Lupul set to sign deal today

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Expect the Edmonton Oilers to have Joffrey Lupul signed, sealed and delivered today.

After prolonged discussions between Oilers assistant GM Scott Howson and agent Peter Semonick yesterday, indications are the sides are close enough that the announcement of a three-year deal, believed to be worth just under $7 million, will come today.

The ink will be dry before the team opens training camp in Grande Prairie Thursday.

"I think we're narrowing the gap," Howson understated yesterday.

While Howson declined to comment on the specifics of negotiations, the sides opened talks yesterday just $250,000 apart over the three-year term on a pact for Lupul, the key player coming to Edmonton in the trade that sent Chris Pronger to the Anaheim Ducks.

Lupul, 22, earned $900,000 with the Ducks in 2005-06, a season in which he scored 28-25-53 in 81 regular season games and added nine goals in 16 playoff games.

While there's been speculation the Oilers and Lupul might settle on a one-year contract as a fallback position, Howson said yesterday that isn't even on the table.

Three years - with a salary breakdown in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million, $2.5 million and $3 million - is what both sides want.

"I feel it'll get done," Lupul said yesterday morning.

"I'm really excited to be out here with these guys. It's a really good group of guys. To see the kind of talent we have, it's exciting for me. I definitely want to be in Grande Prairie. I want to play in the exhibition games. We'll get it done."

Like Lupul, the Oilers are intent on finishing the fine print and completing the paperwork in the next 24 hours to avoid any distractions once camp begins. Barring any last-minute reversals of position, that'll happen and the deal will be made official today.


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