Looking Oil right!

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

While some teams have significant salary dumping to do to get under the $39-million US salary cap in the tentative collective bargaining agreement, Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe has lots of wiggle room to sign his players and pursue free agents this summer.

With a 24% rollback in salaries, Lowe only has about $13 million US committed to payroll for 12 players who were in the NHL in 2003-04.

That number jumps to about $13.5 million for 13 players if you include Doug Lynch, who played two games - and the team is looking at having a payroll approaching $33 million for 2005-06.

Assuming a payroll of $33 million, that leaves $20 million with which to re-sign Eric Brewer, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Jussi Markkanen, Marty Reasoner, Jani Rita, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, Raffi Torres, Igor Ulanov and Mike York. Youngsters like 2003 first-round pick Marc-Antoine Pouliot could also join that mix. The only big-ticket players in that group are Smyth, Brewer and York.

Until those contracts are signed, it's a guessing game as to how much Lowe will have left to sign free agents. The best estimate is something between $10 and $11 million. Lowe is interested in a puck-moving defenceman and a first-line forward, preferably a centre.


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