Horcoff pumped about deals

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

Oilers fans weren't the only ones pumped about the arrival of Chris Pronger and Mike Peca yesterday.

"As excited as the fans are, personally I think I'm more excited because legitimately we have a chance of being successful now," said Oiler Shawn Horcoff.

"Never once in the past did we settle for mediocrity but it does help when you add those guys. That's a no-brainer."

With Peca likely anchoring the No. 1 line, Horcoff also sees himself as someone to be counted on for production.

"I've continued to get better, but I want to improve on my past seasons offensively and bring more to the table," said Horcoff, a restricted free agent who will hit the open market with unrestricted status next summer if he's not signed by the Oilers during the year.

"I've got my qualifying offer. Kevin (GM Kevin Lowe) has been going through a busy time and we haven't talked that much,'' said Horcoff, who made $850,000 US in the last NHL campaign. "There isn't any rush to get anything done but I'm sure within the next week, we'll sit down and talk and hopefully bang something out.

Horcoff found some success at the end of the 2003-04 season, when he was flanked by Ryan Smyth. He finished with 40 points in 80 games. He played alongside former Oiler Dan Cleary with Mora IK in the Swedish League during the lockout and led the club with 46 points in 50 games.

KARIYA TOO COSTLY: The Paul Kariya sweepstakes proved to be out of the Oilers' price range.

Kariya got a two-year, $9-million US deal out of Nashville yesterday. Earlier this week, Kevin Prendergast, the club's vice-president of hockey operations, told the Sun that the Oilers weren't that interested in him because of his history with injuries. The Oilers are more likely looking at Ray Whitney's skills or the size of Chris Gratton. There's also been chatter about them working out a trade with Philadelphia for Michal Handzus.

BACK ON BOARD: A day after mulling over an offer from a West Coast club, Igor Ulanov decided it was best to return to the Oilers and agreed to a one-year deal. Jussi Markkanen also signed a two-year deal.

Markkanen led all goaltenders in the Russian League last season with a 1.20 GAA while compiling a 36-13-11 record with 11 shutouts for Lada Togliatti. Ulanov finished 2003-04 with a career-high plus-19.

QUOTABLE: With Doug Weight speaking highly of Edmonton to Chris Pronger, was there a chance Mike Peca was swayed by some words from Janne Niinimaa? "Well, I don't speak Viking," chuckled Peca.


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