Even with the Oilers out of the playoff picture a year after reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and mired in the throes an eight-game losing streak, Sykora isn't counting the days until July 1 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team in the league. He says he wants to stay.
"I like it here," Sykora said Wednesday. "The first 40 games, when we had a healthy lineup, that was the best time I've had in hockey in a long time. I'm playing with players who suit me and playing the kind of hockey that suits me."
I wouldn't want to be in Kevin Lowe's shoes when this summer rolls around. On the surface, it seems to be an easy choice to resign Sykora. He has produced at a pretty good clip this year, and if he wants to return for around 3M, resigning him seems like a no brainer. However, as outlined in the post below, Lowe has approximately 8M to spend on 2F, 2D and 1G. If indeed Lowe does want to bring in a big name FA, it is unlikely that there will be 3M dollars to spare in the budget. The only other option would be to move a roster forward to free up budget space. Of the possible forwards (Lupul, Pisani, Moreau, Stoll, Torres), only Lupul seems to make sense. Unfortunately, his value is so low that a trade would pretty much be a salary dump, and I just don't think dealing him under those circumstances constitutes good asset management.
Personally, I'd let Sykora walk and use the money to patch up the blue line.