Sheldon Souray was the bookend to Chris Pronger in so many ways. Both big defenders arrived in Edmonton with big new contracts and much fanfare, and both ended their Oiler careers with trade requests. Chris Pronger was superior to Sheldon Souray in all ways but one: Sheldon Souray went public and laid it out there for all to see. No one could claim the Edmonton Oilers were a family bonded forever after Souray’s comments. The arrogance that was rife took a (hopefully) fatal blow and the long journey to being an organization built on sound management and innovative ideas began again. There is no return for the Oilers. If the current bunch can’t get it done the owner will have to bring in a new group and eventually Katz will figure it out. The Oilers need to look at their template and perhaps realize it was never built on a solid foundation, but rather luck, a few exceptional players and a fanbase with the loyalty of a child.
And in that one very important way, Sheldon Souray has a place in Edmonton Oilers history.
- Boxcars: 37gp, 4-9-13
- Shots: 113
- Plus Minus: -19
- Corsi (Rel): 8.3 (1st among D)
- GF/GA ON: 21-35
- 5×5/60: 0.89 (2nd among D’s)
- 5×4/60: 2.08 (2nd among D’s)
- Quality of Competition: 2nd toughest among D’s
- Quality of Teammates: 3rd best among D’s
- Offensive Zone Start FO %: 52.2% (easiest among D’s)
- Cap Hit: $5,400,000
- What do these numbers tell us? When you hire a defenseman to blast bullets from the point on the PP, make sure he can stay healthy. Because if he gets hurt a lot you’re left with a $5.4M one-dimensional albatross that might be impossible to trade (have we heard Sather’s fate yet?). That contract is a wearisome burden.
- How could these numbers be better? Health. Sheldon Souray wasn’t able to stay healthy during his time in Edmonton. Call it bad luck or call it bad bet, makes no nevermind.
- Will they trade him? They have to and yet it may not be possible. Souray is an extremely risky 5.4M contract, among the worst in the NHL. The Oilers are going to have to take on a problem contract of their own to get him out of town, plus give up something extra for the opportunity. The Oilers since 2006 summer offer sober warning to those who spend cap money like a drunken sailor.
- Has he really been injured a lot? Yes. Yes he has. Wrists, feet, knees, shoulders. Playing NHL defense is a pretty tough thing to do and he’s been at it awhile.
- How much damage did he do with those comments? He did every Oiler fan a favor. The line “its not a players thing. It’s not a fans thing or a city thing. It’s a management thing” should ring in your ears until this team does 12 smart things in a row. Better pack a lunch, it’s going to take awhile.
- How important is Souray to the organization? He’s a pivotal player in Oilers history (unless Oiler fans are content with finishing out of the playoffs forever) because there’s just no way to go back again. Bringing Souray, Moreau and any number of veterans back again for next season is impossible because its out there now. The team may even trade Hemsky and Horcoff just to cut the ties completely. I think the organization itself would like to back over him with their magic Zamboni.
- 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.18
- 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 0.89
- 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 2.95
- 09-10 5×4 per 60m: 2.08
Predictions Past 2009-10: 66gp, 17-25-42 (.636)
Performance in 2009-10: 37gp, 4-9-13 (.351)