SUN Hockey Pool

Mikhnov under contract

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

The deal was practically done before Alexei Mikhnov arrived in town.

As it turns out, it just happened to be announced on the same day the Pittsburgh Penguins inked Evgeni Malkin.

Yesterday the Oilers revealed they had come to terms with Mikhnov on a one-year deal. The six-foot-five, 218-pound winger was the Oilers first pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He has played his entire career in Russia up to this point.

"We were ready to go last week," said Oilers assistant general manager Scott Howson. "We actually finalized the contract on the weekend."

Last year Mikhnov scored 14 goals and added eight assists in 40 games with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. He also scored four goals and added a pair of assists in seven games for Russia at the world championships this spring.

"We think he can play in the NHL," Howson said. "He's more mature than a lot of players entering the league for the first time."

Mikhnov, 24, still had a year left on his contract with Yaroslavl, but used a loophole in the Russian labour laws to get out of it. It was the same loophole Malkin used to get out of his Russian League contract.

"They wanted me to play another year, but I wanted to come play in the NHL," Mikhnov said. "I feel I am ready."

Without a transfer agreement between the Russian League and the NHL, the Oilers did not compensate Yaroslavl for Mikhnov's services.

ONE YEAR DEAL FOR ROY

Along with Mikhnov, the Oilers also came to terms with defenceman Mathieu Roy on a one-year deal. Roy, the Oilers 10th pick -- 215th overall -- in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, played with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, scoring three goals and adding 16 assists in 50 games.

The six-foot-two, 214-pound native of St.-Georges, Que., was called up for one game last season with the Oilers.

"We see a big upside with him," Howson said. "He's developed well over the last three years.

NO TERMS YET FOR LUPUL

The Oilers are still working on a deal with local product Joffrey Lupul, who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in the Chris Pronger trade.

Lupul, 22, had 28 goals and 25 assists in 81 games for the Ducks last season. He added nine goals and two assists in 16 games for the Ducks in the playoffs.

"We don't have anything on the go at this present time," said Howson.

"We'll continue to talk over the next couple of days."

Lupul, who was the Ducks first pick -- seventh overall -- in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft did not have arbitration rights this year.

The Oilers are hoping to have him signed by training camp.

"We're going to do everything we can to get him signed," Howson said. "We want to get him signed by training camp, but we're not going to overpay him to get it done."


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