The Edmonton Oilers issued a statement on Tuesday, claiming they had come to a contract ageement with free agent centre Michael Nylander, who subsequently signed with Washington.
Calling the situation, "unfortunate and unprecedented," the Oilers said general manager Kevin Lowe agreed on Sunday to a multi-year deal with Mike Gillis,Nylander's agent, who in turn confirmedin writing that an agreement had been reached.
Edmonton never receivedsigned contracts from Nylander and Gillis and on MondayWashington general manager George McPhee announced that Nylander had agreed to a four-year deal with the Capitals, believed to be worth $19.5 million US.
"The Oilers can find no precedent for such conduct in our history,"the statement read. "The Oilers are examining and pursuing every course of action available in the best interest of the team and our fans."
Edmonton also claimed its subsequent free agent dealings on Monday were made under the assumption that Nylander was an Oiler.
Nylander set career highs in goals (26), assists (57) and points (83) for the New York Rangers last season.
The 34-year-old Nylander is in his native Sweden, and the case may also be complicated by the fact Gillis has been representing the player for only a short time.
The New York Post reported in early June that Nylander firedPaul Theofanous after learning the agent had agreed in principle to a new deal with the Rangers without consulting him.
Soon after, the Rangers decided to target free agents Chris Drury and Scott Gomez instead of re-signing Nylander.
Nylander played for the Capitals between 2002 and 2004. In stints with Hartford, Calgary, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Boston, New York and Washington, the 15-year NHL veteran posted 609 points (189 goals, 420 assists) in 808 career games — including seven 50-point seasons.