Leaving money on table

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Hossa said no suh.

An hour before Daryl Katz was publicly unveiled live and in person as the new owner of the Edmonton Oilers yesterday, the big splash free agent signing which was hoped to go with it was washed away.

Marian Hossa turned down an exceedingly large number of dollars from the Rexall drug billionaire and signed a one-year contract for $7.4 million with the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

It didn't hose down the event staged at centre ice of Rexall Place yesterday. While a percentage of Edmonton fans were excited about the sudden prospects of the deal with the numbers rumoured to have been offered to the best player available in the Canada Day Free Agent Frenzy, an equal number likely didn't believe Hossa would come here. Probably as many again believed that paying that kind of money for him would have been simply insane.

If nothing else, it created the quote of the day.

"I have never been involved in a deal and seen a player get so excited to take $85 million less than he was offered elsewhere," Hossa's Edmonton based agent Ritch Winter told The Canadian Press.

Hossa turned down the Oilers' offer, which was rumoured to be $9 million or more per year over a term as long as nine years, which would only add up to $81 million.

It was more?

"The numbers were somewhat exaggerated in terms of our offer," said Lowe.

On the other hand, Lowe said "we were told it was the best offer."

Only hours after Hossa turned the Oilers deal down and Katz was press conferenced, rumours were that the Oilers had made an offer for Jaromir Jagr.

"We still have some lines in the water. There are a couple players at that level left. We'll keep looking around. It's the time of year that you can. But we could be finished," said Lowe.

"I know myself I made the right decision," said Hossa of rejecting the Oilers offer, in a conference call.

"But it wasn't that easy to throw that much money away. We'll see at the end of the year whether I decided good or not. I truly believe I made the right decision.

"I've said before I want to have the best chance to win a Stanley Cup and I feel like Detroit is the team," added the 29-year-old who finished the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and lost the Stanley Cup final to the Red Wings.

"It wasn't an easy decision. I knew I could have received more money somewhere else, but I wanted the best chance to win the Stanley Cup and Detroit is the best possible destination."

Lowe didn't call Hossa nuts.

"I applaud him. It's a one-year deal and good for him."

But he added: "If he wins the Cup, that means we don't. A lot of players make the decision to go to the team which just won the Cup, but it doesn't happen very often that they win the Cup again the next year."

Coach Craig MacTavish said Hossa's decision just tells you that top players want to win the Cup and the best thing the Oilers can do this coming season is prove that Edmonton is a Cup contender.

If you think the Oilers woke up the morning after the free agent craziness and might have been a wee bit happy that they didn't actually end up paying Hossa that kind of money, think again.

"All the things we hear about him and all the things we know from watching him is that he'd look great with Shawn Horcoff or Ales Hemsky," said Lowe.

MacTavish said he'd have played the left side with those two in the lineup he allowed himself to dream about the night before. Not for a moment did he think about some of the best deals being the ones you don't make.

"No. We wanted that guy. When a player is unrestricted you have to pay a premium. Nobody begrudged Chris Pronger his money at all. He was worth every bit of it. Hossa is one of the most complete and best players in the game. He shoots and passes like ... well, like a Red Wing."

With Hossa possibly returning as a free agent next year and with the new owner telling Edmonton that one of the areas which he thinks he can offer the most "is in attracting free agents" chances are we'll be going through it again next year.


Videos

Photos