In a statement Tuesday, the Oilers said Nylander had signed with the Oilers on Sunday, only to then sign a US$19.5-million, four-year contract with the Capitals the next day.
To make matters worse, the Oilers say they held off going after other potential free agents because they thought they had Nylander in the bag. The 34-year-old Swede was one of the top catches on the free-agent market, setting career highs in goals (26), assists (57) and points (83) with the New York Rangers last season.
"On Sunday, July 1, 2007, Kevin Lowe, Oilers general manager, and Mr. Mike Gillis, certified agent for Michael Nylander, negotiated and agreed to a multi-year NHL Standard Players Contract, starting in 2007-08. Mr. Gillis confirmed same to the Oilers in writing," the Oilers' statement read Tuesday.