SUN Hockey Pool

Is relationship about to change?

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

If you know Brian Burke and his explosive side, you'd figure he'd have matched in a New York minute.

If you know the general manager of the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, you'd have also have also figured he'd have made those juicy quotes out of Buffalo from the Thomas Vanek Affair sound restrained and understated.

But the Edmonton Oilers signed Dustin Penner to an offer sheet for $21.25 million US over five years and his only response was typed out in an e-mail to a Ducks beat reporter.

Dan Wood of the Orange County Register e-mailed to ask Burke, who is in Vancouver with the Cup and will be at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies today, if he wasn't commenting because it was his day with the Stanley Cup.

"We are not commenting today and it's not because it's my day with the Cup!" was his response to the hockey scribe.

EXCLAMATION MARK

It wasn't even in capital letters. But there was the exclamation mark.

I wrote after the Oilers made the offer sheet to acquire Vanek that I believed Lowe would risk the wrath of another team, another town and the brotherhood of GMs by becoming the first to go after a restricted free agent twice.

But why the wait of 21 days from the July 5 Vanek offer sheet?

Of all the restricted free agents out there, just about the last one you figured Lowe might submit an offer sheet to acquire would be one of Burke's boys.

Of all the GMs in the league the one Lowe is probably closest to is Burke. They talk almost daily.

I find it difficult to believe that there wouldn't be conversation, lots of conversation, before this happened.

As interesting as this may be from an Oilers perspective with Lowe having been unable to spend anywhere near his $45-million US budget, particularly to get a forward and specifically a left winger, its far more interesting from a Ducks perspective. Burke was on the record prior to the July 1 free agent frenzy saying if anybody went after Penner, he'd match.

Would he be first in NHL history not to match?

There's a reason for him to take a pass.

Hitting restricted free agency next year will be the Ducks other two young guns, the even more prized Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Burke is between a rock and a hard place here because of those two.

By simply matching Penner's offer, Burke would be establishing the starting point for negotiations with Getzlaf and Perry. And he wouldn't have a lot of wiggle room to do it before the trade deadline, especially if captain Scott Neidermayer and/or Teemu Selanne decided not to retire.

It may make even more sense for him to use the full week he has to match the offer and try work out a deal with another team in the league for Penner.

He may be able to acquire something back of more value than the first, second and third-round draft pick the Oilers would be required to give up to get the pride of Winkler, Man.

Unlike the Vanek situation, Lowe wouldn't be giving up four first round draft choices.

LESS COSTLY

Penner falls under the $4,687,530 number which would cost the Oilers two first round, a second round and a third round to match.

It would be one first round, one second round and one third round pick next year. And Lowe telegraphed he wasn't done with restricted free agent offer sheets when he did a deal to get his own second-round pick back from the New York Islanders in the Ryan Smyth deadline deal.

The draft picks must be your own. The Oilers have a first-round pick and a second- round pick next year from the Ducks from the Pronger deal. But they can't use those in the Penner scenario.

While hard against the salary cap, Burke is not in immediate cap trouble.

Matching Penner, who made the league minimum $450,000 last year, he'd go from $48 million to over the $50.3 million cap but you are allowed to go 10% over prior to the start of the season.

There's another thought here. You could make the case Burke owes Lowe a Stanley Cup.

Thanks to Lowe choosing Burke to do the deal to grant Chris Pronger's request to be relocated, the Ducks replaced the Oilers in the Stanley Cup final and beat the Ottawa Senators to win it.

Burke, you could make a case off the play of Joffrey Lupul last year, also stiffed Lowe on him.

In a way, it's not a bad thing to not have an instant response on this deal from Burke and the Ducks. It gives hockey fans a whole lot to chew on until this plays out.


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