Last-minute rush on draft pick deals

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Down to the wire. That's where negotiations with Edmonton's 2003 draft picks are headed.

If the club doesn't come to terms with Marc-Antoine Pouliot, J.F. Jacques and Troy Bodie by 3 p.m. this afternoon, they go back in the draft.

"We've gone back and forth with all three of their agents," said Oilers assistant GM Scott Howson. "And it's going to come down to (this) morning or early afternoon if we're going to get them signed or not."

Any chance they won't?

"It's hard to say," said Howson, adding Bodie is the closest to a deal. "Eventually we're going to decide how far we're going to go and they're going to decide how far they're going to go.

"We all understand the risks: If we don't sign the player we lose him and he goes back in the draft, and there's certainly a financial risk for the player to go back in the draft and come back out under the new (CBA) system."

The trio are operating under a hybrid system of the old and new CBAs that can see them earn a maximum salary of $942,000.

If they go back in the draft, they come out entirely under the new CBA, where the rookie max is $850,000.

Pouliot, a six-foot-two centre drafted 22nd overall in 2003, scored 45 goals and added 69 assists playing second fiddle on Sidney Crosby's Rimouski Oceanic last season.

Jacques is the big winger who got his feet wet in six games with the Road Runners last year.

Bodie (six-foot-five and 205 pounds) had 48 points with the Kelowna Rockets.


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