After shooting blanks in the UFA market, a frustrated Kevin Lowe reveals his competitiveness, that eventually lead him to landing Sheldon Souray and Dustin Penner. He also implies the EIG's budget lead to Smyth being traded.
Lowe said on Wednesday that he also went after Paul Kariya, pitching the Nashville winger on playing on a Canadian team for the first time in his career, but he signed for three years and $18 million US in St. Louis. Also on Lowe's list was Atlanta's Slava Kozlov, but the Russian forward is apparently building a big house in Georgia and one of his children is a rising tennis star.
A frustrated Lowe says the Oilers are thinking of hiring a "concierge" to look after player needs in the future, but he can't understand why free agents won't sign here.
"I wasn't trying to spend the money for a bunch of over-the-hill guys, guys looking to grab one more paycheque," said Lowe, who had a game plan. "It wasn't like we didn't want to spend the money. It's the first time we've ever been in the high-end market. We're in the win-now mode ... we really are, but it didn't work (free agency)."
Whoa whoa whoa, Kevin. You just described Michael Nylander!
And On Nov 19, 2007, Kevin admits the team was not trying to win hockey games for the present, but rather for the future. What a difference 4 months make!
KEVIN LOWE LIVE INTERVIEW
Lowe did want Ryan Smyth after trading him to Long Island Feb. 27 because they couldn't agree on a five-year deal. He says he made a call to agent Don Meehan early in the free-agent proceedings Sunday, but Smyth opted for Colorado.
"Now we've got a different budget and a different salary cap (up from $44 million last year to $50.3 million this season)," said Lowe, admitting he hadn't read the tea leaves well enough to know how high it would jump. If he'd known in February what he knows now, he said Smyth probably wouldn't have gotten away.
Lowe has not said if he would go after a Group 2 free agent, but he's probably not going to leave any stone unturned.
"As the general manager of a team, I have to utilize all the possible tools I have," said Lowe.