As we near the Olympic Break and the Trade Deadline, it really appears interesting to me that Sheldon Souray finds himself on the trading block after submitting a list to the Oilers to which teams he would waive his no-trade clause for. To me, this is a real break in the case of dissecting rumours and such, but now the rumoured list is somewhat of a hot topic.
First things first, why the heck would the Oilers want to move a guy like Souray? He's a top-two defenseman, who brings a wallop of a shot from the point and a real veteran presence. The Oilers, if they were to have a quick rebuilding turnaround, would actually require a guy like Souray to quarterback their power play. To me, this is very reminiscent of the Maple Leafs situation with Tomas Kaberle, it's very curious to deal away your cornerstone piece on the point.
In the Oilers case, they do have a bit more depth, especially with Lubomir Visnovsky still being part of the equation and some youth in Alex Plante and Taylor Chorney coming up through the system. Obviously, that seems to be enough for the Oilers going forward or else they would be taking a stand on keeping Souray for the better part of his contract. If the rebuild is going to take three or four more year, Plante and Chorney should have ample time to develop and who knows what the Oilers are going to get from the future drafts.
As for his list, I like to believe what's being speculated, that the list of teams are all on the West Coast, trying to stay near his kids. Souray has two more years left on his deal, so he cannot play the rental and sign somewhere in the West after moving to the East for the remainder of this season. That's some reasonable forward thinking on his part, so it will be interesting to see if any of the California teams like what they see from him, maybe even Dallas or Phoenix, it does sound more like a Pacific Division-type move, rather than going down the road to Calgary or Vancouver. Still though, you would have to think that if the Flames or Canucks came calling with a package, the Oilers would have to listen.
So, speaking of his salary cap status, he does have two more seasons left at $5.4 million against the cap in each of those seasons and a good portion remaining on this season. That is a pretty big hit for a Trade Deadline move, especially for a rental player.
In terms of this season, we're now at a point in the year where the math gets to be awfully complicated, after injuries and demotions and such, so any team that is generally speculated to be in this, should have some space left for the $2.5 million or so Souray would need to fit in. The easy fits, just looking on the surface of some teams and their annual hits, I can see Anaheim, Phoenix and Los Angeles being really easy moves and they are all in the playoff discussion.
Long term, the Pacific Division seems to be a ripe place to be building from, as a lot of teams are going to be dealing with free agency right off the hop. Even the San Jose Sharks has a list of only 11 players signed on for next season at a cap hit of approximately $35.2 million. If the Sharks could open up a ton of space, you would have to think they might be players to pair up Souray with Boyle. Call it somewhat unreasonable, for chemistry reasons though.
As always, there are teams that are unhappy with certain players, which we can throw into supposed deals all we like. One that comes to mind would be Phoenix trying to package Peter Mueller out of town, since he's been mentioned a few times this year, for Sheldon Souray. I'm sure the Oilers could use another young, talented centre to help mould into their form. Personally, I think that kind of package is reasonable. Sadly, I have no sources or contacts to justify this, I'm just speculating all I like with the pieces in front of me.
No matter what happens, if Souray goes down South to the Pacific Division, I don't think that brings enough to the table for any of those teams.