February 21, 2011
The tragicomedy that is Sheldon Souray's(notes) hockey career will continue with the AHL's Hershey Bears, as none of the NHL's other 29 teams claimed the former Edmonton Oilers defenseman on re-entry waivers. His contract runs through 2012 with a $5.4 million cap hit; let the summertime buyout talk commence.
He was scratched over the weekend by the Bears, to not further damage the damaged goods. Souray didn't sound optimistic in speaking with the Patriot-News on Saturday:
"I don't really have any thoughts on it," Souray said. "Hopefully, something happens. I haven't heard anything. We'll just see how it works out."
It didn't, despite some reports that there was a claim that may or may not have been based on the fact that the New Jersey Devils keep all their alumni on their website's database, including Souray. (Guess what: They aren't reacquiring Lyle Odelein, either ...)
The New York Rangers were sniffing around Souray, dispatching scouts to watch him in the AHL. Which was bad news for Souray, who at this point in his career is one of those Better In Theory players, whose name has more value than his game (see: Kovalev, Alexei). As one Rangers source told Sportsnet: "You want to like him, but you can't deny what your eyes are seeing."
Souray might have been an answer a few years ago, but he is clearly not the answer anymore. It's sad too, because all Souray had to do was impress, and he was bound for New York as a second chance. So it looks like the Rangers dodged a bullet here, as Souray's $2.7 million cap hit (from re-entry waivers) would have been an issue heading into an off-season with several key players hitting restricted free agency. The Rangers are going to have to look elsewhere for a solution to the powerplay woes. I'm still holding out for Bryan McCabe, depending on asking price of course.
What, no Redden?
Fact is that Souray didn't offer anything in his AHL stint to convince a team to take the plunge; and when you think how many teams desperately need the type of power-play presence Souray is (well, was), it must have been like trying to review a Robin Williams comedy in 2011: Nostalgia can't cloud the dreck.
Check out a good post from the Oilers' perspective by Scott Reynolds on The Copper & Blue, which rightfully takes team management to task for not placing Souray on re-entry waivers earlier this season, which was a tactical and financial bungle.