A lot of criticism has flowed since Lowe signed Penner last week. To the surprise of no one, Burke conceded that the contract Lowe signed was a complete ripoff and not worth matching. The real question though was Lowe being stupid based on his current predicament?
A lot of people forget that Edmonton is possibly the worst place to play hockey in the NHL:
1. Climate is horrible
2. City isn't that popular
3. Team sucks (no chance to win cup).
Nylander refused to sign in beautiful Edmonton. Souray probably required a premium to play in Edmonton. And we don't know all the other players that have refused to sign in Edmonton. Edmonton could start next season without a replacement for Smyth, but obviously that team is much worse than a team that finds a replacement for Smyth, even if it's not perfect. If you're an Edmonton fan you should know they're not spending to the cap anyway and that any signing is better than not signing someone. Who would you rather have than Penner (who'd be willing to sign in Edmonton). Of course it's Lupul all over again. You wonder who they'll choose from Anaheim next season to overpaid.
What a lot of people don't get is that bad teams have to spend a lot of money to make themselves competitive in order to make themselves attractive to free agents. (free agents will choose a good team over a bad team all things being equal). Penner is part of that, but an extremely small part, but it's better than nothing.
Of course hind-sight is 20-20, Edmonton should have signed Smyth for about $5.5 at the end of last season, but of course management wasn't smart enough to know a good deal when they're staring right at it.