Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe is a little nuts. Oiler fans already know as much, and now, the rest of the NHL is getting a glimpse.
Yesterday, Lowe made a gigantic offer to restricted free agent Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres; a seven year, $50 million contract. That averages to a bit over $7 million a year, more than ex-Sabre Daniel Briere got from the Philadelphia Flyers (8 years/$52 mil).
There's no doubt Vanek is a great player, but he's not worth $500,000 per year more than Briere.
Long story short, the Sabres were given a week to match the offer (that's how it works with RFAs), and it only took them a few hours to match Lowe's monster offer. After losing Chris Drury and Daniel Briere to free agency, how could they not sign Vanek?
Needless to say, Buffalo GM Darcy Regier is a little ticked off that Edmonton tried to 'poach' one of their players.
GM Darcy Regier, at the press conference, said quite explicitly that he informed Kevin Lowe not to make the offer and that now that it's been done all of the players on the Oilers can now be considered 'fair game.'
"I wanted to say to everyone in the National Hockey League, if you want to shop this way..... Don't shop here." -- Darcy Regier.
And, naturally, the Vanek camp is very happy.
"I think that Thomas was shocked," [agent] Steve Barlett said. "I kept telling him I was going to get him a deal, and I don't think he believed me. I don't know if I believed it myself."