Tracers: Kevin Lowe Signs as GM

June 9, 2000

Kevin Lowe has decided to accept the job offer from the Edmonton Oilers to become the team’s new general manager.

The former Oiler coach was offered the position three weeks ago, following Glen Sather’s resignation. Sather left the team for the New York Rangers, citing irreconcilable differences with the oilers investors’ group.

Meanwhile, Jim Hole has stepped down from his position on the board of the Oilers Investors Group. He’s also decided to retire as the Oilers National Hockey League Governor.
Hole won’t comment on his reason for leaving. Hole, a good friend of Sather’s, was replaced as board chair by Cal Nicols earlier this year.

John Ramsey, a prominent Edmonton businessman, will take Hole’s place on the board.

Announcement in the morning. Blogosphere meltdown by lunch.

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12 Responses to "Tracers: Kevin Lowe Signs as GM"

  1. oilerdiehard says:

    Announcement in the morning. Blogosphere meltdown by lunch.

    My first thought exactly as soon as seen it. Should be some fun blog reading in the coming days.

    Not really a big surprise. When Burke made his first OS tirade. Nichols said they had started working on a Lowe contract extension and hoped to have it done pretty soon.

  2. namflashback says:

    I’m okay with it. While his 06-07 work was totally screwed-up, I am of the opinion that when you take any Smyth man-love out of it, plenty of GM’s have had either stubborness (didn’t make a move) or stupidity (about a move made).

    – DET Holland refused to address goaltending before 05-06. Yay Legace.
    – SJS refused to address their D before playoffs 05-06.
    – CGY refused to address personnel that could deal with scoring and new rules in 05-06
    – TOR Ferguson, nuff said
    – LAK thinking Cloutier was the answer
    – BUF refusing to renog with either of their top C’s
    – COL — Theodore

    And not one of those organizations will change their GM’s due to those f’ups.

  3. Showerhead says:

    First instinct is negative. Many beers have been consumed. Drunk person’s typed words = sober person’s thoughts? We shall see. PS the randoms at this party need to evacuate. Quickly.

  4. Lowetide says:

    The prudent thing to do would have been giving him this season to do or die. THEN flush him or sign him once the season is saved or lost.

    Now, it doesn’t matter. ANA can pick 4th overall and it doesn’t matter. Penner can score 6 goals and it doesn’t matter. Sheldon Souray can play as poorly as possible and it doesn’t matter.

    We’ve got Leon Durham and Jody Davis and Keith Moreland and they all hit 29 homers a year. 25 at home and 4 on the road, but 29 just the same and we’ll win with them because 29 homers is a lot.

    We’re the Cubs. Please baby Jesus send us Ryne Sandberg.

    My issue here isn’t really with Kevin Lowe btw. It’s with the management above him. Rewarding the 06-07 season with a long term contract is (since I’m in a music quoting mood tonight) like those who wave lanterns at runaway trains.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    LT – your issue clearly is with Lowe and everything else going on with the Oilers mgmt these days. You seem to hope the team fails this year and want him fired – just be honest about it. All this bleating about how we are the cubs and are giving away a top 5 pick junk made no sense this summer – even less as the team has looked OK in pre-season and beat a good team to start the year last night.

    I don’t think Lowe had a plan this summer or abandoned it at 12:05 on July 1 – but the monkey seems to have typed an entertaining little play even if it’s not Hamlet. If you expect brilliance in the NHL mgmt suite – you’ll be disappointed 95 times out of a hundred

  6. Shawn says:

    I look at the talent on the team and I say there’s reason for hope. However, to judge the Oilers on this season alone I don’t think would be fair necessarily.

    Here’s how I see things in the Lowe world.

    Lock out is over: Lowe sees a new cap world and a chance to make a splash. He (typically) can’t do it in free agency so he goes out and lands some big fish in trades to show the world big name talent is welcome and coming to Edmonton. Builds the team around Pronger, makes trades during the year to build a veteran cast around Pronger, team makes a run to the cup around Pronger.

    Post Pronger: The key to the entire team demands out. All the work before that is kind of out the window, because lets not kid ourselves… that was Pronger’s team. At this point Lowe decides (and he can be judged harshly on this) that he can’t get value for Pronger in a talent for talent deal and hopes he can pull off something akin to Colorado setting themselves up for a few years by dealing Lindros. Get enough good pieces and maybe it’ll work out long term. Under that perhaps incorrect realization he gets his 5 assets and hopes to fill the Pronger void another way. Unfortunately he again fails in targetting free agents (Chara was the big fish) and goes into the season with a team that never had a legitimate hope.

    Post Smyth: At some point in the year I think Lowe realized this is now Ales Hemsky’s team. Moves into surrounding Ales with young players who will develop and peak with him (Pitkanen and Penner) and hope that his analysis of their high end peak is correct. Get a PP weapon to take advantage of Hemsky’s skill at quarterbacking it (Souray) when last year it seemed like Joe Montanna was throwing bombs to a bunch of offensive linemen. Fill out the roster with some puck movers to get the thing up to their young scorers and hope the skill the drafting has aquired will lead to Buffalo like success over the next few years.

    Some may point to the Nylander move and say “well how does that fit the plan.” And it does because he’s a guy who would’ve been brought in to help push Hemsky over the top and bring him to the next level.

    We all know this team isn’t build to win the Cup this year. Roloson’s left over sure, but that’s because they still want to try for the playoffs and he might have a couple more years left given his lack of action early in his career. Think Johnny Bower. But ultimately this is Ales Hemsky’s team now and it’s built to succeed when he is at his best. Hopefully for now they can be a fun team to watch that can contend and maybe make the playoffs.

    But if Lowe chose to go in this direction you would have to assume management knew about it and were in on this chosen path. If you’re going to build around Hemsky you’re obviously risking missing the playoffs and not planning parades for this year. Given that, I don’t think there was ever any concern about Lowe being fired. It was always a question of whether or not he’d chose to stick around given all his talk of maybe wanting to give the job up.

    I think the biggest question about this team is not whether they can win this year (no Cup for us) but whether or not he got the right pieces to build around Hemsky (will Pitkanen flame out, is Penner just a big coke machine that got rich off the talent in Anaheim) and whether or not the very good Coach we have is the right guy for a team build around a speedy, high risk forward.

    Mac T was a great Coach for Pronger’s team. Is he the right guy for Hemsky’s?

    Either way, hard to answer those questions in year 1 of a new plan.

    Too bad we waited a whole year before getting a plan.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Asia: There’s just no way. Lowe has had a terrible twelve months and they are rewarding him? Come on. This is a bad move, and I certainly am not someone who ‘hopes this team fails and wants him fired.’

    I don’t think he’s made very smart bets, and has been extremely slow to address weaknesses both in-season and in off-season.

    I think the EIG needed to hold him to a higher standard, but it looks like that SCF appearance is going to buy him several years.

  8. Shawn says:

    I wouldn’t say he’s had a terrible 12 months, LT.

    He had a terrible off season last year and has since tried something new.

    Last year fresh off a cup run and losing his franchise he tried to salvage the team that in his mind was on the cusp of being a long term winner. He did a poor job of it and soon realized those days and hopes were out the window.

    Instead of doing a patch job he completely rebuilt the team around Hemsky. If you’re looking at the team from that perspective was the Smyth trade a bad move? The Pitkanen trade? The Penner contract? Giving up guys who’d be out of their prime when Hemsky is in his to get guys who will be in their prime at the same time.

    Smyth/Smith for Pitkanen/Penner is what the last 6 months boils down to.

    After that you look at the 1rst/2nd/3rd we gave up for Penner and trade those for Nilsson, O’Marra and Plante. Instead of distant future we get more recent future.

    It all adds up to trying to peak with Hemsky.

  9. Mustafa Hirji says:

    There’s a bit of revisionist history that’s slipped into the Oilogosphere’s collective consciousness which needs to be righted:

    The Oilers were NOT a bad team going into last season!

    At December we led the North-west, and we were a playoff team for over the first half of the season. Sure we may not have been a legitimate Cup contender, but we were a pretty good team. And that was despite our defence problems, despite having too many rookies, despite our stars never really getting their proper from (Horc, Hemsky, Torres, etc.) It wasn’t until the injuries hit that it all fell apart for us. Before that, with a few injuries (e.g. Moreau), a weak defence, and our stars not producing we were nonetheless doing ok.

    While Lupul turned out to be a bust, at the time, the Pronger trade wasn’t seen by many as a disaster (and LT even endorsed it). One can argue that the Lowe needed to pick up a puck-mover during the season, but until 6 weeks before the trade deadline, we were still doing ok so I’d counter that the urgency wasn’t there.

    The point where legitimate arguments against Lowe come up, I think, is the Smyth trade. Personally, I don’t think Smyth is worth $5.3 million, though not many players are IMO, and Lowe certaily felt he could get better value to make a splash in the free agent market. That was a gamble, and I’m not sure a sennsible one.

    The really big problems with Lowe were during this off season: namely overpaying Vanek, Penner, and Souray (a short term deal would have made sense; but locking up that money for 5 years on an aging player is silly).

    Personally, even if the EIG wanted to resign Lowe, the should have waited out for the end of the season since it makes no sense to reward someone right after doing a whole bunch of questionable work. But Lowe hasn’t had a disasterous year; just a disasterous 4–8 months. That’s where the clear problems are, not pre-Smyth trade.

  10. Asiaoil says:

    LT – agree with all you said – but again you are expecting more than the NHL will deliver in terms of smarts 95 times out a hundred. look around the executive offices – not a lot of rocket scientists or business wizards hanging around. Retreads and old boys are the norm.

  11. Master Lok says:

    I have to agree with Mustafa – while the Oilers weren’t a strong team last year – one of the major reasons for their collapse in the last 20 games was the injuries that killed their blueline. Who could have predicted that the Oilers were so desperate to call up Bisaillon to play in the NHL? Is that lack of foresight or bad luck?

  12. Stuart van says:

    Going into the 06/07 season I think many fans had reasons to be optimistic. It appeared that, sure they lost Pronger, but now they could roll three strong scoring lines. It wasn’t exactly predictable that guys like Horcoff, Torres, Lupul, Pisani and Reasoner, Hemsky would have such miserable years offensively, given their play off performances. It also appeared they would have better goaltending than they got, from both Roloson and Markanen, who was solid for the Oilers in the SCF. And, it seemed like we would get more from our young talent, that never emerged last year. Midway through the season, the Oilers were still in a position to make the playoffs, until the injuries built up, the chances faded, and Lowe decided to pull the plug and rebuild. In hindsight, that decision seems like a wise one. A lousy 6th place finish got us Sam Gagner.

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