rebuild might not have been a bad idea.

JP said...

The problem is, if the Sabres let him go, they have literally nothing left offensively. Although taking the first rounders and starting a rebuild might not have been a bad idea.

Nothing? Tim Connolly is healthy, Pominville, Roy, Afinogenov, Campbell, Gaustad, Stafford, MacArthur... they'd still have plenty of offense, and with the money saved could acquire more.

I understand why the Sabres matched (and had to match), but from a purely on-ice perspective, letting Vanek walk wouldn't have been debilitating.

Here's a question, though - why not have the RFA/arbitration period before the UFA period? That way Edmonton wouldn't have been so desperate as to offer such a ridiculous contract and even if they did, Buffalo could let Vanek walk and pay someone else that money. The way it's set up now, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

Peter said...

Perhaps Lowe isnt the best GMs out there but the matching offer for Vanek was exactly a very good move either....considering if you gave him up you would have gotten 4 first rounders meaning a chance for Johnny Tavares who many say is the next crosby.

Anonymous said...

The Oilers are a team full of 2nd liners. Take away Vanek from the Sabres and you pretty much have a similar setup there and their players are just as young (like the Oilers)..

If anything is to be learnt from the horrible Oiler's season is: Elite players make everybody better. Even good players (like Smyth) make a difference...

I'd gladly trade 4 1sts (aka lottery picks) for an elite player anyday of the week.

NS said...

Vanek doesn't make players around him better. he's like a Semin...just does well for himself.

Smyth is a COMLETELY different story.

Scai said...

4 first-rounders are nothing compared to a Semin or Vanek. Picks take a long time to develop and you never know who's gonna pan out. For every Semin you have two Emingers, Beechs, Fatas etc. It would be foolish to let Semin (or Vanek) walk for 4 1strounders considering you could match and subsequently do significantly better by trading the player if you got cap-problems or other issues.
Semin scored 38 goals last year playing alongside Kris Beech, with a center who can play in this league he's easily gonna top 50. Nobody will consider letting him walk for draft picks then.

Rage said...

So if GMGM thinks Semin could go for 50 this year, does that mean he should sign him ASAP to an extension?

JP said...

If the team is convinced that Semin (and for that matter, Mo, Fehr and the rest of next year's RFAs) is part of the long-term plan, they will do everything they can to lock him up before he hits restricted free agency.

Scai said...

That's indeed what they should do. In the news conference the Sabres conducted to announce the matching of the offer sheet Regier and Ryan make it very clear that Steve Bartlett, Vanek's agent, had no intention of negotiating an extension with the Sabres, instead was talking to every single team in the league trying to get Vanek signed to an offer sheet. That way he'd maximise his client's earnings. There's certainly a chance other high-profileld RFAs (like Ovy, Crosby, Phaneuf, Miller, Semin after next season) could be doing the same in the future. We know these guys are gonna get tendered an offer sheet should they become RFAs so you'd better lock them up as soon as possible.

Scai said...

Don't know how that name "Ryan" made it into my last post. The name of the Sabres' managing partner I was referring to is actually "Larry Quinn".
Sorry for that!

rickibear said...

An edmonton fans perspective of free agent week.
lets look at this events chronology.

1. Ufa starts

2. Sunday Afternoon Nylander signs

3. We negotiate with free agents based on his salary being here.

4. Monday Evening He F@#ks us over

5. Tuesday the league tells Us to bad

6. Lowe clarifies the situation so other agents know he was not lying to them about nylander committing to them.

7. looks like we will be shut out of the free agent market.

8. time for a new strategy go after the rfa's. There are only two viable ranges 2-2.5M guys you offer up to 3.4M for a 1st and 3rd round compensation or possible young superstar players you role the dice on and offer 7M to 10M and hope 4 1st round and the others teams doubt lets you sign them.

9. Edmonton needs there own 3rd pick from NYI to make offers in the 2.28M to 3.4M they orchestrate the o'rourke trade.

10. you make the decision which of the two approaches works first.

11. They decide to talk with Thomas Vanek who has freinds near Edmonton in Camrose Alberta. He has averaged 35 goals over the last two years.

12. Buffallo is contacted by k lowe and Regier says they will match.

13. Do we still offer or not

14. Buffalos managing partner contacts EIG and says dont bid. we will match. As Mr. Grabia points out in one of his comments this is collusion an attempt to fix vaneks ability to seek better wages. Hope the nhlpa goes after regier and quinn's asses.

15. Edmonton must now cover there ass and make sure that they are not party to this. Since vaneks agent will be asking why they did not make an offer.

16. Edmonton makes the offer and all shit breaks loose.

It is important to note the edmonton had an option not to offer the contract up to the point that the dip shit buffalo managing partner contacted EIG.

Buffallos managing partners brought this on themselves.

I can guarantee other teams will make a run at the likes of Semin and Phanuef next year.

Pittsburg will have crosby locked up.

rickibear said...

Sorry new to blog posting. But have been reading you like the oiler blog community.

They tell me what i posted on your site is called "being a troll"

Posting on another teams site which may cause an annoyance.

Just wanted to give a Oiler ticket holder perspective.

JP said...

Rickibear -

No worries - we welcome all perspectives here, so long as they're well-reasoned and not simply antagonistic. Personally, I didn't consider your comment trolling (though we'd likely disagree about Nylander's culpability in all of this), and hope to see you 'round here again.

A lot of people would consider the post itself to be a bit trollish, but I was offering an outsider's perspective on what's going on. Your view as a fan is a great counterpoint.

kb said...

Channeling Steve Somers from the 'FAN (NYC, not Toronto), "Welcome aboard," Rickibear.