As Sheldon Souray prepares to open this season toiling with the American League’s Hershey Bears, speculation continues about when he’ll return to the NHL.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman recently called on Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini to “end this dance” with Souray and place the blueliner on re-entry waivers, suggesting there would be interested teams (like Columbus or the New York Rangers) willing to pick up the defenseman for only half of his $5.4-million per season cap hit.
Tambellini would love to be rid of Souray once and for all – even if it means being on the hook for half his salary – but it’s not going to be easy.
Half of Souray’s cap hit – $2.7 million per season for the next two years – still wouldn’t be absorbed easily by most teams this early in the season.
Nearly half the league’s 30 teams have less than $1.3 million in available cap space, while at least a half-dozen with payrolls less than $50 million are under strict self-imposed caps, which limits the number of clubs that can afford to put in a claim for Souray.
It has been suggested the GMs who are most likely to be interested in acquiring Souray would prefer to see him play a few games with Hershey first to determine if he’s in game shape before letting Tambellini know of their willingness to put in a claim for the hard-shooting defenseman.
One rumor making the rounds suggested the Washington Capitals are amongst those interested, since the Hershey Bears are their affiliate. So far there’s been no indication of this from Capitals management and it’s unlikely they’ll make that move.
The Caps are near the bottom of the order for waiver claims to start this season and if Souray hits re-entry waivers he could be claimed by another club long before Washington even gets a chance to grab him.
The Ottawa Senators’ woeful start might have some of their fans panicking, but not GM Bryan Murray. He recently told the Ottawa Citizen he understood the importance of a good start for his team, but believes the shaky performance of his roster is due to his players trying to do too much.
It’s far too early for Murray to consider making any significant roster shakeups via trades, but he could demote one or two players who aren’t performing up to expectations, such as young defenseman Erik Karlsson, whose poor performance in the Senators’ opening games now has him playing on the third defense pairing.
Don’t expect any significant free agent signings either. As per Capgeek.com, the Senators only have about $1.28 million in available cap space, which Murray would prefer to use for possible call-ups later in the season.
Murray also doesn’t have much to offer up at this point via trade other than his younger players, which he’d prefer to retain.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.