A look through the history books shows Sheldon Souray’s 08-09 season was exceptional. His 12 powerplay goals were the most by an Oiler defender since Paul Coffey (he holds the Oiler record with 14) and his 23 goals overall is the highest total since Coffey’s historic 48-goal season in 1985-86.
That’s some hallowed ground.
Souray’s shot from the point is as sure a thing as there is offensively on this roster. If it’s on the net there’s every chance the puck will go in unless it hits the goaltender. It’s a missile.
- Boxcars: 81gp, 23-30-53 98pims
- Shots: 268
- Plus Minus: +1
- Corsi: -1.3
- 5×5/60: 1.18
- 5×4/60: 2.95
- GF/GA ON: 53-51
- Quality of competition: tougest available
- Quality of pairing: 2nd level
- 09-10 cap hit (capgeek): 5.4M
- What do these numbers tell us? His shot from the point is money. Money, money, money. No one in the wild, wild west was better than Souray in terms of goals scored and there’s no reason to believe he’ll fall off suddenly if he can remain healthy. Sheldon Souray is an exceptional offensive weapon. The numbers also show he played tough opposition with less than top drawer help and came out pretty much even plus-minus and Corsi. Although I maintain Visnovsky is the club’s best defender because of a wider range of skills, one could argue for Souray (he is a more physical player and can load the cannon). His 5×5 and 5×4 numbers are not team-bests but as with Visnovsky we should give credit where due and allow that in terms of established levels of ability the veterans have the edge at this time.
- How could these numbers be better? I have no earthly idea. Luck maybe? You’d have to be an idiot to be disappointed with these numbers. Maybe he could take fewer penalties but that’s really nitpicking.
- What about injury? Long list over the years. Wrists, feet, knees, shoulders. Still, he has played complete seasons in three of the last four years and wouldn’t appear to be a poorer bet than Visnovsky save for the fact that he does play a more physical style.
- What about a trade? I believe his no-trade now has limited possibilities in terms of trade destinations and the Oilers will move someone in the next 12 months (top heavy on the blue and I imagine the team will sign Grebeshkov long term next summer when one of the big three is gone). If the Oilers are out of it at the deadline (and we should be prepared for a season-in-the-ditch if things break wrong) Souray might be a huge trade chip.
- Will Quinn play him against tough opposition? MacT did and so will Quinn. He’s big, bruising, can punish people and his weaknesses (he’s not a terrific defender on the opposition rush due to mobility and he’s not an expert passer) are covered off several times with the other D. So he could reasonably be paired with at least three defenders (Vis, Grebeshkov, Gilbert) and get results.
- How will Quinn play him? As I mentioned in the Lubo post, there’s a chance they go freak show on the PP and line the vets up for cannonating drives from the point to open up the Hemsky freeway down low. It could happen.
- How Important is Souray to this team? We’re about to find out. If Souray doesn’t get traded and the Oilers have a big season then I think he’ll be here for a long time. Souray is already approaching icon-status in our town and a year in which he helps the club into the second season would stamp his future here.
Predictions past 2008-09
- Predicted: 51gp, 10-17-27 (.529 per game)
- Actual: 81gp, 23-30-53 (.654 per game)
Prediction for 2009-10: 66gp, 17-25-42 (.636 per game)