Lowe telegraphs intentions

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene are gone and Joni Pitkanen has his suitcase packed and ready after Kevin Lowe jumped the gun on the July 1 transaction frenzy.

The Edmonton Oilers general manager swung into action two days early, sending Stoll and Greene to the Los Angeles Kings for 31-year-old offensive defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky.

In making this deal, Lowe telegraphed another - acquiring Visnovsky means Pitkanen is about to become part of a package deal for a forward.

Visnovsky is a big ticket, scheduled to earn $7 million next season (though he's a $5.6 million cap hit), and now becomes the highest paid player on the team, just ahead of Sheldon Souray. He made the NHL All-Star game in 2007, on the strength of 58 points in 69 games, but his production tailed off a little last year (41 points in 82 games).

The 5-10, 188-pounder, an alternate captain with the Kings, is currently back home in the Czech Republic and couldn't be reached for comment.

Stoll could, however, and the veteran centre says that as good a fit as the Kings are - what, with him dating Rachel Hunter and living in Los Angeles anyway - he still wanted to stay in Edmonton.

"I'm obviously happy, but it's also a bittersweet feeling," he said. "I had a lot of great memories and great years in Edmonton. I'll always be fond of that and fond of those times.

I'm from close by (Saskatchewan)and I have a lot of family and friends that supported me. The organization was great, the fans were great. The support for the team in Edmonton was unbelievable. For me to be a part of that for six years, I couldn't have asked for anything more than that.

It's a great organization, I had a lot of fun there, and it's sad that it didn't work out, it's definitely sad leaving Edmonton and all the great times I've had there, but this is a new chapter in my life and I have to move forward now."

It's hard to say he's surprised when his name was attached to every trade rumour that came down the pike, but he did think he'd be getting another chance to prove himself in Edmonton.

"It did catch me off guard a little bit,"he said. "Obviously I heard all the talk, it's been going on for a while, and I kind of prepared myself a little bit, just in case it did happen. But it's still shocking and surprising.

But pretty quickly you realize that you have to move on -there's a new team and a new organization that you're part of, someone that wants you. I'm excited about that. I'm very excited to be with the Kings. I know they're going in the right direction. They have a great young core and I want to be part of that."

Stoll said it's tough leaving Edmonton on a downer, knowing the last impression fans here have of him was the tentative and unproductive shadow of the player he still believes he can be.

"It's unfortunate that the organization felt that way, that they had to move me. That's fine, that's the way they think and that's the business side of the game.

I definitely wish it could have worked out and I could have rebounded and had a great year and proved a lot of people wrong. That's the kind of person I am. I know, looking back at last year, that I can be a better player. That's what my whole focus was on this summer.

"I know how I can play and I'm confident in my game and what I can bring. I'll just bring that to another team and another organization now."

On the bright side, he doesn't even have to pack.

"I live 10 minutes from the Kings practice rink," he said. "It worked out really well if it had to happen at all. I'm a little bit still in shock, but I'm happy.

I wish Edmonton all the best."


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