Cash is king

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Kevin Lowe says it's business as usual.

With the Oilers caught in a state of flux, about to change hands from the Edmonton Investors Group to Daryl Katz, Lowe says he won't be handcuffed if he decides to make a move or two at the deadline.

"I don't think this transition of ownership is going to affect us all that much," the Oilers general manager said before last night's game. "It's business as usual, till further notice."

Signing Sam Gagner to a 15-year contract is something he'd have to clear with Katz, but Lowe has a green light to improve the team as he sees fit, or build for the future, between now and Feb. 26.

"We have the resources to do what we need to do," said Lowe.

"It might be different if it was something bigger than a normal deal. You'd have to talk to people to see if that would be endorsed or not."

While Lowe feels a tremendous sense of gratitude to the Edmonton Investors Group, he thinks having a sole owner will only help the hockey club move forward.

"I think so," he said. "The game has come to a point where having a face on ownership, having someone like Daryl who is committed to the city in many ways, will make a big difference.

"The EIG gave us the necessary means this year to do what we need to do and Daryl has indicated he's prepared to carry on at that level and then some. That's good news for Oilers fans."

CAP COULD RISE AGAIN

The EIG was able to spend to the cap this season, but with the salary cap expected to jump again, there was no guarantee for next season. Having someone with Katz's financial resources should guarantee Edmonton remains competitive in the future.

"It's the first year that we've been truly at the cap," said Lowe. "The cap is going to continue to rise, which will put pressure on the business. I just think in this day and age, someone like Daryl gives an organization a bit of a leg up."

The budget will be less of a moving target from season to season, less reliant on the price of oil or the Canadian dollar.

"(At last year's trade deadline) there was a little unknown as to what our budget was going to be this year," said Lowe. "By all accounts there will be no unknown as to our budget from year to year."

Lowe also likes that Katz prefers to move quickly, rather than get bogged down in meetings, committees and boards. If he has to act fast on a big offer, the man with the wallet is one call away.

SPEED IS THE ESSENCE

"There's no question that things can get done pretty fast when needed," he said. "Not to say that was an issue in the past here, but moving forward, the way the game is going, it appears to me you're going to have to have someone ready to make decisions rather quickly on big ideas if you're going to be successful."

To the EIG, Lowe gave a final tip of the helmet and hopes they got as much out of the experience as Edmonton did. In fact, he's pretty sure they did.

"The satisfaction they had a couple of springs ago made it all worthwhile," he said of the run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. "I don't think the cheques they receive in the next couple months come remotely close to that."


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