SUN Hockey Pool

Triple play for Torres

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Raffi Torres packed his bags for the summer, a restricted free agent coming off a bad year on a bad team, and half-joked that he might have to settle for a pay cut in his new deal, not a raise.

Fortunately for Torres, he isn't acting as his own agent, or the enigmatic winger, a raging bull with a scorer's touch when he's on his game, wouldn't have landed that healthy raise yesterday.

ONE HAPPY MAN

"I'm happy, I'm really happy," said Torres, after signing a three-year, $6.75 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers, a big bump on the $875,000 he made last winter.

"I'm happy with the deal, but I'm even happier about being an Edmonton Oiler."

Torres, whose name has come up in most Edmonton trade rumours, wasn't sure if management had given up on him or not. That he almost tripled his annual income - on the strength of 15 goals and 19 assists - tells you how much they respect his awesome potential.

And well they should. The list of players in the NHL who can match his combination of speed, power and hands is awfully brief.

He's already plenty motivated by last year's struggles and the fear of being shipped out of Edmonton.

"Last year was a disappointing year for everybody, especially the team, and I didn't want to be traded and leave the team on that down of a note," said Torres, who scored 20, 21 and 27 goals in each of the previous three seasons.

"I think I got it into their heads that I do want to be a part of this team. I hate the way things ended last year. It was a terrible year on and off the ice and I'm going to do everything I can to try and make it better."

He's already checked in at the Oilers off-season training compound outside Los Angeles - run by Oilers strength and conditioning coach Chad Moreau - along with the likes of Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Zack Stortini and Marty Reasoner. Shawn Horcoff, Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll will arrive shortly.

"We're going through some pretty good workouts with Chad," said Torres. "We're up at 6:30 in the morning and going till noon. I'm putting in a lot of time out here. I just want to be as ready as I can."

MORE THAN MONEY

Torres says the deal means a lot more to him than money.

"I'm just happy that they showed faith in me," he said.

"They know that I want to be there and they made it happen. I'm happy with that, for sure."


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