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Lowe Should Step Down

Posted 3:23 PM ET | Comments 20
The Dustin Penner offer sheet is proof Kevin Lowe should step down from his post as General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers. As a GM you are supposed to improve your team while securing the future of the franchise. While Penner will only be 25 by the start of the season, Lowe not only sacrificed three future draft picks, but also decided to take up valuable salary cap space for a player who has been in the NHL less than two seasons and has yet to really prove himself.

Kevin Lowe is the product of a championship tradition. He knows better than anyone else how Edmonton built their dynasty in the 1980s. They built from the ground up and developed some of the most talented players ever to play in the NHL. For those of you that need a reminder, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glen Anderson, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Andy Moog, oh yeah and Kevin Lowe. Shall I go on?

It stuns me when a team spends way more than a player is worth just because they are desperate (Rangers being the exception because they don't surprise anyone with their moves). Let's just take a comparable player, with the same situation. Same experience, same amount of playing time and the same value to a team.

Prucha leads in almost every statistical category except for playoff points. He has played with lesser talent and both potentially have the same expectations going forward. Both the Rangers and Edmonton are banking on these two players to average 30 goals a season for the next 4 years. Only Lowe's desperation made him pay a marginal player, who has yet to prove himself over a longer period of time, money a 6 year veteran should be getting after putting together back to back all-star seasons.

When you look at this deal, where does it make sense for Edmonton. Ask any GM in the league if they would trade 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft picks for Dustin Penner or even Petr Prucha who is statistically better and has the same career potential. You won't find any takers that would give up that much for a guy who has scored 29 goals, once.

The offer sheet proves Lowe has lost the ability to compete as a GM in the NHL. This is coming from someone who has been a fan of Lowe both as a player and executive in the past. I pull for good guys like Lowe because they have won their whole career and know how to win, but its clear when someone makes a move like this he is disregarding everything he has stood for and his franchise stands for. Lowe should be concentrating on how to keep his own players and paying them to stay, instead of offering outlandish salaries to restricted free agents. If he's willing to pay over 4 million dollars per season to Penner why would he not pay over 6 million dollars for Ryan Smyth, who is not only is an established goal scorer, but was a leader on the Edmonton squad. What will his future unrestricted players say when its contract time. Any one of his players who puts out a strong 30 goal campaign will be asking for over 4 million, and when they don't get it, can you blame them for leaving?

Sure he's playing by the rules, but even a smart exec like Lowe knows he just drove up the price on middle of the road players. Not only did he hurt the future of the league, but more importantly for himself, he damaged the future of the Edmonton Oilers.
August 3, 2007 4:46 PM ET | Delete
2005-2006 Ducks 19 4 3 7 3 14 2 0 1 46 8.7he only played 19 games in 2005-2006 so your analagy is like comparing apples to oranges . Penner is 6'4" 245 Prucha isn't.In 2005-2006 play-offs the kid had 9 points in 13 games and was a plus 10He has had exceptional season in the AHL before coming to the NHL 84 points in 57 games. His physical upside is huge in the new NHL he is fast has good hands and is young. Mike Modano, Holik both get 4.25 I would take Penner before both of those washed up players.
August 3, 2007 4:49 PM ET | Delete
I tend to strongly disagree with you saying the Oilers have sacraficed the future. When Ryna Smyth was traded we got O'Mara and Nilson, plus a 1st round pick, give us 3 1sts this past draft, and 2 other young prospects (who were 1st round picks). We also have a 1st this season still. This will give us (barring any trades) a BUNCH of young prospects. I know hockeyfutures.com is not 100% accurate (nothing can be when talking about prospects) but the Oilers are ranked 8th in the NHL for propsect depth, and they still have not updated it with the draft that just passed, so we the Oilers could be as high as 5th in the NHL once it is updated. While I do agree with you when you say Penner is over paid, but I am of the opinion that a GM has to take risks (Hasek in Detroit? - panned out well), and thats all Kevin Lowe is doing, he is taking a risk he feels will help his team and he still has a 1st and 2nd round pick this season (although they will be high, he still has the picks). In 2 or 3 seasons Penner may be a bust, or he could be a steal of a deal, time will tell. This is the first time the Oilers could really say they are taking a risk like this, so time will tell.
August 3, 2007 5:09 PM ET | Delete
the one thing you forgot to mention in your comparison is the Penner has a cup too!
August 3, 2007 5:11 PM ET | Delete
The Oilers have plenty of quality young prospects. Schremp, Cogliano, O'Marra, Nilsson, Chorney, Syvret, Gilbert, Brodziak, the list goes on and on. They can afford to give up some draft picks to get a current NHL player, expecially after having 3 first round picks this year and adding Gagner, Plante and Nash to that first list. It is not reasonable to look at a situation like this as being the same for every team. Teams that don't have problems attracting players don't need to do things like this. But a team like Edmonton who seemingly can't attract any free agents, has no choice but to think outside the box. If Lowe didn't pluck a RFA how else was he supposed to improve his team? The only other way would be via trades, but you have to give up guys to get guys. This way it is like a sign and trade, except instead of trading players, you trade picks. Picks which the Oilers can afford right now, they cannot afford roster players.
August 3, 2007 5:14 PM ET | Delete
Umm.... All the Oilers have is young, unproven talent. They don't need to stock up as they're alreayd at the point where they're giving away more than just creamed corn when donations are a a flowing.
August 3, 2007 5:14 PM ET | Delete
Umm.... All the Oilers have is young, unproven talent. They don't need to stock up as they're alreayd at the point where they're giving away more than just creamed corn when donations are a a flowing.
August 3, 2007 6:45 PM ET | Delete
The Oilers only lose one Pick next year (3rd round) and have improved as a team and keep all their young talent. 4.25 million is high but in 2-3 years we will be saying Lowe saved the Oilers money. As for Petr Prucha he is a great prospect that will not come close to Penner in years to come.....or even next year.
August 3, 2007 6:57 PM ET | Delete
"Theycallme": Nice spin. Oilers have given up their 1st and second round picks. The fact that they have 2 Anaheim (right?) picks does not mean they only lose one pick. Anaheim will be picking top 5-10...Oilers will be picking 25-30. A huge difference even if this is a deep draft. Suddenly it's we got Penner for just a 3rd rounder! If that's the spin how about we got Penner for Pronger and a first rounder. Chaos, I'm with you ...Lowe will soon be gone.
August 3, 2007 7:07 PM ET | Delete
One correction, Penner's other line-mate was Correy Parry, significantly better than Travis Moen offensively. And duckyjet, as you will soon fird out, Penner is NOT fast. I keep hearing him getting paired up with Hemsky. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up with him. The Ducks tried him on the first line with MacDonald and Selanne when Kunitz went down and it was hilariouly wrong. He couldn't beat Scott Neidermayer down the ice and he had a good six step lead on Scott. But ChaosCris is right. Lowe is paying for potential. He might be a steal in 3 years or he's the albatross around your neck. With that contract he's going to be difficult to trade unless you give him away. With Edmonton's notoriously impatient fans.... Let's just say it will be fun in the chat rooms listening to Oil fans bemoaning this deal when Penner goes through one of his lulls.
August 3, 2007 8:43 PM ET | Delete
duxcup07 you down him now saying he isnt fast but for a big guy he is fast enough. He doesnt have to be like bure if he has strenghth like he does. I bet if I asked you a few months ago about Penner you would have been praising him now that you lost him it's a different story. he would be a great fit with Hemsky as we all know Hemsky needs a player to open up space for him and Penner will do that plus he's dynamite infront of the net.
August 3, 2007 9:32 PM ET | Delete
Good blog, Lowe is history...but will he inflict more damage before then? The Souray deal was borderline 'KUBINA'.
August 4, 2007 12:32 AM ET | Delete
Don't get how the penner/prucha comparison makes any sense. Completely different players. The one thing that i don't get is how the oilers offered penner 4/21.5 and parise signed for 4/12.5 i see parise having much more upside than penner. if not the lowe then i'd think another gm should have had the balls to play poker with lou.
August 4, 2007 12:58 AM ET | Delete
No duckyjet, Dustin Penner is SLOW. You will find this out soon enough. Yes, I would have liked to have re-signed the Large Human, but not at that price, not with Getzlaf and Perry as RFA's next year. If we don't get the twins locked up, we will suck the big wang for a long time.
August 4, 2007 11:24 AM ET | Delete
Thanks for all the comments, I really appreciate it. And many of you bring up great points. I made the comparison with Penner and Prucha because they are very close in terms of importance to a team, future potential and statistically. I certainly don't feel like they are the same player, but both have been projected as consistent 30 goal scorers. My point was the money given to Penner can't be because of what he HAS done, because he hasn't done much. He's being paid for what he can POTENTIALLY do. So that's why I pulled up Prucha. Statistically they are expected to do the same thing. With that said are the two players really that far off talent wise? Is Penner really worth almost 3 million dollars more a season than Prucha? He's not. Proving again that Lowe's move was one of panic and desperation. A GM should never be that deliberately desperate. It makes him vulnerable. Also, you can not justify 3 draft picks for Penner no matter what. Yes I know that Edmonton has a stock pile of young talent and it's never a bad thing to have those chips to trade away. I think the biggest point here is why not take the 1st, 2nd and 3rd draft picks and trade them away for someone better than Penner? That would just make more sense. You cant say "hey we have lots of young talent so lets just trade those draft picks for anyone." When you are over spending both with money and valuable trading chips, its a bad move. DUXCUP, thanks for the correction, that was definitely an oversight. PEL, I hope I explained the Prucha comparison a little better and I agree with you the Parise signing just reinforces my point as well. Parise will be a star for years to come while Penner will always be a role player, 30 goal scorer or not. GOT THE OIL TAT, Its great that Penner has a cup, but that shouldnt really increase or decrease his value too much. Although I should point out Penner has faired a lot better in the playoffs than Prucha has.
August 4, 2007 1:38 PM ET | Delete
lowe is even more secure now than before the signing..he is not going anywhere he is like a rock star in edmonton now..im behind him 100%
August 5, 2007 12:55 AM ET | Delete
Folks it not like LOWE stold him for free.... Edmonton might as well kiss next years draft goodbye... Brian Burke got what he deserved ! Burke is bad for hockey, he is a creative fellow I will give him that, but bad. Bertuzzi will let the Ducks down big time, so the Ducks lost that transaction
August 5, 2007 1:31 PM ET | Delete
tjhlweikle: Burke is bad for hockey????? How would that be? He's made more good moves in 2 years than Minny has in 5. Sounds like sour grapes...they beat your team and beat them easily...So what, they beat every team last year on their way to the cup. -- including "my" team. It is Lowe who is bad for hockey rathe rthan Burke...as has been stated many times here and around.
August 5, 2007 7:12 PM ET | Delete
How is Lowe bad for hockey rdfred?
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