Potential trade targets for Souray

After making a very public trade demand and calling out Oilers management, management’s subsequent attempts to accomodate said demands with no success, and last week, a 24 hour stint on waivers, what’s next for Sheldon Souray and the Edmonton Oilers?

Jason Gregor’s recent take that Souray can return is one I don’t share. Sure, anything’s possible, but if I’m Steve Tambellini, there’s no way I bring Big Sex back, nor would I buy him out, make him play in the minors, or place him on re-entry waivers in October. So that leaves trading him as the only real option. And we know they’re not getting Jordan Staal, Jack Johnson, Brandon Sutter, or anything remotely resembling these players.

With Souray’s value at a low, any trade the Oilers make will likely see them taking salary back in return. Which is why Tambellini opted to place him on waivers last Friday. No sense bringing back salary if they didn’t have to. But to no one’s surprise, he cleared waivers the following day, and the question remains: What do they do with Souray?

Obviously, it goes without saying that I’m no professional here, so let me get my RossCreeklund on and speculate on some of the potential options out there. Without the help of any inside knowledge or any real connections inside the game, I will make some educated (?) guesses as to who might be up for grabs in any such deal. To do so, I’ve enlisted the help of my good friends at NHLNumbers.com and my friends via subscription of nearly two decades, The Hockey News.

What are we looking for?

We need to find a team that is looking for a top-4 defenseman that can play on the PP. This team needs to have a player with a similar contract that they’re looking to move. The guy can’t be a complete dud either; he has to have some value to the Oilers.

This eliminates a lot of teams from the equation. Ideally, the player in return would only have one year remaining on their contract, but since Souray has two years left (each @ $4.5M salary, $5.4M cap hit), it’s quite likely the player will have two years left. So saddle up, as I explore some options. We’re also only going to look at players that don’t have NTC/NMC to make things easier. We wouldn’t want to get into a debate of why so-and-so (*cough* Michal Roszival *cough*) wouldn’t want to come to Edmonton again, do we?

Lowered Expectations


With the retirement of Scott Niedermayer, one could say they may have some use for a PP d-man. With Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman & James Wisniewski in their top-4, there’s room for more. Would the Ducks have interest? Maybe. We know Souray would be thrilled… which is why we might rule sunny California out. But at the end of the day, Tambellini has to do what’s best for his hockey club.


Jason Blake – 2 yrs, $3M salary ($4M cap hit). Blake has been much maligned since signing with the Leafs back in the summer of 2007. At the age of 37 (and the height of 5-10), he’s not really someone I’d have much interst in, although he did have 16-25-41 in 82 games last year. Perhaps if he had one year left, but two… MEH. A buyout after this season would still cost the Oil $2M in 11/12 & $1M in 12/13. Pass.


The Bruins don’t have a lot of cap space, but after trading the disappointing Dennis Wideman, do they have a void on the backend? A booming shot on the PP could help.


Michael Ryder – 1yr, $4M salary & cap hit. Ryder’s a goal scorer, but that’s about it. When he’s not scoring, he’s not contributing anything. The fact that the Bruins would be taking on an additional year and an additional $1.4M in cap space make this possibility all but dead.


The Sabres seem to be looking for a PP d-man, and if they fail in their attempt to get Tomas Kaberle out of the Center of the Universe, they could be a possible destination. They aren’t a cap team, so they’d be more concerned with the actual $ than the cap number.


Tim Connolly – 1yr, $4.5M salary & cap hit. The Sabres have been rumoured to be looking to rid themselves of the injury-prone center. However, I’m not sure they’d move him without a suitable replacement, as they’d be left with just Derek Roy as a legit top-2 center. Adding Souray’s 2nd year might also be cause for concern. When healthy, Connolly could be the #1C the Oil are looking for.

Jochen Hecht – 2 yrs, yr1: $3.5M, yr2: $3M ($3.525M cap hit). Some might say "been there, done that" when it comes to Hecht, but he’s a top-9 forward that can play all 3 positions. He’s basically a 40 pt guy, and he’d save the Oil $1M salary this year & $1.5M next year with a cap savings of $1.875M in each of those years.


The Stars are a team with ownership issues, so I’m not sure about their willingness to take on Souray’s contract, but if it were based purely on a hockey decision, Dallas may be the best fit. Perhaps tossing Cogliano in and a wilingness to take some term on could lead to a deal of sorts. Because we’re not looking at younger players for this exercise, their young defenceman aren’t of consideration. But…


Mike Ribeiro – 3yrs, $5M salary & cap hit.Ribeiro’s also been mentioned in rumours, and I’m sure I’ve seen mention’s of a Ribeiro/Souray swap somewhere on these interwebs… fact or fiction, who knows. He is small, but he’s got some game. I’m not a fan of him, but a deal involving those two could be a nice fit for both teams. Would the Oil be willing to take on term though? Maybe an added swap of younger, cheaper players – Andrew Cogliano & Fabian Brunnstrom, for instance – could work. Maybe a "Magnus/Fabian Combo" lights the lamp… or not.

New Jersey

After losing Paul Martin, the Devils went out and signed defensive stalwart Anton Volchenkov along with Henrik Tallinder. That duo may help in keeping the puck out of their net, but its not going to do any wonders for their PP. Given Souray’s previous time in New Jersey, and Lou Lamoureillo’s penchant for re-acquiring former Devils, New Jersey could be a fit. But until Ilya Kovalchuk makes up his mind what he’s doing, Sweet Lou will stand pat.


Dainius Zubrus – 3yrs, $3.4M salary & cap hit. Again, whether or not the Oilers are interested in adding term, in this case at a much lower cap hit, is the issue. Zubrus has a huge frame and plays all three forward positions. Not an ideal acquisition, but not a completely terrible one, either. One thing taking term on does, though, is tying up portions of monies for 3 years from now when Taylor Hall is looking for a raise.

The Wild Card

The New York Freaking Islanders

Currently sitting at just under $36M, the whacky Islanders are well under the cap floor and need to take on salary just to get there. Jeff Marek mentioned an outrageous thought… don’t be surprised if the NYI take Huet to make the floor. If it were any other team, I’d laugh it off as bogus speculation. But the Islanders… former goalie-turned-GM, Garth Snow… Charles Wang… I dare say they just may do it. If I’m Tambellini, I’m making that call to Mr. Snow to see how you can banish send Sheldon to that dump Long Island. It may be the only opportunity to unload Big Sex without taking any salary on.

In Conclusion

While some of the above mentioned names may not be ideal, trying to bring a malcontent back into the fold is even less ideal, in my opinion. After rumours he made a private trade demand after the 08/09 season, Tambellini couldn’t find the right deal, so Souray returned to the fold without incident, still expecting a trade at some point. When that didn’t transpire this past season, he went public with his request and even threw management under the bus. With everything that’s ensued since, I believe there’s too much water under the bridge… well, there would be if the bridge was still there, but Sheldon already blew that up.

Cut your losses, Steve.

  • Dan the Man

    I think you are dreaming in technicolor if you think Souray has much value in a trade. With his current cap hit over 5mil and with 2 of his last 3 years contributing little or nothing it’s hard to see anyone offering anything of value. The only chance for a trade would be to tade a bad contract for another but I don’t see how this would help the Oil.

    Best bet would be to put him on re-entry waivers as someone might be intereted at 1/2 his current ticket.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    So if Souray is picked up off re-entry waivers, fill in the blank if anyone knows.

    Oilers pay real world salay in following amount: ______________ per year next 2 years.

    The Oilers cap hit is ________________ per year next 2 years. (is there even a cap hit?)

  • Crackenbury

    You used to be able to trade a player, but agree to pay part of his remaining salary. Anyone know if that is still an option? If so, what happens to the cap hit?

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    What up CJ and bro, K-Dog and Omar….. I definately don’t believe Souray should be sent to the minors…. it does nobody any good. The Oil need to showcase him not burry him to get a deal done. Just because you make nice in front of the camera doesn’t mean either side has to truly make up. The Oil just need to play nice until some one is desperate enough to pull the trigger ie injury or deadline desperate.

  • Wolverine_Oiler

    Wouldn’t be interesting if Souray gets thrown in the AHL? If he showed up and played, you’d think he’d be busting his arse to prove to other NHL clubs that he can play with the big boys and earn his salary. And it just might work. A healthy option for Tambo to take a look/risk at. 20-30 games into the season, you know there’ll be some d injuries and that’s when Souray will/could be deemed a valuable commodity for pick-up. Or I would hope.

    • Hemmercules

      I don’t think it would ever happen, if there are no takers before the season they will tell him to shut his mouth and play hockey until they find a new home. How will playing hard for an AHL team prove anything to other teams?? Hes a proven veteran NHL defensemen, they all know what he’s capable of. It’s cap hit and injuries thats scaring everyone away right now. If he can stay healthy for the first month of the regular season they will be able to trade him, I think were stuck with him until at least then.

      • I hope not, but you are probably right. Still hoping a team that misses the ufa or Kaberle boat will take him. Or like someone said earlier, maybe a team needing to get to the cap floor (NYI?)

        EDIT: BBG!

      • Wolverine_Oiler

        Well I would assume that in 20-30 AHL games and he’s scored 10-15 goals, has fought a few times without getting hurt, and is +10-15, the Oil would call him up and let him play for a few games. If he mimics the AHL numbers, I would hope/think that a team that needs a PP D-man would inquire to Tambo since it would be still known that the Oil want to trade him. Plenty of ifs, ands, and buts, but who knows?

        • IF they sent him down to start the season, he’d have to clear re-entry waivers to be recalled & the Oil would be on the hook for half his remaining contract. Basically, if he starts the year in the minors, he won’t ever wear an Oilers jersey again.

          • Finaly proof your a OIL fan. Good read RC welcome to the team. In your article you wrote “we”. Only a oiler fan would write “we”. I hope to read more from you. edit : Ross wrote “we” as in the Nation, he has let me know he isn’t a Oiler fan and is behind enemy lines, not to worry I have been behind enemy lines on Flames Nation.

  • Ducey

    1) if we pay him we should play him. If he is eating up money we could have used to sign point per game UFA’s then lets use him to try and shut down those players. I know we had room to sign if we wanted, but a dollar is a dollar and his dollar is not going up by playing AHL or ECHL.

    2) dont trade him now. obviously his value in the league stinks. couldn’t package him in a trade and couldn’t lose him on waivers. If we cant get a $5.4 mil dollar return on him, then ride it out until we can. 2 more seasons and he is gone if we cant get a decent trade by then. Believe me, he wants out and will play like he is worth his money until someone comes a calling.

    3) Do not send him through re-entry waivers. At $2.7mil cap hit, he is a steal if he plays his potetntial. He will get taken for sure, and we are stuck with $2.7 for 2 years. 2.7 x 2 is 5.4. If we are going to lose 5.4 then lets pay him 5.4 for the year.

    4) The league knows we want to dump him, so when this Kovy thing is all said and done and the cards fall where they will, you will hear grumblings of trade talks happening. Lets get the commodore/umberger for cogliano/souray train rolling again.

    5) slap some pads on him and put him in goal.

  • Milli

    I’d love to see him in the ECHL, just fortraining camp and maybe a few pre-season games, then recall him and hope someone takes a shot! Realy, at 2.7 mil a year, there will be takers……

  • socaldave

    as said by others, if we have to pay him, let’s use him, ffs! Let’s not forget, if (big if) he’s healthy, Souray’s a pretty good asset to have. The only way the Oilers get him off the books is if his value rises, the only way his value rises is if he plays, etc etc etc

    • m3sh

      That comes down to whether you buy into if he’ll poison the atmosphere in the dressing room. Is delaying the development of that new young core worth assigning him to the Oil roster?

      Although I do agree, you should play him, and move him at the earliest possible opportunity once we see some interest.

      As per taking on another teams bad contract in order to do so, why not? We need to get rid of an attitude issue as much as anything else, if we’re going to waste 5mil+ on one bad contract, why not waste it on another that wouldn’t (necessarily) be a poison to the dressing room. Especially if Tambs can work out some way of reducing the term we take back, or no worse. Wishful thinking probably.

  • Ducey


    I would suggest Nylander (4.85 this year) with Washington and Witt (3.0 this year) with the Islanders would be good targets too. Both of these guys are listed on gapgeek as non roster players. They seem to be useless but have not been bought out.

    As these teams would get someone useful (Souray is a good player when healthy) and these guys seem to be on the scrap heap, maybe the Oilers could get something in that deal.

    • Being a non-roster player on the Capitals means Nylander doesn’t currently count against their cap. So making that trade would add $5.4M to their cap, something they cannot afford.

  • Dyckster

    Could the Oilers promote Souray to coach of ECHL club , and thus clear the cap space ? How about janitorial services while he sits in limbo for a trade seeing as it’s probably a personnel services contract anyways .
    A tad fasicious .

    Heatley was never going to get back with Ottawa by his actions , and i very much doubt now Souray will either . Tams will be patient as usual , and that could mean sitting Souray out for next two seasons (tongue in cheek )?

    Probable scenario : Souray sits out until at least next trade deadline , or another team gets desperate enough to take his contract FOR NOTHING IN RETURN !

  • the fact is he has trade value, but the asterisk to this whole situation is that trade value is contingent on him being healthy, which he hasn’t shown an ability to do. Shoulder, Hand, and concussion issues have plagued him throughout his tenure here and these injuries will scare off teams because they inhibit him from doing what he does best. Playing physical and shooting the puck, which is basically the only thing he brings to the table, he just does those two things really well. His skating is decent but he gets beat from the outside, his defensive positioning is not stellar, and despite being an offensive minded dman he isn’t a puck mover.

    At 5.4M that’s too big a gamble for any NHL GM to take on if his concussion or upper body injuries persist. Also I don’t want Zubrus, he is a very inconsistent player who is fairly soft despite his large frame. We already have a player like that in Penner and at least he’s a front of the net presence who’s capable of 30+ goals. Zubrus no longer is capable of such things.

  • Ducey

    Have the Oilers given Souray’s agent permission to try and find a trade? (ala Tim Thomas)

    Seems like a bad idea. No doubt there is a trade out there for Souray, it would just be a poor one for the Oilers.

    But given Souray’s propensity for throwing people under the bus, he would just go to the media and argue the merits of a number of deals he would have supposedly cooked up. This would further deteriorate his relationship with Edmonton and therefore decrease his value.

    • That’s why RB’s article yesterday was so topical. The kid had to wear a number today. I dont know why so many people took issue with it.

      If I were to guess now, it would be that Hall uses 19 this season. I also heard Tambellini in a Radio interview say that he thinks Lowe will be in the HHOF, so it makes sense if that’s the prevailing belief that 4 wont be given up.

  • Under no cicumstance do you let Souray play another game.
    Risking another injury isn’t worth it. Let him sit until the deadline…then trade him to Calgary for their push tirades the playoffs.


    Via Darren Dreger…

    Flames signed former Oiler Ryan Stone… Stone was a group 6 UFA. Missed half a year with a knee injury. Flames sign him for 1 year, $500,000 over $105,000 (AHL).

  • Tams tried to accommodate Souray as best he could, even letting other 29 teams have him for nothing . Tams has more important things to do now to prepare for season . Souray sits wirh mouth shut until Tams has more time to try and deal with him now .

    Perhaps after season has begun , Tams might revisit trying to move him again with one alternative not mentioned yet ! TAMS PAYS ANOTHER CLUB ” x” AMOUNT OF DOLLARS TO TAKE SOURAY AND HIS CONTRACT OFF OUR HANDS ? That way we avoid taking on another bad contract and perhaps an overpaid unwanted player . I don’t know if we can legally do it above board , and whether it might actually add more to cap hit or none ?

    Get on with more important stuff that needs attention in other words !!