Souray willing to waive goodbye

Robin Brownlee
January 08 2010 06:23PM

Sheldon Souray proved he's quick with a quip on two occasions at Rexall Place today, breaking up the drool-inducing monotony of watching the first day of the Edmonton Oilers "mini-camp."

The first gem came just before weary, sweat-soaked players filed off the ice after two sessions of skating, early morning off-ice training and video tape sessions -- none of which will ever be mistaken for the team golf junket to California coach Pat Quinn pulled the plug on this week.

Smirked Souray: "So, for sure we're not going to Palm Springs?" Good for a hearty laugh by teammates. And, no, after 11 losses in their last 12 games, the Oilers won't be getting near Palm Springs, at least not until April 12.

The second came after Souray spent several minutes talking to Dan Barnes of The Journal, Rob Tychkowski of The Sun and yours truly, discussing where he stands on the possibility of being traded -- his name has been the subject of trade speculation, much of it far-fetched, since late last season.

After making it clear he hasn't asked the Oilers for a trade but would be open to waiving his no-trade clause if a deal made sense for the team and for him, the big defenceman joked about what might show up in print: "Souray asks to be traded," he smiled. "That would be me," I responded. "I know," he said.

HE DIDN'T SAY THAT

Souray said no such thing. Neither will I.

There's a big difference between Souray and his agent making it known he'd be willing to waive his NTC, which runs out July 1, if GM Steve Tambellini can work a deal that benefits the team and works for him and asking for a trade.

The "Souray wants out" talk made the rounds at the end of last season, and it was a bad scoop I framed as a rumour and passed along at the time. Some fans accused me of doing sort of an Eklund imitation. Most readers here appreciated my take on the scuttlebutt.

In any case, Souray's name remains grist for the rumour mill, and he chatted at considerable length today, offering his take.

“I wouldn’t at this point hold them back from doing anything that makes the team better," he said. "I came here with a goal.

"You hope to try to see it out. With where we are right now, it’s tough to say in the next three years if we’re going to see that. If it does come to the point where they ask me (to waive the NTC) I would not hold the team back.”

Nowhere in there does Souray say he wants out. Nowhere in there does he say the Oilers have indicated they want to move him. Of course, with two more years after this season remaining on a contract that makes Souray a $5.4-million cap hit and the Oilers facing a full-on rebuild, it doesn't take a vast intellect to see a conversation about the latter might take place.

TOUGH TIMES

From where I sit, what makes sense for the Oilers is to move Souray and free up cap space so Tambellini has room to move when it comes to revamping his roster. Of course, that's more easily said than done.

What makes sense for Souray, if it comes to a request that he waive his NTC, is a team that takes him no farther away from his two daughters, who live in California with his ex-wife.

When the always-available Souray left Rexall Place after team photos last season without talking to reporters, I wondered if there was credence to talk he wanted out. Souray later denied that was the case. Fair enough, after all, last season was frustrating for everybody with the organization. I'm guessing the sacking of Craig MacTavish eased some of that.

As for talk of discontent this season, Souray insisted today any consternation on his part stems from lack of success on the ice, not a desire to leave the Oilers.

"This year, pick any spot you want, it's been a disaster," Souray said. "It's hard to look down the road because things change, you know, in this game real quick.

"But, things have to start changing at some point. You have to start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that's the position we're in as a team right now. Right now, we're having trouble grabbing on to that light at the end of the tunnel, you know what I mean?"

LOOKING AHEAD

Given how his first season here was cut short by injury before the personal success of last season, his time in Edmonton has been something of a roller-coaster ride for Souray, who has two years remaining on his deal.

"We've got a good group of guys," he said. "We're playing absolutely dreadful hockey here at home and fans are still showing up and still showing their support.

"You can play great and be in a place like Phoenix and not have any fans, so the grass isn't always greener, you know?"

Why not take what Souray says at face value? If he didn't want to be here, he wouldn't have signed on for five years, even taking into account that the Oilers were happily willing to overpay to get him. Is he happy now? No, of course not.

"Right now, it's frustrating," he said. "Am I frustrated and disappointed? Absolutely. I'm one of the guys, that if there's some finger-pointing to go around, I've got to point the finger at myself and say, 'Hey, look. I can play better.'

"It's tough. It's taxing because you take it home with you. You want to be one of those guys who is counted on. You want to be the guy to step up and go, 'Look, man,' and put the team on your back and try to carry them a little bit. We haven't been able to do that."

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 MrOiler
January 09 2010, 10:20AM
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Ugh. One of my Oiler favourites and he's on the fast rail out of town.

I know, it makes sense but ...

A rebuild of some sort has to happen, but I really think most fans under estimate how long a rebuild takes. Get ready to watch this kind of hockey for at least a couple more seasons. Likely more (i.e. 3 to 4 years).

In terms of perspective, by the time the Oil have a contending team, the Flames will have been completely dismantled their current team.

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#52 Racki
January 09 2010, 10:43AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
He's one year removed from his best year of his career. So on the downside? Not necessarily (although yes, good chance he is at his peak).

Are you honestly suggesting that a player his age might not be on the downside of his career?

I didn't even bother reading past this because it just became impossible to take anything you say seriously.

First off, feel free not to read past this sentence, because I'd hate for you to read anything that doesn't fall in line with your own opinion.

Moreau and Staios are on the downsides of their career (i.e., THATS an example of a player on the downhill).

Souray... he hit his peak (current peak anyways) one year ago. I'm not saying he's going to continue to climb... but people talk about players declining sometimes as though they hit a peak and then completely fall off a cliff. Souray is still very much competitive and still very much worth the contract he's being paid. I'd say if anything right now it's uncertain whether he's he's still climbing, maintaining pace or on the decline. I see Brownlee already hit it on the head with his reply to your post.

I'm not suggesting that he's on the rise and going to get better and better... however, I will say that last year was a VERY good year for him and he has a long ways to fall where I'd consider him being in danger of detrimental to the team or not worth his contract.

This team may need a re-build, but it still needs solid players to build around.

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#53 Racki
January 09 2010, 11:00AM
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Btw, just to add to my point a bit, before Souray came here, people said it was a bad idea because he (apparently) hit his peak in Montreal that year and was on the decline.

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#54 Reggie
January 09 2010, 11:08AM
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BarryS wrote:

Notice Columbus beat Calgary last night, how long before we play Carolina? They need a little winning streak as well.

Carolina actually won last night too ... like if looking up ! or is that down ? LMAO

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#55 Reggie
January 09 2010, 11:19AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You think Souray told Barnes, Tychkowski and I before Lowe and Tambellini? I'd hope not.

I remember just after Souray came back from his concussion that there was someone on here claiming Souray was pissed at management for asking him for a list of teams he would waive his NTC for.

He claimed it was fact from a very reliable source, blah blah blah.

Sure, unfounded rumor, but maybe this gives it a bit more credibility.

There are alot of players with NMC and NTC that have been pushed and pressured to waive them - see Dan Boyle and half of the Leafs ... lol.

It's only logical sense for Souray to agree. Does it really matter if you get traded in February or July ? If he can exert some control now, it makes total sense.

One last note. It's a shame to see him leave. I love the edge to his game and seeing him unleash that big slapper and my sis-in-law will be crying at the airport when he leaves ...

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#56 Dan the Man
January 09 2010, 11:27AM
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The big question is, once Souray leaves who will be the most handsome Oiler?

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#57 Racki
January 09 2010, 11:42AM
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Zack Stortini

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#58 GSC
January 09 2010, 12:08PM
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Only further evidence that Souray should be the captain of this team. You never hear Ethan Moreau point the finger at himself, it's always someone else's fault (he uses the "team" as a means to deflect the blame from his crappy play).

I have a feeling one of Lubo or Sheldon will be out, and that's how it has to be during a rebuild. Have to move those big contracts for some picks and/or prospects. It's a hard decision to make, too, as Visnovsky is the team's best defenceman and Souray brings so many intangibles to the table (including physicality, which the blueline still sorely lacks).

I'm torn as to who goes between 71 and 44, and I'm sure that I'm not alone on this one.

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#59 Archaeologuy
January 09 2010, 12:26PM
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@GSC

Before Lubo got hurt last year he was our best d-man. This year he's uninjured and proves yet again to be our best d-man. He has an even more proven track record than Souray. If I were going to pick a d-man to choose as the "rock" of my defensemen it would be Lubo.

But you're right. The team would lose out on a physical presence and the semblence of some kind of leadership if Souray were to leave.

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#61 Reggie
January 09 2010, 12:46PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Totally different players, as you mention, and you'll find out how valuable they are if either one gets moved.

Despite all the noise about depth on defence, we saw how thin this group is -- think about watching Grebeshkov and Gilbert paired together -- when Souray was out with his concussion.

Without Souray, Staios and Smid bring the only real physical presence. Without Visnovsky, this group, including Souray (he's a point-producer, not a puck mover) doesn't get the rubber up the ice all that well.

So, maybe the issue is not what we are paying our top two defencemen, but paying $4M for Gilbert and $3.15M for Grebs ?

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#62 Brocktw
January 09 2010, 12:51PM
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@MrOiler

We have been in a half-ass rebuild mode for 4 years now. I am not sure a rebuild will take 3-4 years. I think with the young skill guys we have now and a few added guys in the next two drafts, the roster may look good going into 2012.

The core of Penner, Hemsky, Gagner, Gilbert, Smid, Cogs, Nilson, JDD, Stortini, JFJ, DD does not look so bad two seasons from now. Plus you add in prospects currently in the system and you have some good skill / talent to work around.

The keys to the Oil rebuilding quickly, in my opinion, is first, maxamize our first rounders in the next two drafts (a bona fide star). Secondly, clear cap space so we are not handcuffed when it comes to trading and re-signing RFA's. The third and most important key is to fill the holes in the team with cheap vets. Every year their are FAs that are available for cheap, instead of putting up big cash for our low skill vets ie. Staios, Ethan, Pisani. We should be filling those roles with guys like Reasoner, Murray, Strudwick ect.

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#64 Racki
January 09 2010, 12:58PM
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Reggie wrote:

So, maybe the issue is not what we are paying our top two defencemen, but paying $4M for Gilbert and $3.15M for Grebs ?

This is what I've been saying for a bit... I'd rather see one of Grebeshkov/Gilbert moved than one of Souray/Visnovsky. Yes, I know that Gilbert/Grebeshkov have a longer future ahead of them, but I think the difference in salary right now doesn't justify getting rid of one of our top two guys.

Dropping one of Gilbert or Grebeshkov would be a huge plus to our cap as well.

Move the mid range guys. I'm tired of sounding like a broke record, but we free up a lot of cash with the waiving/trading/not-re-signing of the following players: Moreau, Pisani, Staios (although I think we need another defensive minded d-man or two in place), Nilsson, O'Sullivan, one of Grebeshkov/Gilbert.

I think these are do-able in some way or another. A lot more do-able than trying to trade Horcoff. And well, the combination of those guys (with Grebeshkov, not Gilbert's salary) is over 15M in cap savings. Most of which can be replaced with far cheaper contracts.

So this is why I keep saying that our cap situation isn't that hard to solve if you look at it in smaller chunks.

edit: Just saw your post, Brownlee... been saying the same thing for a while, myself (Gilbert's the guy to go as he is too soft in his own zone).

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#65 Archaeologuy
January 09 2010, 01:00PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I said it and said it and said it last season more times than a nagging wife -- the guy to move was Gilbert. That's not hindsight. He was as good as he's ever going to get on the way to those 45 points -- I drew scorn from the numbers nerds by pointing out his ridiculously high number of second assists -- and you could have got something for him.

Now? A big player who plays soft and is on his way to, what, a 25-point season with a $4-million cap hit? Can't move that, at least not for anything of value.

Gilbert has bounced back recently by riding on Souray's coattails. If he keeps it up to the point where somebody inquiries about him, I'd unload him pronto.

A lot of people thought that NO ONE would want Penner either. I think a lot of us were surprised to see him as the centerpiece of the Heatley deal.

I wouldnt be surprised to find out that there are quite a few teams who look at the tools Gilbert has and believe that they can work with him better than the Oilers have this year.

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#66 nicole porter
January 09 2010, 01:02PM
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slick_shoes wrote:

why dont we give vishnovsky the boot?

How does slick shoes" arrive at that naive comment? Is he new to the hockey world or does he see gilbert as our future? I'm appauled at the stupidity

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#67 RossCreekNation
January 09 2010, 01:03PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Why are you speaking in absolutes? Is it likely, based on the norm, that Souray is on the downside of his career? Probably. Is it a certainty? No.

As just one example, Nicklas Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy in 2000-01, when he was 30. He won five more through 2007-08, the final one coming when he was 37. He's the exception to the rule, obviously, but there's nothing written in stone that precludes the possibility Souray could have 3-4 more seasons of peak performance.

Might also want to look at Rob Blake, who is 40. Look at his numbers in seasons from 2001-02, when he was 32, until 2008-09, when he was 39. That's not a bad player, no? Or Chris Chelios, ages 32-36 . . . Sergei Zubov, age 32-36 . . .

Taking your first paragraph into account, and the fact that maybe you were just playing devil's advocate, comparing Sheldon Souray to Nick Lidstrom, Rob Blake, Chris Chelios and Sergei Zubov is a bit of a stretch, don't you think (somewhat rhetorical, as I'm sure this isn't news to you, lol)? I mean these guys were legitimate superstar defencemen. Having said that, Souray likely has another couple decent seasons in him (although likely on at least a slight decline). Which is why they should look to trade him (as you've suggested), rather than keep him here for his last 2-3 productive years and lose him for nothing once this team is ready to start winning with regularity.

I guess I should clarify that the same could be said for Visnovsky, although I do think it may be beneficial to keep one of the two.

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#68 Racki
January 09 2010, 01:09PM
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My observations on Visnovsky is that Smid has had a career season because he's had Visnovsky to play with. Playing with confidence in your defensive partner when you're a young player is huge. It's easier to grow to his potential when he's not worried about what his defensive partner will be doing. It was the same with Grebeshkov. He was fantastic with Visnovsky. Grebeshkov was taken away from Visnovsky, and we started to see him tail off. Play him with Gilbert, and you're asking for disaster.

That's why I think we need to keep Visnovsky around. He makes players better, and helps them develop. Take him away and we're left with some winner pairings such as Gilbert/Grebeshkov, Smid/Staios or Strudwick/Staios.

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#69 GSC
January 09 2010, 01:18PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I said it and said it and said it last season more times than a nagging wife -- the guy to move was Gilbert. That's not hindsight. He was as good as he's ever going to get on the way to those 45 points -- I drew scorn from the numbers nerds by pointing out his ridiculously high number of second assists -- and you could have got something for him.

Now? A big player who plays soft and is on his way to, what, a 25-point season with a $4-million cap hit? Can't move that, at least not for anything of value.

Gilbert has bounced back recently by riding on Souray's coattails. If he keeps it up to the point where somebody inquiries about him, I'd unload him pronto.

X2.

And I agree with Reggie's comment above, the issue is overpaying Dmen like Grebs and Gilbert. I'd rather pay Lubo and Souray $5.5 MIL than see those two one-dimensional gongshows paid $3+ MIL.

I wish the Oil could unload Gilbert, and maybe now with his "rebound" (thanks to Souray, as Brownlee mentioned) he will become trade-able again. That contract rivals some of Lowe's dumbest moves, IMO.

Let's just hope Grebs doesn't get a raise next season, he's done nothing to deserve it. In fact, if he wants more, I'd move him too.

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#70 quicksilver ballet
January 09 2010, 01:21PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You think Souray told Barnes, Tychkowski and I before Lowe and Tambellini? I'd hope not.

Sheldon hasn't been satisfied with whats going on here for a couple years according to your interpretations. Not a better way to expedite a move than to initiate the leak. The way Sheldon has acknowledged makes it even appear as though he has the clubs best interests at heart. If management doesn't care (do anything) about the on ice goings on with the club (Penner Smid Cogliano) then why should the players.

Things appear to be unravelling amongst fan support now and its just a matter of time till revenues start dictating what management can do (can't just keep increasing ticket prices for a team like this)

....ah ship, who cares, it's just hockey. The Oilers made this mess, they crapped the bed let them clean it up.

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#71 GSC
January 09 2010, 01:21PM
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Racki wrote:

My observations on Visnovsky is that Smid has had a career season because he's had Visnovsky to play with. Playing with confidence in your defensive partner when you're a young player is huge. It's easier to grow to his potential when he's not worried about what his defensive partner will be doing. It was the same with Grebeshkov. He was fantastic with Visnovsky. Grebeshkov was taken away from Visnovsky, and we started to see him tail off. Play him with Gilbert, and you're asking for disaster.

That's why I think we need to keep Visnovsky around. He makes players better, and helps them develop. Take him away and we're left with some winner pairings such as Gilbert/Grebeshkov, Smid/Staios or Strudwick/Staios.

Good call.

Beats the hell out of watching Smid trying to play with "Steady" Steve, the poor kid almost had his development derailed as a result.

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#72 Racki
January 09 2010, 01:22PM
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GSC wrote:

X2.

And I agree with Reggie's comment above, the issue is overpaying Dmen like Grebs and Gilbert. I'd rather pay Lubo and Souray $5.5 MIL than see those two one-dimensional gongshows paid $3+ MIL.

I wish the Oil could unload Gilbert, and maybe now with his "rebound" (thanks to Souray, as Brownlee mentioned) he will become trade-able again. That contract rivals some of Lowe's dumbest moves, IMO.

Let's just hope Grebs doesn't get a raise next season, he's done nothing to deserve it. In fact, if he wants more, I'd move him too.

If I'm not mistaken the Oilers need to give him a raise in order to qualify him. I seem to recall it being based on age, but I can't say that with certainty. I think for Stoll it was 10% though, so I'll guess that they'd need to give Grebs a 10% raise (earning $3.465M cap hit) in order to retain his rights.

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#73 Racki
January 09 2010, 01:26PM
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GSC wrote:

Good call.

Beats the hell out of watching Smid trying to play with "Steady" Steve, the poor kid almost had his development derailed as a result.

For the record, I do think we really need to move one of the top 4 (Souray, Visnovsky, Gilbert, Grebeshkov) and my choice is Gilbert.

I think Chorney is a guy who could one day replace him. Plus we have a few others in the system.

Souray brings a lot more than one dimension. As does Visnovsky (who again makes teammates better).

Gilbert's $4M isn't that far off from Souray's $5.4M. I'd definitely pay that extra $1.4M for the better player, even though Souray won't be the better player for many years. If Gilbert starts to pick it up and garner attention, I say move him for some quality assets, then it won't feel so much like we're giving up on the future to hang on to a guy who won't sustain this level for forever.

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#74 GSC
January 09 2010, 01:27PM
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Racki wrote:

If I'm not mistaken the Oilers need to give him a raise in order to qualify him. I seem to recall it being based on age, but I can't say that with certainty. I think for Stoll it was 10% though, so I'll guess that they'd need to give Grebs a 10% raise (earning $3.465M cap hit) in order to retain his rights.

I still think Grebs is overpaid at $3 MIL (for one year, it was an absurd re-signing). I'm still worried that a good season from Grebs if the Oilers keep him around will put him in the territory of Souray/Visnovsky dollars, and that just can't happen...I'm not convinced that he's anywhere near that calibre of a defenceman. The organization should exercise caution here, and learn from the Gilbert situation.

Now, if the Oil could move Gilbert instead of Souray like you just suggested, I'd be ecstatic. I'd keep Grebs over Gilbert any day.

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#75 Racki
January 09 2010, 01:32PM
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GSC wrote:

I still think Grebs is overpaid at $3 MIL (for one year, it was an absurd re-signing). I'm still worried that a good season from Grebs if the Oilers keep him around will put him in the territory of Souray/Visnovsky dollars, and that just can't happen...I'm not convinced that he's anywhere near that calibre of a defenceman. The organization should exercise caution here, and learn from the Gilbert situation.

Now, if the Oil could move Gilbert instead of Souray like you just suggested, I'd be ecstatic. I'd keep Grebs over Gilbert any day.

I know he looks overpaid, but I would say that 1-year at that price was a good signing to make. Grebeshkov was on a high at the time and likely his agent wasn't going to settle for much less than Gilbert. In fact, we're pretty damn lucky that we got Grebeshkov for that price when Gilbert was making $4M and looking to be overpriced. It sucks, but agents will use comparables when getting their players countracts.

The only downside to signing Grebs at $3.15M was that we have to go up in order to re-sign him. But we weren't going to get him for $2M or some bargain price the way he played last year.

And well, I'd rather have 1-year at $3.15 than have the Oilers go with another 6 year $4M (potential) boo-boo

So yes, to sum up, he's overpriced currently, but that's using hindsight, and I'm glad they lowballed him below Gilbert's salary and tried it for just a year. It was the right thing to do, imho.

In a perfect world, Gilbert wouldn't have gotten $4m, and Grebeshkov wouldn't have had to receive as much as he did.

Btw, I think Grebeshkov is having a rough season right now, but I see him as a guy who will turn it around. I think souray is the only guy that actually plays well with Staios, and does anyone play well with Strudwick?

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#76 GSC
January 09 2010, 01:37PM
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Racki wrote:

I know he looks overpaid, but I would say that 1-year at that price was a good signing to make. Grebeshkov was on a high at the time and likely his agent wasn't going to settle for much less than Gilbert. In fact, we're pretty damn lucky that we got Grebeshkov for that price when Gilbert was making $4M and looking to be overpriced. It sucks, but agents will use comparables when getting their players countracts.

The only downside to signing Grebs at $3.15M was that we have to go up in order to re-sign him. But we weren't going to get him for $2M or some bargain price the way he played last year.

And well, I'd rather have 1-year at $3.15 than have the Oilers go with another 6 year $4M (potential) boo-boo

So yes, to sum up, he's overpriced currently, but that's using hindsight, and I'm glad they lowballed him below Gilbert's salary and tried it for just a year. It was the right thing to do, imho.

In a perfect world, Gilbert wouldn't have gotten $4m, and Grebeshkov wouldn't have had to receive as much as he did.

Btw, I think Grebeshkov is having a rough season right now, but I see him as a guy who will turn it around. I think souray is the only guy that actually plays well with Staios, and does anyone play well with Strudwick?

Given his salary last season - $1.5 MIL - it was a terrible overpay. He should have made no more than $2.5 MIL, one season does not merit the salary he's making now. But I think your theory is bang-on since one season seemed to merit a massive raise for Gilbert in the eyes of Oiler management, so there's further fallout from that retarded contract.

It's funny how terrible deals work against not only the player who signed it, but to his teammates who use him as a comparable. I like your thinking, Racki...so, "you wanna go, pretty boy?"

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#77 Racki
January 09 2010, 01:48PM
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GSC wrote:

Given his salary last season - $1.5 MIL - it was a terrible overpay. He should have made no more than $2.5 MIL, one season does not merit the salary he's making now. But I think your theory is bang-on since one season seemed to merit a massive raise for Gilbert in the eyes of Oiler management, so there's further fallout from that retarded contract.

It's funny how terrible deals work against not only the player who signed it, but to his teammates who use him as a comparable. I like your thinking, Racki...so, "you wanna go, pretty boy?"

First off, great job quoting Youngblood. lol

Secondly, yes, that is exactly where I'm goingwith it. That one contract which was too much money too soon had a ripple effect.

I was hoping that Tambellini would set things straight and say "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" and stop this line of overpaying... then he goes and trumps anything Lowe did and signs Khabibulin to a ridiculous contract. Doh ;)

But I digress.

Yes, $2.5M would have been a good number. Same for Gilbert. The other part of these big contracts is that not only does it get used against us with comparables, but the players actually have a LOT to live up for. Think maybe Horcoff would go back in time and re-sign for $3.6M if he could? There's a point where making too much money will lead to unreachable expectations.

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#79 GSC
January 09 2010, 01:59PM
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Racki wrote:

First off, great job quoting Youngblood. lol

Secondly, yes, that is exactly where I'm goingwith it. That one contract which was too much money too soon had a ripple effect.

I was hoping that Tambellini would set things straight and say "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" and stop this line of overpaying... then he goes and trumps anything Lowe did and signs Khabibulin to a ridiculous contract. Doh ;)

But I digress.

Yes, $2.5M would have been a good number. Same for Gilbert. The other part of these big contracts is that not only does it get used against us with comparables, but the players actually have a LOT to live up for. Think maybe Horcoff would go back in time and re-sign for $3.6M if he could? There's a point where making too much money will lead to unreachable expectations.

Which is why I wish we had an Alex Burrows...for a measly $2 MIL, the guy has 45 goals and 85 PTS in his last 126 games. That's 0.67 PTS/game, so roughly a 55-point season average. That's what Curtis Glencross could have been, or a Rene Bourque.

I'd have gladly paid them "Nilsson money" to do what they're doing now: providing physical, dependable play and contributing offensively. Signing/trading for a player or two like that brings minimal risk compared to giving a player like Nilsson a raise in the same ballpark, since they provide more than just secondary scoring. The Oilers should have recognized that instead of swinging for the fences for a big name free agent.

And yes, I agree that with big raises come big expectations. I couldn't disagree more with those who say "don't blame the player, blame management" for those inflated deals. I say blame both, management deserves blame for obvious reasons and the players deserve blame for not playing up to their salary. The cap world demands players who provide bang-for-buck ("value" players), and the Oilers have too few.

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#80 Archaeologuy
January 09 2010, 02:06PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You're right. Gilbert isn't a bad player. Far from it. He just isn't on the development path some people assumed he might be when he was piling up points last season -- some people looked at 45 points relatively early in his career and thought he might become a 50-55 point guy for the next several seasons.

I don't see him reaching 45 again. I say that was a one-off. Still, he has a clue with the puck, is a better shot-blocker than he often gets credit for and if he has another six weeks like the last six weeks there's a chance to move him.

I'm thinking a team like Dallas would be a good team to target for a Gilbert trade. They have Cap space, there is a need on that team for an offensive defenseman besides Robidas, and there is a familiarity between Huddy and Gilbert. Oh yeah, and they're in the hunt for the playoffs in a bad market. They might be willing to gamble the future in order to make the playoffs today.

That's who I would be looking at.

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#82 Reggie
January 09 2010, 02:45PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I agree. And I'll be on the sniff as far as Dallas goes.

Hey, Charlie ? Robin here, I was wondering ... LOL

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#83 Robin Brownlee
January 09 2010, 03:06PM
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Reggie wrote:

Hey, Charlie ? Robin here, I was wondering ... LOL

You think the highly specialized profession of "investigative reporting" is as easy as calling up somebody I've known for 20 years like Charlie, Mike Modano, Stu Barnes, Les Jackson, Joe Nieuwendyk or Dave Taylor and putting the arm on them for some inside info? . . . nevermind.

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#84 Archaeologuy
January 09 2010, 03:11PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Ha. I just had this image of Eklund reading our back and forth posts and writing "GILBERT TO DALLAS FOR RIBEIRO...E4"

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#85 Reggie
January 09 2010, 03:13PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You think the highly specialized profession of "investigative reporting" is as easy as calling up somebody I've known for 20 years like Charlie, Mike Modano, Stu Barnes, Les Jackson, Joe Nieuwendyk or Dave Taylor and putting the arm on them for some inside info? . . . nevermind.

No I don't. I was trying to be funny because of the obvious link to a former Oiler.

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#86 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 09 2010, 04:48PM
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Racki wrote:

First off, feel free not to read past this sentence, because I'd hate for you to read anything that doesn't fall in line with your own opinion.

Moreau and Staios are on the downsides of their career (i.e., THATS an example of a player on the downhill).

Souray... he hit his peak (current peak anyways) one year ago. I'm not saying he's going to continue to climb... but people talk about players declining sometimes as though they hit a peak and then completely fall off a cliff. Souray is still very much competitive and still very much worth the contract he's being paid. I'd say if anything right now it's uncertain whether he's he's still climbing, maintaining pace or on the decline. I see Brownlee already hit it on the head with his reply to your post.

I'm not suggesting that he's on the rise and going to get better and better... however, I will say that last year was a VERY good year for him and he has a long ways to fall where I'd consider him being in danger of detrimental to the team or not worth his contract.

This team may need a re-build, but it still needs solid players to build around.

obviously, there is a chance souray continues at his current pace for the next couple of years.

statistically, offensive players tend to hit their peak around 32, and start to decline after that.

my concern would be, do you want a 5.4 mil cap hit for an often injured, and (in theory) diminishing asset on a rebuilding team?

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#87 Eddie Shore
January 09 2010, 06:27PM
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What happened at training camp today?

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#88 Reagan
January 09 2010, 06:32PM
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Oh no the Oilers and Atlanta rumours have started. The one I heard today...

Visnovsky Cogliano Moreau

for

Kovalchuk...

Wow, people are getting desperate...

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#89 Eddie Shore
January 09 2010, 06:37PM
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Where did you hear this?

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#90 Ninjafoot
January 09 2010, 07:19PM
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Reagan wrote:

Oh no the Oilers and Atlanta rumours have started. The one I heard today...

Visnovsky Cogliano Moreau

for

Kovalchuk...

Wow, people are getting desperate...

As the odds of actually getting Kovalchuk to re-sign here in Edmonton are slim, what is the idea behind this trade then?? Just a rental that provides a big salary and contract dump?? There has to be better situations that we could attempt a financial whitewash for draft picks/prospects trade.

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#92 RossCreekNation
January 09 2010, 09:30PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I'm thinking a team like Dallas would be a good team to target for a Gilbert trade. They have Cap space, there is a need on that team for an offensive defenseman besides Robidas, and there is a familiarity between Huddy and Gilbert. Oh yeah, and they're in the hunt for the playoffs in a bad market. They might be willing to gamble the future in order to make the playoffs today.

That's who I would be looking at.

Interesting. If I'm not mistaken, there's somebody here who's been mentioning Dallas for about 2 months as a possible trade partner for an Oiler D-man. Hmmm...

;-)

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#93 RossCreekNation
January 09 2010, 09:40PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I agree. And I'll be on the sniff as far as Dallas goes.

Jamie Benn is the guy I'd be sniffing for.

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#95 Victoria
January 09 2010, 10:28PM
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Hahaha!

So, Souray, you're willing to waive your no-trade clause and go to a team that is pretty much guaranteed to be a heck of a lot better then your current on because you think it'll help your current team...

...how very altruistic of you.

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#96 Jasmine
January 09 2010, 10:46PM
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GSC wrote:

I still think Grebs is overpaid at $3 MIL (for one year, it was an absurd re-signing). I'm still worried that a good season from Grebs if the Oilers keep him around will put him in the territory of Souray/Visnovsky dollars, and that just can't happen...I'm not convinced that he's anywhere near that calibre of a defenceman. The organization should exercise caution here, and learn from the Gilbert situation.

Now, if the Oil could move Gilbert instead of Souray like you just suggested, I'd be ecstatic. I'd keep Grebs over Gilbert any day.

I'd get rid of Grebeshkov way before Gilbert. Grebs is an accident waiting to happen. Grebs isn't worth what he's getting. I believe the 10% raise comes in on league average and if above league average they don't get a raise.

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#97 Racki
January 09 2010, 11:12PM
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Victoria wrote:

Hahaha!

So, Souray, you're willing to waive your no-trade clause and go to a team that is pretty much guaranteed to be a heck of a lot better then your current on because you think it'll help your current team...

...how very altruistic of you.

He was asked... it's not like he was saying "hey guys, just so you know, if you need me to waive my no trade clause, I'd do it for the good of the team".

And quite frankly, he's been great for us, and I'd be more than happy to see him play for a winner.

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#98 Archaeologuy
January 09 2010, 11:16PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Interesting. If I'm not mistaken, there's somebody here who's been mentioning Dallas for about 2 months as a possible trade partner for an Oiler D-man. Hmmm...

;-)

My guess is that either you're talking about yourself or Eklund. Honestly, i dont know which somebody you're refering to. I just thought about who needs what and it seems to make sense in my mind.

If you make enough guesses based on some kind of working logic eventually you have to be right, right?

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#99 RossCreekNation
January 09 2010, 11:28PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Maybe, but, really, who gives a squirt what that "somebody" thinks?

That "somebody" sounds like one of those guessers who'll say, "I called it" if something happens with Dallas.

Oh, c'mon Mr. Brownlee. It was an educated guess. Isn't that what you've done with "Teams that pass the geography AND salary cap test are Los Angeles, Colorado, Dallas and Phoenix" - make an educated guess (based on reality)? Nothing has happened yet, so I've got nothing to "gloat" about. I did call it and if it happens I will say so. And if nothing happens with Dallas, well who gives a squirt what I said, right? It's not like I threw out Souray to Boston or Souray to Washington or even Souray to multiple teams. I stated a) Dallas and b) LA. Educated guesses. To be specific, I said Souray or perhaps Visnovsky, but not Gilbert or Grebeshkov. It doesn't take a "rocket surgeon" or "brain scientist" to figure there could be something there. Heck, me and Arch got it. I just had a two month jump. Now, time for the pro to start sniffin as you say because I've got no sources and I trust your info a hell of a lot more than my educated guesses. They only take you so far, right Ek?

How come I get that reaction out of you, yet Arch gets a "I agree. And I'll be on the sniff as far as Dallas goes"?

Not trying to be dickish to you as I highly respect what you have to say and definitely look forward to hearing what you dig up (be it with Dallas or elsewhere).

In any case, what a freakin game between the Canucks and newly minted 1st place Flames. Playoff hockey in January is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Anyone see the COWARD Canuck fan keep shining a laser in Kiprusoff's eye. Karma's a B!TCH, loser.

And how about that brawl in the KHL? Bolshevik-style, lol.

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