5 season with over 50 points.. 6 seasons with 20 goals or more
These are significant numbers.
I like Sykora. I have since he was a Devil. He may not be
an elite player but he has scored throughout his career
including in the playoffs at a 25 goal per year pace.
This is true despite the fact that most of his career
was spent playing in a league and for a team that saw
goal scoring at a premium. The Oilers have not had an over
supply of guys who can put the puck in the net and who
wanted to stay here over the last 10 years. They also
have had nearly as much difficulty in scoring this year as they
have in keeping the puck out of the net. I also
don't think that he is a defensive liability.
I would be careful about giving up too easily on a quality veteran of solid character.
At 2.5-3 mil one would have to look twice to see how you could do better for the same money.
3 Million with the Oilers, 3.75 if they pass.
Sykora isn't as one demensional as people think. Defensively he is rarely a liability, while his offensive strength is his shot, not his puck control. If his set up man isn't getting him the puck, he will "disapear". The Oilers have no one to play with him besides Hemsky. They need another strong play maker; Stoll might be good, I don't understand why they never put those two together. MAP may be good with him as well.
Obviously I like him, he's a great guy to have around and he loves it here, but I doubt the Oil will resign him for a few reasons.
1) There was a reason the Oilers didn't give him a 2 or 3 year deal. They knew Smyth's contract was coming up and that they would need that money to spend on his contract. They had no intention of resigning him at the beginning of the season, and as long as the whole Smyth thing goes as planned, I don't see that changing.
2) We've got 3 RWers for 2 spots. Hemsky is obviously our first line guy, while Lupul and Sykora are both good 2nd liners. Neither of them fit on a 3rd line because like I said earilier, they need a quality set up man to get them the puck.
3)Lupul is younger, cheaper and signed. He will stay, even if Sykora has been better this year.
I can see him getting close to 3.5 with another team, especially if he can get hot late in the year/in the playoffs (with the Oilers or not). He has solid numbers and is good on the PP. I wouldn't mind seeing him back in Edmonton but not if it conflicted with a defensive upgrade(s) and the resigning of Smyth.
I'll admit, Sykora is a good player and if we want to sign him for another year I'm OK with that.
I worry that if the Oilers lock him up for 2+ years, they are essentially wasting valuable time not developing other players. I know Lupul could definitely use that time. I know he's underperformed this year but I think what Lupul needs is time to settle into playing with a traditional playmaking center getting 1st line or 2nd line minutes.
Right now, if Sykora is locked for 2+ years, it takes away a potential spot and significant time for Lupul to improve as an Oiler. I doubt very strongly that Lupul can't get better so denying him the opportunity to improve significantly by signing a good veteran player (Sykora) longterm is a mistake. For one more season, sure, but for more than that and I think fans will get upset enough to sway opinion to move Lupul out of town. This will prove more costly.
It may be better to revisit this debate at the end of next season. I'm certain Lupul will have a few more fans on board.