So in the past two weeks, we’ve had big free agent signing Nikolai Khabibulin sentenced to 30 days in prison, expensive senior advisor Pat Quinn acknowledge that he doesn’t really know what he’s going to do this year and now, with $9MM left on his contract, Sheldon Souray has been told to stay away from training camp. I don’t even want to know what we’re going to find out about Dustin Penner. It’s hard to believe that they could have obtained such bad results when they tried but then, when you continuously make stupid bets, sometimes you’re going to have a really bad run.
I would assume that the end game here involves sending Souray to the minors and then recalling him as soon as possible. Nobody was interested in taking him for free, which means that his contract has negative value. That makes him available to claiming teams at $2.25MM in cash and a $2.7MM cap hit, with the Oilers carrying the same on their cap (and writing a cheque for the same amount, too). If they don’t want him on the farm – and I would guess that they don’t – then they’re better off recalling him ASAP, before teams start worrying about the fact that he hasn’t played.
If the consensus in the NHL is that his value is below $2.25MM annually, well, god help the Oilers. My guess is that someone will snap him up at that price but this is still a pretty expensive debacle for the Oilers. Barring a buyout next summer, I don’t really see this having any impact when the Oilers are competitive again, so it’s just Daryl Katz’ money being pissed away, but it emphasizes what a stupid signing this was for the most ineptly run team in the NHL and, presumably, makes them even less viable in Edmonton going forward now that they’re going to take a significant hit on Souray.
Update: According to the Oilers twitter feed, Tambellini told Souray this last week. According to Souray, his agent was informed today. Hilarious, given that Souray’s big complaint was that Tambo is a lousy communicator. It’s hard to imagine a more shambolic franchise.