If this is the kind of hockey we are going to witness, we are going to skip to the end of this book and start moving onto what’s next. The answer by the way is rebuilding from scratch. And according to the way the wind is blowing around the Oilers Head Offices these days, it starts with trading Sheldon Souray – one of the few marketable assets the Oilers have these days.
A few days back we threw out that if the Oilers are bound and determined to move Sheldon Souray (mistake #1) and they are going to try and move him to California per his presumed wishes, thus creating another ex-Oiler who will regularly crush the Oilers in Conference Play (mistake #2) we think that they should try and move him to Anaheim for JS Giguere. Consider this a silver lining on a disasterous loss and a trade that would make sense for both teams.
Consider this recent article in the Orange County register about Sir Jigs A Lot:
“With an uneasy smile, Jean-Sebastien Giguere likened himself to a stock that’s value is at rock bottom. The veteran has a resume that includes a 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy and a turn as the Stanley Cup champion goalie but he hass been reduced to trying to stay sharp as the Ducks have turned to Jonas Hiller for their playoff push… Hiller is the clear No. 1 as the Ducks started him in the net for a 10th consecutive time in Saturday night’s 4-3 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues. Giguere has played in just five games since Dec. 11.
Earlier in the season, Giguere openly complained about his role as the two netminders were thought to be in a competition for the starting job when the year began. But while he clearly doesn’t want to be a disruptive force on a team that’s on its best run of an erratic season, Giguere also doesn’t want to be at peace with being a backup at this stage of his career. "You’ve got to be a team guy and you’ve got to accept your role, and this is the role I’ve been given right now," he said.
"But it doesn’t mean that I’m going to accept it in a way. I’m going to push for more. I’m going to strive for more. I’m not going to give up on wanting to be a No. 1 goalie. This is why I play this game. It’s to play. So I’m not going to give up on that. “
This is a 32 year old Conn Smythe Trophy winner who just wants to stop pucks as a starter in the NHL. He himself has compared his current market value to "a stock that has hit rock bottom" and "is not going to give up on being a No.1 goalie." What we have here is a player that can give the Oilers a solid foundation in the pipes while they rebuild the team with yet another youth movement over the next several seasons.
THE NAY SAYERS
We can already hear the masses of pissed off Oilers fans lighting their torches, sharpening their pitchforks and appearing outside the stately gates of Wanye Manor* We will address these concerns one at a time.
*not real gates.
Concern #1: What about Khabibulin?
You are quite right if you are thinking to yourself "I swear the Oilers signed a starting goalie in the offseason." This is absolutely the case. But from what we understand the chances of the Bulin Wall returning to full capacity – or even returning to the NHL at all – are less than 100%. This isn’t to say that he won’t return, but a plan needs to be put in place if he does not. No one will have a better idea about this than the Oilers themselves and they are the ones who will decide if and when to pull the trigger.
Concern #2: What about JDD and Deslauriers?
Lets begin by saying that the Oilers have no one to blame but themselves for the unripened young goaltenders being shelled in net these days. Not having a farm team since the late 1970s has (surprise, surprise) left us with a system that does not exactly develop the youth into NHL stars with any regularity.
Dubnyk has impressed us all with his desire to compete, his scrappiness and his desire to scrap. Notice that nowhere in those glowing statements do we include "his ability to play regularly in the NHL." Dubnyk needs time to develop and should do so an NHL backup for the next few years.
Poor JDD falls into the "thanks but no thanks" category in our mind. He is a prime example of being careful what you wish for, pining away at night for a shot in the NHL only to be handed this mess of a squadron and to be told "try and keep em off the scoreboard ol’ bean. " JDD might catch on with another NHL team – but if Rehabibulin does not return to the team, we would be slotting one of the two kids into a backup role and going hunting for a starter.
Concern #3: What about the DFF?
If you think that the Oilers should not make any trades that could improve the team and thus jeopardize the chance of the first overall pick – think again. If this team keeps it up we will be so far from having to worry about losing first pick overall it won’t even be funny. This is not a deal that the Ducks or the Oilers need to do today, it can wait until the deadline when the DFF is all but assuredly the Oilers property. And while we cheer for last place, #44 could be exactly what the Ducks need at the deadline to get them in to the big dance. And with Niedermayer not getting any younger by the day, they acquire the rearguard to whom he may pass the torch for years to come.
Concern #4: Giguere makes $ 6 million dollars
JS Giguere absolutely does make $6 million dollars, for one more year after this. But if there is a guy you could sign to a 3 year deal extension, at a lower rate, with the basic guarantee that he will be a starter the entrire time – Giguere is that guy. If the Oilers can put away their desire to sign goaltenders to gigantic contracts they could probably lock Giguere down for a few seasons at a reasonable rate as goalies of his resume go. He has said himself he is a stock at rock bottom, maybe now is the time to buy.
If the Edmonton Oilers are going to make the mistake of trading Sheldon "Big Sex" Souray, they are going to have to get something with a high price tag coming back the other way. The days of sending a big ticket player to a team for 5 prospects and a George Forman Grillonator 5000 are long gone* There just aren’t many – if any- teams in the league that can just absorb a Sheldon Souray without sending you something pricey in return.
So ask yourself – what do you want to get back? Another expensive defenseman? Pass. An expensive forward in the dog house with his current club that will get frustrated playing on a crappy team? Pass. A former Conn Smythe winner that is only 32, likens himself to a stock at rock bottom and is being forced out of his current team by some young upstart? A guy who can mind the net while the Oil start shedding contracts like crazy and will inspire some confidence amongst a last place team?
*not a real grill