PHILADELPHIA - Save your cynical tweeting fingers, hockey fans, the Edmonton Oilers are well aware they paid way too much to get journeyman defenceman Nikita Nikitin.
But sometimes in sports, as in life, you just gotta want it.
And the Oilers didnít just want, they desperately needed a big, experienced veteran to help bolster a young blueline that spent most of last season apologizing to their hopelessly overwhelmed goalies.
So while giving the 28-year-old former Columbus Blue Jacket a $2 million a year raise on the $2.5 million he made last year seems outlandish to some, the Oilers believe it beats missing out on him altogether.
"Certainly early in free agency you have to (overpay)," said Oilers senior vice-president of hockey operations Scott Howson, who knows Nikitinís upside better than anyone from his days as GM of the Blue Jackets. "You canít be cautious, you canít be careful. If youíre going to get the player, youíre going to have to be more than competitive in the market."