Wait for Mikhnov almost over

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

The long-awaited arrival of first-round draft pick Alexei Mikhnov (17th overall in 2000) is only days away.

The Oilers and the big Russian winger are putting the finishing touches on a contract and when that's done he'll touch down in Edmonton - as early as this weekend.

Mikhnov, skating in Chicago, has a final meeting with his agent and lawyers in Toronto and will then jet to Edmonton.

"Possibly this weekend, or early next week," said assistant general manager Scott Howson, adding all that's left to do is work out a few legalities.

"There's just a lot of things to consider," said Howson.

"It's not your typical negotiation because of the potential for a legal dispute (his former team has threatened to sue if the Oilers sign him).

"We just have to make sure that we're proceeding carefully. It's not a contentious issue, but more a case of are we doing this properly with respect to timing, making sure we're prepared in the event that there is a legal dispute."

The six-foot-five, 228-pounder, who turns 24 today, can't wait to get here.

"He's the one who wants to get this done and we're prepared to work with his agents to get it done," said Oilers director of hockey operation Kevin Prendergast.

"We've waited long enough for him. I honestly think now is the time for him to be here.

"The timing is perfect. He's ready to play and ready to contribute. He's looked pretty good in the camp in Chicago, we've been told."

ROOKIES IN LEDUC: The Oilers will be holding their annual rookie camp in Leduc this year.

Twenty-three of the club's top prospects, including Rob Schremp, defenceman Tom Gilbert and netminder Devan Dubnyk will hit the ice Sept. 10th and 11th from 10 a.m. to noon.

The annual exhibition game between the Oilers rookies and the Alberta Golden Bears will still take place at Clare Drake Arena (Sept. 12).

LUPUL QUIET: No news yet on the Joffrey Lupul front.

"There hasn't been much discussion this week," said Howson.

"We exchanged some written correspondence, but haven't talked in awhile. I'd expect we'll talk again early next week."


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