Souray Done

News today that Sheldon Souray is gone for the season. My views on Souray’s signing remain the same as the day it happened, so I’m not going to get into further detail here.

What I think we can say one season into the contract is that Sheldon Souray is not a good match for a Craig MacTavish team. Having Souray on a team that is challenged and without ideas on the powerplay means his one elite level skill is less valuable. We all saw the mighty power of the guy’s shot, but he was unable to gun it as often in Edmonton because the Oilers had few options aside from him. Unlike Montreal (who have their PP humming along again) who can utilize the point shot because there are other attractive options available should the opposition cheat, the Oilers powerplay is famous for 5 guys in the offensive zone not moving their feet having only one or two favorite options for the other team to defend.

Souray is not a “MacT type player.” I define said player as someone who in baseball terms can “pick it” even if you lose a little at the plate. If a MacT is going to err, it should be on defense. A list of kids the procurement department gave the coach since 2000 is a really good tell in this regard. Comrie=bad, Horcoff=good. Pisani=good, Schremp=bad. It’s simplistic and I’m not saying it’s entirely black and white but watching MacTavish quotes for a tell in this regard is a key to seeing who is going to do well with the coach. Here’s a guy who once said “We haven’t had that in a while, a player from Europe come in here and be as polished and complete and effective as he’s been” about undrafted Patrick Thoresen while turning his back on more than a few first rounders.

I believe at some point after the lockout, the Oilers decided they needed to abandon the quality 5×5 outscoring team that died on the powerplay and add some offense any way they could. Adding Pronger was part of that, Samsanov too. Last season it was a combination of players including Joffrey Lupul and this season one of the big pickups was Sheldon Souray.

I don’t think it works very well. Sheldon Souray isn’t as one dimensional as Joffrey Lupul but he is paid a lot for what he can do on the powerplay and he has not been a 5×5 monster recently. Should we then expect a better result from Souray next season?

Probably not. It’s a bad marriage. Sheldon Souray’s impact is as a flame thrower from the blueline on a fast-moving powerplay that has enough misdirection down low to make cheating for the blueline slapshot a nervous bet.

The Edmonton Oilers don’t play that game under Craig MacTavish. Never have, never will. Edmonton is the place where powerplays go to die.

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29 Responses to "Souray Done"

  1. jon k says:

    Edmonton’s PP has been decent as of late, going from 29th to 25th in the space of 2 or 3 weeks. I could speculate as to why, but I’ll leave that to more mathematically inclined individuals to reveal.

  2. Lowetide says:

    jon k: If this PP had been better from the start of the season, say 15th overall, how many points do you think that would represent?

  3. CrazyCoach says:

    I am beginning to wonder about who or what is training the Oilers these days, and why the rash of shoulder injuries? Maybe they need to re-evaluate their trainers or training methods.

    I know the Yankees fired their conditioning coach this past year after a flurry of hamstring injuries.

  4. jon k says:

    I didn’t mean my mathematics comment in a facetious manner. I do believe that Tyler, Dennis, or Vic might be able to look at the PP rates and maybe determine if the addition or subtraction of certain players might account for the difference in the PP as of late.

    Just generally in regards to your question though…

    PP Rank / PP %
    15th = 18.1
    25th = 15.5
    Edmonton PP Opps 245
    25th PPG = 38
    15th PPG
    18.1 x 245 = 44.345

    PP Rank GD
    25th GD -17
    15th GD -12.655

    So just looking at it generally, a PP ranking 15th overall for most of the reason really wouldn’t have made much of a difference… Maybe 1-2 points difference in the standings? Not sure what the conversation rate for GD to winning percentage is generally.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    Why the linkage between Souray and Smyth Dennis? Trading Smyth was defensible if you thought he would break down and not earn his contract (correct this year – who knows about next year – but it will get harder for him to cover the bet as years go by on this deal). Adding Souray is indefensible for the same reason (he’s broken down – no surprise – and is unlikely to earn his contract). I honestly can’t see too many reasonable people thinking that Smyth’s deal was too risky and Souray’s wasn’t.

    Only the GM knows what the hell was up with these completely contradictory moves – but that’s been Lowe’s MO for 2 years now – one great big walking contradiction. What does the guy do every night – flip a coin to decide whether the strategy is “win now” or “win later” in the morning? Seems more like “win never” with this guy in control.

  6. Dennis says:

    Asia: I don’t see a lot of reason when I see people defending Lowe.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I think both the Smyth deal and Souray signing were roundly booed on the blogosphere, no?

  8. Dennis says:

    Not really, no. I was surprised that so many people supported the Smyth trade and the decision not to pay him.

    I was absolutely sickened that anyone at all supported Souray. It made me want to set up a foundation to ensure that people in Alberta could afford RDS so that they could watch games other than the Oilers.

  9. PunjabiOil says:

    What’s Souray’s PP/60 this year?

  10. Lowetide says:

    Well I think people (probably Lowe too) got sucked in by those monster PP numbers. I remember the Cleveland Indians were slow and had no power one year so they went to the winter meetings and traded for Bobby Bonds who had both.

    Problem? They were slow and had no power everywhere but leadoff (Bobby Bonds batted leadoff iirc).

  11. Andrew says:

    Roloson to Ottawa for Vermette will happen next week. You heard it here first.

  12. Lowetide says:

    1.72 5-on-4 (source: Desjardins).

  13. Asiaoil says:

    Dennis – yeah most of the Lowe defenders engage in knee-jerk stuff – but the GM skill bar is set pretty low int he NHL so there are worse. But Lowe has been a total mystery to me for some time now.

    Some moves are actually pretty well thought out like Garon and most things related to the dmen. But starting with the Pronger trade and extending all the way through last summer he seemed to just lose it and do stuff without any reason or forethought (like most of the UFA we chased last summer).

    …and don’t even get me started on his complete inability to fill in-season team needs.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Asia: Great point about the in-season management. Last season’s inability to address D was a dirty rotten shame.

  15. PDO says:


    If the Oilers pulled that off, I’ll be pretty close to crying tears of joy. Not only would we lose the Roloson contract, but we’d also pick up an honest-to-goodness NHL player? That’d be a coup.

  16. Dennis says:

    Some things:

    - The winning pct of any NHL team has to be high whenever they get a goal from their fourth line. When they get two from that unit, it has to be close to pristine. That line was gritty and were desperate and it was great fun to watch

    - With about two min left in the game, Nilsson sized up Rolston to the right of Garon and actually knocked him off the puck. I like seeing guys go out of their element like that.

    - Couple of things I saw from Gagner. I loved the way he tried to dangle Carney in the third; that showed confidence. Later on him and 83 came down on a rush and Hill dumped 83 and Gagner went over and gave him a dart for it.

  17. Bruce says:

    Expensive free agent defined:

    Sheldon Souray
    2007-08 salary = $6.25 MM
    = $240,384.61 per game played
    = $2,083,333.33 per goal
    = $625,000. per point
    = $3,125,000. per PPG
    = $88,028.17 per shot


    There’s now $11.25 MM in cap hit on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Whether you agree that each of those three guys is worth their salary, collectively that’s quite a kick in the junk.

  18. RiversQ says:

    I noticed both of those things too Dennis. That was good to see from Nilsson and Gagner. I guess Moreau probably had a chat with them as has been insinuated on the broadcasts.

    Must be Moreau’s gregariousness that we hear about all the time that allowed the young kids to relate to him.

    That’s why he’s wearing the C.

    That and the noodle shoulder disease he’s spreading around the team.

  19. Dennis says:

    Given that the contract was front-loaded, I think we can come to one conclusion: Shoulder Souray hates the EIG;)

  20. Mr DeBakey says:

    and extending all the way through last summer he seemed to just lose it and do stuff without any reason


    Last summer was about one thing
    Goals For

    From Nylander to Kariya to Souray to Vanek to Penner to Training Camp

    Training camp is where the two guys with the best Ga from last season, Pouliot & Thoreson, showed up to discover their jobs were gone.

    They were desperate.

    Oh Yeah
    puck moving defense faeries too

  21. Bill Needle says:

    Maybe Souray’s shoulder won’t be fixable and the Oilers can pull a Lamoriello and dump his contract.

  22. Ribs says:

    Geez, what’s with the lynch mob on Souray?

    The guy is legitimately injured! Give him a break!

    How he helps the power play is entirely up to him and the non-existent PP coach. The 110:55 minutes of PP time he’s seen so far makes it hard to judge how much of an impact he’s going to make (Cogliano with 112:18 by the way).

  23. Oilman says:

    “As for the rest of the Souray news, looks good on all the guys that chortled when Smyth went down. It turns out that 94 has a chance to play twice as many games this year as will Shoulder Souray.

    Looks good on Lowe too. I think he has to be beaten about the head with his mistakes and this one’s right up there.”

    I don’t know how you can make this statement and then be offended by being called a Lowe Lyncher?

  24. doritogrande says:

    Bill N,

    Good call on the Alex Mogilny clause. I don’t see it being a huge problem for Souray to come back and be a serviceable Top-4 option next year, but it’s something to think about when we’re in year 4 of the contract if he goes down again.

  25. Dennis says:

    Oilman: Seems like you’re back to being my shadow critic and boy how I missed you:)

    But seriously folk:) if Lowe was leading this team anywhere I’d be damn happy about it. Staples defined the Lowe-lyncher who’s happier to see Lowe fail then he is to see the Oilers win.

    And that’s far from the case with me. I just want to see them win and I don’t care who’s leading such a successful campaign.

    BTW, regarding Shoulder’s long term prognosis, I’d love it if he turned into a Krupp 2 free agent;)

  26. Oilman says:

    Dennis, you just like to call everyone on everything but go unchallenged yourself. I can’t have that:o)

  27. Dennis says:

    A lot of people need to be called on stuff:)

    Not me though:D

  28. Oilman says:

    Don’t get me started

  29. Dennis says:

    Paula Poundstone?

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