Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe has grabbed headlines this summer for his outrageous restricted free agent offer sheets. First he targeted Thomas Vanek of the Sabres, to no avail. Then he tossed $21 million at Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks, knowing that team was up against the salary cap and probably couldn't afford to match the inflated, totally ridiculous terms.
Sure, Lowe and Edmonton get a talented young player in Penner, but at the price of $21 million and THREE first round draft picks. Considering the likely poor showing the Oilers will make over the next three seasons due to a serious lack of depth, those picks should be very high, and the upcoming draft pools are slated to be stocked full of talent. The clear winner in this nasty situation is Anaheim.
Is Lowe and idiot? Larry Brooks of the New York Post says "Heck No!":
But the offer sheet to Penner was right out of the Group II, 101A syllabus. Lowe found a player he liked on a team that was up against the hard cap and thus vulnerable. Such a move is not only not outside the spirit of the CBA, it is codified by the labor agreement.
Oh sure, Lowe was not breaking any rules, but he WAS being an idiot. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Lowe has sacrificed the future of his team for immediate gain---and extremely limited immediate gain at that. The Oilers, even with Penner, still lack depth at all positions and should have no trouble finishing at the bottom of the Northwest Division again this year.
And Brooks seems to gloss over the fact that Lowe specifically targeted the Ducks because of their cap space problem. The move reeks of malicious intent. While that may be okay under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, or even encouraged (parity is king, of course), that doesn't make it a smart decision, nor does it make it popular among other GMs.
Larry Brooks (and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix) can make all the excuses he wants. Kevin Lowe is a dick, and he'll definitely pay for it down the road.