Which Comes First, the $101 Million Dollar Player or the Egg?

Understand that as I write this, I am well aware that Ilya Kovalchuk, or many players before and after of the same ilk have turned down and will continue to turn down the Edmonton Oilers until this franchise is a winning one.

In much the same way, the Atlanta Thrashers who released a statement today that Kovalchuk turned down a $101 million contract over 12 years, will have trouble attracting big ticket players because as a team they aren't one synonymous with winning.

A question we often find ourselves asking in Edmonton, is which should come first -- the big ticket player or the competitive team? If it's the competitive team, is the big ticket player a key ingredient?

The Oilers should hope that building a winning team, doesn't require as a starting point a big time, big money superstar to turn things around, because one isn't coming and the Oilers don't currently have one. News familiar to fans, but one the team is finally starting to grasp the concept of.

One would only have to look so far as the total lack of the Edmonton Oilers to show any interest in getting involved in a bidding and trading frenzy for Kovalchuk to see that the Oilers management team has finally decided to build through the draft.

But, should the Oilers successfully build through the draft for the next two years and have made the right decisions in the previous two drafts, ultimately resulting in a team which is doing more than scraping into a playoff spot; will the big ticket items add Edmonton to their short list? One would logically think so.

You almost would have to imagine that's the thought process behind Kovalchuk's decision. The contract he's been stated to have turned down, would have made his the highest contract ever given out to a pending UFA.

Possibly, a contract the Oilers would have given out in an attempt to attract a player like Kovalchuk.

I wonder now, if you had the chance in Edmonton and Kovalchuk had said to you, I'll play here you just need to match the Atlanta offer, would you do it?

Now that the Oilers have headed down the direction of a full blow rebuild, I'm not sure I would..


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