Lowe was desperate for some help upfront and he found it in the form of a RFA, Dustin Penner. Who just happened to play for Anaheim, where Chris Pronger ended up last year after his wife complained about Edmonton, and while Mr. Pronger couldn't be a man and honor his contract he opted out. Kevin Lowe got snubbed in the UFA market, and needed to improve his team so he went after Thomas Vanek, signing him to a 7 year $50 million offer sheet. unfortunately for Edmonton, Buffalo matched his offer. Lowe Finally made his move and signed Penner to 5 year $21.25 million dollar offer sheet. This was a very smart and calculated move by Kevin Lowe, he knew Anaheim was near the cap, and would have trouble matching if Selanne or Nederymer return. He went after a team that was in a vulnerable situation, it was good move and well within the rules of the CBA but broke the rules of Gentlemen's Club aka NHL GM's. It was a good move by Kevin Lowe and it gave him a chance to enact some revenge on Anaheim for the Chris Pronger saga.
Burke was livid that Kevin Lowe made the offer sheet, but it was his own fault for not signing him. It was well within the rules of the game, so the comments Burke had made about Lowe were cheap shots in my opinion because he didn't do anything wrong. Burke had a tough decision to make either match and over pay, and then have to clear cap space later, or not match and take the draft picks. Burke did the right thing by not matching and taking the draft picks, Draft picks are more and more valuable under the new CBA as long as Burke uses them wisely in the end he will have come out on top.
I liked this move by Kevin Lowe, and the decision Burke made not to match. my only fear is that we are going to see and more offer sheets made in the coming season, That is not my concern, my concern is that this will lead to large numbers of players being over paid, at young age and incredible amounts of pressure put on these young kids to perform at the level of guys in there prime.
I think offer sheets are a good thing for the game and an entertainment value during the off season and gone are the days of signing UFA first and then worrying about the RFA, now GM's need to protect their RFA from other teams, now the message is out and the code amongst NHL GM's has been broken.