5 Grenades

The Edmonton Oilers signed Sheldon Souray today. I don’t know the exact dollars but Bob Stauffer mentioned 27.5/5 on the Team this afternoon.

I think we all knew Kevin Lowe was going to make a splash at some point (or resign) this summer in an effort to regain some credibility among Oilfans. I don’t think this move alone does it, but for most fans there’s no doubt a warm fuzzy feeling in our town this afternoon.

In pure hockey terms, it’s a contract Lowe will very likely live to regret. Souray is coming off a career season and even at that couldn’t be considered an attractive top pairing defender. Based on Desjardins’ “quality of opposition” ratings, the Habs didn’t consider him to be the best option available.

Souray isn’t getting the big money for his defense, he’s getting the dollars for this ability to shoot that cannon from the point. He was an amazing 19-29-48 on the powerplay (!!!!) which even when filtered through the assclown Oiler PP corrector is going to be impressive. He can also fight.

What doesn’t he do well? Carry the puck. Pass the puck. His ability to read and react is limited to the point where he gets passed like a house on the side of the road with frequency.

He’s a flawed option. He’s not Rob Deer flawed, but he’s going to have a lot of strikeouts to go along with the home runs.

So, is this a completely negative day? No. The Oilers (with Lowe under great pressure) may have sent an offer sheet to Zach Parise which would have cost them one of Steve Stamkos (92 points in 63 games in the OHL in 06-07 and he was 16 when last season started), Drew Doughty, Kyle Beach and a few other potential impact players in next year’s draft.

Considering all the options in play (Lowe needed a positive headline, the Oilers had 5M cap money, the offer sheet for Parise), I’m pretty happy with how today turned out.

I have no idea about the D pairings though. One thing is sure: we’re going to miss Jason Smith.

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49 Responses to "5 Grenades"

  1. Chris! says:

    Hey LT, where are you seeing this Parise offer? Or is this just speculation?

  2. Lowetide says:

    chris: Speculation on my part. However, when there’s a branch within reach of a drowning man it’s a pretty good bet he’ll grab it.

  3. godot10 says:

    Pitkanen, Staios
    Smid/Grebeshkov, Greene
    Souray, Tarnstrom

    8.5 million for the third pairing next year, and for the power play. An unusual construction of a defense.

    It will reduce Stoll’s points for the contract renegotiation next year.

    Could Smid (or Gilbert) be traded for Eric Cole?
    Smid and Jacques for Cole?

  4. Chris! says:

    I think we’d have to get Rutherford famously drunk before he’d trade a guy like Cole for a young unproven D and the pointless wonder.

    LT: I agree, though I’m loathe to. RFA signing would be a big mistake, and there’s probably still some potential for a trade somewhere out there.

    Or hell, let them play — just like last year, except now the defence is stocked and there’s too much youth at forward.

  5. jon says:

    Youth at forward and a stocked defense is not a bad strategy. Obviously it’s less than ideal, but it’s not bad. My reasoning? Youth at forward will mature more quickly than veteran defensemen will deteriorate in their contributions. Overall though, we still have a lot of youth on defense and a decent amount of experience on forward, so I think this move makes the team more balanced and helps to substantially improve the PP. Besides, historically our coaching staff has produced good ES teams and it’s a decent gamble to add players (Souray, Pitkanen) who bring certain assets like PP ability but who could also benefit from the strengths of our staff.

    It’s a lot of money though, and after we sign Pitkanen to a deal around 4.5 we shall be sitting almost exactly at 45 million while still being in need of an offensive LW.

  6. jon says:

    Also, I think at this point it’s optimistic (depending on your perspective I suppose) to think that this is a lottery team. At worst we will finish 12th in the west, at best probably 8-9. No top end talent will be available to us at our draft position unless package our first and Schremp. One can only hope.

  7. Lowetide says:

    jon: Bryn Griffiths and Bob Stauffer were speculating today about a possible deal with SJS for Marleau. They felt one of the Oilers top 2 C’s (Horcoff, Stoll) and a defender might be headed south.

    So even though we think LW is the sore spot doesn’t mean Lowe agrees. How many MacTavish-style players are there on this team now?

  8. Lowetide says:

    jon: We’ll be a lottery team. As it stands now they’re going to have to give 550 at-bats to Nilsson and another rookie/young forward is going to get 400+.

    Plus Pouliot, who we’re assuming is going to make an easy transition into the show. And Reasoner’s health isn’t a sure thing.


  9. ClaytonMagnet says:

    assclown Oiler PP corrector

    pure gold, LT.

    I know that Montreal fans can’t stand his lack of defence, I’ve even seen posts that he’s worse than MAB defensively. Obviously no one in Montreal has seen MAB play… At very least, he’s a saw-off with Bergeron defensively, better offensively, is at least 3 feet taller, and thank god, he’s an Alberta boy. Maybe he’ll stick around for the majority of his contract.

    Anyone else notice how thick Souray is laying it on in regards to how excited he is about coming to EDM? Not that I doubt him, just sounds like he’s campaigning already.

  10. rickibear says:

    Ladies and gentle men we now have our leading goal scorer. Plus I think we have replaced Ryan Smiths goal production. Sheldons goals total for last year was one off Ryan Smiths yearly goal average 27g/yr.

  11. Jeff says:

    How are we going to miss Smith? Him not being on his stomach watching goal after goal go in this season will definitely give the Zamboni driver a lot more surface to flood, aside from that I really could care less about Smith leaving.

    We get some offense from the D and your saying it’s not worth it?

    And Lowe is not going to quit or be fired, so give it a break and look for something that is at least possible to obsess about.

  12. Black Dog says:

    well, gee jeff, Smith played the toughest opposition game after game and held his own

    read a Habs’ blog – Souray played weak opposition and he was still almost -30

    the guy has a beauty shot and he’s a veteran dman so that’s better then a rookie dman

    but he’s all style and no substance

    Smyth at this money would have been a lot better

    and yeah, this team is lottery bound – who’s worse in the west? Coyotes and maybe the Hawks – no way the BJS and Blues finish behind the Oilers – not with Hitchcock and Murray there for a full year

    I think another shoe is about to drop, LT – maybe Horcoff and Smid or another kid D for Marleau – Sharks could use a guy like Horc although they could use a guy like Smith or Staios more, I’d say

  13. kneedeepinit says:

    hey Lowetide

    are you on holidays and letting Matts write your blog?

    we are going to miss smith??

  14. Mr DeBakey says:

    “Him not being on his stomach watching goal after goal go in”

    I call Bullshit on that
    Before the Diaspora [Feb 27]
    Smith had played 867 ES Minutes with Tjarnquist & Hejda
    About two-thirds of his season
    Always against the other team’s best
    GF 36 GA 37 >> -1

    Also first guy out on the League-leading PK unit.

    I agree 110% on
    “assclown Oiler PP corrector”

  15. godot10 says:


    They are going to get another forward before the season starts. They are going to get another forward before the season starts. They are going to get another forward before the season starts…

  16. Black Dog says:

    godot – I seem to remember saying the exact same thing about a Dman last year

  17. Dano says:

    I have to disagree BD. I think this will be a borderline lottery team. In fact I see them probably finishing at the same position as last year or a position higher

    I’d probably add LA to list. LA have made some good moves but they also lost some players too. And goaltending is probably going to suck. Barring any blockbuster moves, I think Phoenix, LA and Chicago will be the three worst teams in the west with Phoenix being my odds on favorite for last overall.

    I would place the Oilers in the next rung up with teams like Boston, Columbus, St. Louis and Washington. I think St. Louis and Washington are marginally the upper end of this group. So it’s probably going to be a “dogfight” (in more ways than one) with Boston and Columbus.

  18. She says:

    “5 Grenades”


    The points made in your last 3 paragraphs were exactly what ran through my mind as I digested the news on the way home today.

  19. matt says:

    I’ve never felt compelled to write on here before but I’m very surprised with this response to this move. It must be examined through the eyes of an economist and the idea of opportunity cost. The concept is that we should evaluate decisions based upon the next best alternative. This concept applies to virtually all decisions in life…In this context the Oiler’s were sitting on around 6-8M to spend before the season. There is NO alternative move better then signing SS. I challenge anyone to find a compelling argument that this was not the best way to spend this money. Oiler fans can’t have it both ways and bitch when we don’t get UFA’s then bitch when we get one. If you think he is MAB you are kidding yourself. His defensive problems are mainly apparent when facing quick wingers on the rush. Fortunately, our main rivals are teams that focus on the cycle down low. In the new NHL the PP can win you an abundance of games. This move now allows Lowe to dangle one of the only assets which anyone outside of Edmonton values. We can get a top 6 flight NHL forward if Lady Smid is in the trade. With Gilber, Chorney, and Petry we have a nice group of your D man in the pipeline. Let’s move Smid or Green for a top six forward. Maybe pick up a Gelena or Johnson and we can compete for the top in the northwest. Oiler fans need to mark this day as the moment when the fortunes of this franchise turned around. We’ve had bad news for a year plus – Finally we have something to get excited about…

  20. Devin says:

    well matt – we’re not just a couple moves away from competing for the division. But you’re right about the trade issue. I cannot think of one reason Greene needs to be here anymore. We have a big, tough, equally useless-at-ES guy signed for 5 years now. Greene is UFA in 3, and possesses no skill potential that isn’t already duplicated on the roster. We have too many bottom-pairing guys as it is. The only defensible reason to keep Greene around was that he was our only physical D-man. Not anymore. If he becomes the next Hatcher or Smith, fine, it won’t happen while he’s under contract with us at a discount.

  21. Lowetide says:

    matt: They could’ve signed Ryan Smyth. That’s one.

    Even now, I’d rather have Danny Markov and Mike Johnson:




  22. Black Dog says:

    matt – hope you’re right

    dano – I think the goaltending is good; I think the D is, well, iffy – maybe a bit better then last year; I think up front there are way too many holes – you drop Smyth and Sykora from the lineup and you’re hoping for too many “ifs”

    - if Hemsky can take that next step
    - if Stoll can pick up where he left off
    - if Horc and Torres and Reasoner can bounce back
    - if Pisani and Moreau can provide some offence
    - if a kid or two or three is ready

    That’s a lot of ifs – we might have a nice bunch of guys who work real hard (which is a fine thing) but I’m not sure how many goals this bunch is going to score

  23. Black Dog says:

    I like that lineup as well LT.

    Its the five frigging years that’s the issue in this Souray deal.

  24. Lowetide says:

    bdhs: The other problem we have now is that there aren’t enough MacT type players. I loosely define them as players who are as effective (or more) without the puck as they are with it. Plus leather, average wood. Pisani.

    So if we make a list:

    1. Pisani
    2. Horcoff

    Anyone else? The Oilers don’t have a lot of guys left who can make a difference and even with Souray and Pitkanen added one gets the feeling we’ll be screaming at the PP in October.

  25. rickibear says:

    I spelled Smyth with an I. shit!
    I have been following him since my PA Raiders season ticket days. It is going to hurt to see him Play against us. Any way back to Souray

    Souray was a good Physical stay at home D man who had the ability to change his role with Montreal. Hopefully MacT & Huddy can help him find a nice balance.

    “Shame on him for having a bad plus minus. Especially when he played with the kind of great two way players MacT likes: Kovalev, Koivu, & Ryder.

  26. rickibear says:


    I am sure you meant to put Stolls name in Horcoffs spot. Perhaps Shawn can have a better defensive year this year.

  27. jon says:

    Geeze guys… I know it’s been a depressing season and offseason in general, but there is absolutely no way this is a lottery team for the upcoming year. I can name 5 teams off the top of my head that will be fighting for last place like their lives depended on it: NYI, Atlanta, Phoenix, Chicago, Columbus. I know Atlanta had a strong finish last season but their div has gotten stronger and they lost a lot of players that matter.

  28. Lowetide says:

    rickibear: No, I consider Horcoff to be a better player than Stoll.

  29. Black Dog says:

    lt – well, we have a whole lot of problems anyway you look at it

    the way I see it is you can play Stoll with Torres and Pisani and you have the makings of a decent two way line

    maybe Moreau, Horcoff and Hemsky and you have another

    but its a real dog’s breakfast anyway you look at it – does Sanderson have anything left? someone said he had 20 plus two seasons ago

    does Reasoner? Can Pouliot and Thoresen do more? Is Nilsson ticketed for top six minutes?

    The more I think about this Souray signing the less I like it. Panic move. I really really hope I’m wrong but a month ago after hockey I was arguing with a couple of my teammates about why signing this guy would be a dummy move

    And then Lowe goes and signs him.

  30. Black Dog says:

    jon – agreed on the Isles and Phoenix but no way Atlanta falls that far – they still have most of that team together

    Columbus with Hitchcock there all year is going to be better.

    Maybe the Hawks but I think they improve as well – their kids just keep getting better.

  31. Dano says:

    BD…They probably won’t be a great defensive bunch but I think the changes in defensive personnel will improve puck movement from the backend. The team last year was so bad at this it’s somewhat surprising that they finished at 17th in GA.

    It’s not a great set of forwards and I don’t think anyone is going to finish in the top 25 of scoring but having a defense that can actually start an offensive rush is a step in the right direction. Souray’s not going to help much in that regard but the PP should get a much needed boost. I think some players will have “bounce back” years. If it’s going to “get done” it will have to be because the team will have qoal scoring spread around.

    However you are right that a lot of things will have to go right.

  32. Mustafa Hirji says:

    LT: I think Stoll is definately a MacT player. And our 3/4 line players (Moreau, Thoreson, Pouliot) probably count. But, in general, I think your point is right: too many non-MacT players.

    Souray for a year or 2, I could live with. With this 5 year deal, I sure hope Huddy can teach him to play D. I’m not optimistic.

    Though, maybe we should use him as a PP point specialist, and play him on Hemsky’s LW the rest of the time. He’s got a good shot . . .

    - Mustafa Hirji

  33. matt says:

    LT -
    you bring up a very important point with regard to the direction of this franchise. It looks like you are in the camp that says we should have paid up and kept Smyth. Would you rather have Smyth OR SS, O’Mera, Nilson, and the 15(wasted). Let’s assume that only one of the kids develops into anything I am very confident is saying the Oilers are better off. SS brings energy back to this team. That’s what is needed – Mike Johnson & DM would fill gaps but essentially not move this team tangibly forward. I’m still in the camp that this summer is not a success…but with an extra D man and a boatload of prospect low has the chance to make a move for a top flight forward.

  34. rickibear says:

    Lowetide: Half Way Thru Writing A response And see BD posted a bang on Group. I Type too Slow. So I will just ask the side question peeked by your response

    A little Off topic: As in one of your posts; when Cogliano Is capable of being a second line center whom goes Horcoff because he will be a Ufa or Stoll.

  35. Nelson88 says:

    I don’t get to see a tonne of Habs games but didn’t Souray play a lot of PK minutes with Komisarek (Greene clone IMO). If so and the habs PK was rated 13th (granted with a legendary PK’er as coach) he has to be a decent addition and replacement for Smith in that role.

    He certainly will help the PP no matter how you slice it.

    He’s tough and sticks up for his teamates which the Oilers are in serious need of.

    I am not thrilled with any 5+ year deals outside of Hemsky but I don’t think this is a bad signing.

    Lowe giving in to a NMC is interesting…

  36. James Mirtle says:

    I’d probably add LA to list. LA have made some good moves but they also lost some players too. And goaltending is probably going to suck. Barring any blockbuster moves, I think Phoenix, LA and Chicago will be the three worst teams in the west with Phoenix being my odds on favorite for last overall.

    Oh, the Coyotes are going to be horrendous. I honestly can’t see anyone they’ll finish ahead of in the West…

    The Kings might be okay: A top four defence with Preissing, Stuart, Blake and Visnovsky isn’t all bad, and LaBarbera could really surprise some people if they mothball Cloutier. There’s enough good young offensive talent there to keep them from the basement (besides, goal scoring wasn’t their problem last season).

    Chicago’s awful again. About three years from now they should be terrific, however. Columbus stinks, too.

    The Oilers are probably looking at 11th in the West, but who knows? Nashville and Vancouver could step back quite a bit.

  37. Black Dog says:

    nelson88 – I read that as well, that Souray is good on the PK

    dano – agreed there as well – last season I saw the Oilers play the Leafs and the best puckmoving Dman that game for the Oilers would have been fifth or sixth best on the Leafs
    now you have Joni, Tarnstrom, Gilbert, Grebeshkov (by accounts) who can move the puck – Smid may be almost in that boat as well and will be helped if he’s playing in the third pair
    Pretty obvious now that a young dman gets moved, considering what Sheldon does and does not do it may be Greene

  38. IceDragoon says:

    Good evening, Lain.

    A wise person once said…

    “You take what the game gives you.”

    Could have been much worse if our GM was more worried about his job than the betterment of his team. And… I would guess that Souray shaking loose was a reasonably comfortable turn of events.

    KLo knows his Dmen… and more importantly… knows what his coaches can get out of them. You can be sure that MacT & co were willing accomplices… and that Huddy’s all set to work his magic. I’d bet that the boys on the ice are feeling a little more strut in their stuff today, too.

    Terms? meh… It’s not my money, and the cap will continue to rise for at least the next couple of years before we see any plateau or dip. We needed another D with years of NHL experience.

    hmmm… looks like the first ever NTC in Oilers history is for 3 years of this contract. Years 4/5 could prove to be as interesting as year 1.

    Still 84 sleeps till opening night ’07-’08.


  39. rickibear says:

    Matt: 15 (Wasted) ??????
    He was injured his last 15 games but played hurt.
    In his 43 healthy games He averaged .79 PPG and .85 PPG in the playoffs. Look and see how many 17 year olds averaged those numbers in the last 20 years in the WHL. Then tell me how many 20 and under Dmen improved there PPG in the playoffs in the last ten years.

    Really Tiny Tiny Group.

  40. Adi says:

    We won’t be a lottery team LT. I think we shall all be pleasantly surprised by this team. I think we’ll have very good years from Torres and Horcoff and we’ll be money on the powerplay. One bottle of fine wine we make the playoffs. :)

  41. William says:

    Are the terms of this contract that bad? I mean, in the later years, his cap hit will be pretty attractive (assuming the wheels don’t fall off) and he should be a pretty easy piece to move (who doesn’t want an offensive defenseman at the right price?)

  42. Lowetide says:

    Louise: Good points. I wonder how much better they’ll have to be on the PP in order to cover up the EV situation we’re about to see. Interesting season ahead, no doubt.

    Adi: I prefer white. :-)

  43. Dennis says:

    if I was writing LT’s blog for the holidays, my title would’ve been “Desperation makes for strange bedfellows.”

    Here’s my problem with this contract. First off, it’s about three years too long and yes I know that just about every contract this year requires one year extra but that’s for useful guys and not guys who can ONLY drive a PP. It’s probably not realistic to think he would come here for just two years, though I was hoping like fuck that this was a one year deal and we could auction him off at the deadline.

    The Northeast isn’t the NW and he played in the second pairing last year and got killed. So what’s gonna happen to him this year in our division? If he plays more than 10 min a night ES, we are fizucked. Well I’m sure we are anyway but we’ll be even moreso if he plays decent min. Put it this way, I’m not fan of Smid but even Laddy’s better at ES than is Souray. I’ve been saying about this guy that he’s a square peg in a round hole and that years ago you could afford to drop huge money on a PP specialist, remember when the Wings signed Whitney for over three mill to play on the 3rd line and the 2nd PP unit, but in the cap world it’s quite the luxary. But I guess I forgot to factor in that he might get paid if he came across a team that couldn’t lure anyone else and Souray became the latest Gil Meche and went solely somewhere for the money and didn’t give a fuck about winning.

    Welcome to Edmonton, Sheldon.

    This deal blows my mind for a number of reasons. You’ve got a guy who nailed HWood tail and who was the man about town in Mtl, I’ve got buds who hung out with him and he’s also a super arsehole, and yet he resigned himself to sign in Edm? That makes no sense. It had to be about the money and nothing else. No big surprise I know, but let’s say SJ offered him a little less money a year, wouldn’t you go there and have the chance to play in the playoffs?

    Overall, I don’t have a problem with this deal as long as it doesn’t lead to something else like a D and Horc being sent out for a forward. I have a suspicion that the EIG and Lowe are gonna want to cut salary and that because of this signing, someone else is out the door in a salary dump. If that happens then Lowe shat the bed again but if he holds onto everyone, maybe this move is just the Oilers increasing payroll for once.

  44. Scarlett says:

    I think the Oil are increasing their payroll for once, but they still need help on the front end. Someone is getting dealt.

  45. RiversQ says:

    Lowe might know his defensemen, but he and MacT know fuckall about running a PP unit. I’m not sure loading up on guys that specialize in using low-percentage scoring opportunities by the hundreds is a panacea for the PP. They need forwards that can convert and create some down low chances.

    Anyway, I don’t mind Souray too much. That Habs team was fricking ridiculous at ES last year and it remains to be seen how much of that was Souray’s fault. However, I recall going through his GF/GA numbers though and he’s full value for the -28. He did not get ripped off with ENGA or SHGA.

    This team is going to miss Ryan Smyth and Jason Smith greatly. If Horcoff gets shipped out for someone like Marleau, then they’re headed for a Coyotes-like bust.

    Rickibear: Smyth will outscore Souray 2:1. Book it.

  46. rickibear says:

    RiversQ: Its Sarcasm! Souray had a career year for goals 26. He has and will average 17g/yr in his offensive mode .

    I know Ryan Smith will score between 35 and 40 goals in “The New NHL.” Which slots him in which goal scoring group.

    118 players scored 20+ goals
    75 scored 25+ goals
    42 scored 30+ goals
    22 scored 35+ goals
    10 scored 40+ goals
    I know were he slots. Their are guys who can fill his Pk role. Just not his penalties drawn

    However Sourays goal scoring on the pp will replace his totals on the PP. Though I agree with you the shots from point is a low % approach, with Souray, teams will have to pressure our point more and it should free up the lower play we went to in the last 15 games of year.

    And like some of the other bloggers have said,”he helps replace some of J. Smith’s: hits, blocks, fighting, toughness, and give aways.” Though I still wonder how other dmen would do with: Kovalev, Koivu, and Ryder as your most common set of forwards. Think Hemsky times three defensively.

  47. rickibear says:

    Oh Yeah! Souray got to experience Jason Smiths last 20 games all Year.

  48. Dennis says:

    But how would stripping the current offense corp really make sense? Unless we have the money to take on the space that would be needed to deal Horc for Richards, anything else is gonna be a downgrade. I mean you or someone else might not appreciate the job that Horc does but if you trade him for a soft min monster, then we’d be cutting off our noses to spite our face as we’d get ABSOLUTELY murdered at ES with Stoll being asked to take on Horc’s role and Pouliot Stoll’s and so on and so forth.

    It’s time to sign Mike Johnson to shore us up at tough min and ES overall and hope like hell that Hemsky-Stoll-Souray-Tarnstrom or Pitkanen- plus whomever the hell else can keep us respectable by owning on the PP. It’s just as well to give up on finding someone to own the soft min, I think. You’d have to trade to get them and you’d weaken your team in the process.

    BTW, I think I’d have Tarnstrom-Souray on the PP and let Pitkanen come out and take the first shift after the PP expires which we know is always an ultra important shift when you play against teams who’s scorers also don’t kill penalties.

  49. IceDragoon says:

    Lowetide said…
    I wonder how much better they’ll have to be on the PP in order to cover up the EV situation we’re about to see. Interesting season ahead, no doubt.

    The Oilers better on the PP????
    LOL… That’s just crazy talk, Lain.

    ‘Read and react’… a strength I saw early in KLo’s playing days. He learned to adapt this skill to the GM playing field. When the path he wants isn’t there, he changes his tack.

    And… when he’s made a choice of action that he later regrets, he doesn’t make the same mistake again. eg: letting Comrie sit & stew – vs – cutting his losses with a quick FCP trade … He’s dammed if he does and vilified if he doesn’t. meh… comes with the job title.

    aside –
    I think there was a lot more to the Smytty fiasco than we’ll ever know. I would think that KLo had to be fuming over Cal’s & Pat’s comments. Shortly thereafter, KLo pretty much demanded a new budget. And… I suspect that the timing of the leaked Katz offer points to the one with the most to gain.

    I’d venture that KLo did not enjoy being told to roll out the barrel and meet Mr. Ben Dover by every GM with a capable Dman last year. So… it doesn’t surprise me that he would stock up the back end if other opportunities were not present. And… he appears to like having a bevy of Dmen. Go figure.

    Souray certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice, but then, he already got Pitkanen. ;-D

    There is still a lot to go down in this offseason… arbs, etc. Just have to hope he doesn’t trade away our picks of the litter.


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