Oilers ready, willing to spend

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe has already talked to boss Cal Nichols about increasing the budget if more money is required to take on a contract in a trade.

Lowe and Nichols, who is on this trip with the team along with assistant GM Scott Howson, talked before the Oilers jetted to Los Angeles and discussed the possibility of adding to a player payroll that stands at about $33 million.

"He said, 'I'm looking at some options and I just wanted you to be informed,' " Nichols said of his meeting with Lowe.

"It's not that he has to do it."

Losers of five of their last six games going into last night's game against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the Oilers are primed to make a move before the team returns from Phoenix next week.

If the right deal comes up - the Oilers are looking at adding a defenceman and addressing their ongoing troubles in goal - Nichols has assured Lowe there's some room to move in the budget.

One of the reasons there's wiggle room is the Oilers have been fortunate with injuries.

They haven't been paying out on contracts for players not in the lineup while having to add others to replace them.

"We might dip into it," Nichols said of the financial margin available. "The worst place to be is too close to the ($39-million) salary cap. Then, you eliminate all your options."

CALL FOR JACQUES?

Unable to find a combination he likes as a fourth line, Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said yesterday he won't wait too long to look outside the roster if he doesn't see some results soon.

The name out of MacTavish's mouth was that of left winger J.F. Jacques, who is in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

"It's becoming obvious to everybody that we need some physical play and energy out of the fourth line," he said.

Jacques, 20, who's six-foot-four and 220 pounds, has tallied 13-13-26 with 76 penalty minutes in 40 games with the Bulldogs.


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