Oilers Coach Ron Low resigned yesterday after rejecting a one-year contract offer, the team said. The team's offer would have paid Low $306,000 (U.S.), the same amount he earned this season, according to the Canadian Press.

"The deal I was offered, I just can't accept it," Low told CBC Radio. "I don't think I should be the lowest-paid coach in the NHL."

Low, 48, had spent the past five seasons as the Oilers' coach, never taking the team past the second round of the playoffs.

"I understand Ron's position fully and wish him every success," said Oilers GM Glen Sather, who gave Low permission to pursue a position with another team. Low's contract expires July 1. No replacement was named.

Low compiled a 143-162-40 record in his tenure with the Oilers and never finished the regular season above .500.

Edmonton assistant coach Kevin Lowe, a former Oilers defenseman, is a candidate, along with former Mighty Ducks assistant Walt Kyle, who is coach of the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario.

PEARSON FINALISTS: Dominik Hasek, Jaromir Jagr, Curtis Joseph, Teemu Selanne and Alexei Yashin are the finalists for the Lester B. Pearson Award, given by the NHL Players Association to the league's most outstanding player.

The winner will be announced June 24 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. NHL players vote on the award, which was first presented after the 1970-71 season.

Hasek, who helped the Sabres reach the Stanley Cup finals with nine shutouts and a 1.87 goals-against average this season, has won the award the past two seasons.

Jagr had 44 goals and a league-best 83 assists for the Penguins and led the NHL with 127 points. The Maple Leafs' Joseph had 35 wins and three shutouts with a career-best 2.56 GAA; Selanne had 47 goals and 60 assists for the Mighty Ducks; and Yashin tallied 44 goals and 50 assists for the Senators.