Oilers other summer moves being "delayed" by lack of Sheldon Souray trade

sheldonsouray4.jpgSometimes you have to wonder if perhaps the water in Alberta, Canada is a bit off. While Daryl Sutter has gotten raked over the coals for his signings this summer, even getting made fun of by Michael Bublé, things in Edmonton aren’t going quite so well either. While there’s a host of great youth set to get their NHL careers started there this year, there are a few other issues that have yet to be taken care of by Oilers GM Steve Tambellini.

The team has yet to re-sign restricted free agents Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner and they’ve also been unable to trade rogue defenseman Sheldon Souray. Wouldn’t it just figure that those first two situations would be connected to the third. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson details how the inability to trade Souray has bottle-necked the Oilers plans this summer.

Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said there has been no line drawn in the sand with Souray or his agent Paul Theofanous.

“We’re still trying hard to make a deal … I don’t want to go there yet,” said Tambellini, who hasn’t had a lineup of suitors chasing Souray mainly because he has two years left on his hefty contract, plus there are nagging injury concerns.

Tambellini certainly is not in a position of strength, trying to move a guy who doesn’t want to be here.

“I don’t know if this is a similar situation to Ottawa’s with Heatley … all I know is it’s not the best possible position to be in.”

When situations are being compared, even in the slightest, to what went on with Dany Heatley last summer, that doesn’t bring a lot of inspiration for Oilers fans. Especially after Heatley turned down an opportunity to go to Edmonton. What’s getting in the way with Souray is his contract. His deal comes with a cap hit of $5.4 million the next two seasons, a number that will scare most any team away, especially when it’s attached to a guy who’s battled injuries and wants out of town.

Steve Tambellini realizes he’s up against it when trying to deal him and while there are teams that can take on that salary, whether or not they want to deal with Souray’s injury history and contract is something they’d have to decide.

As for the effect the situation is having on Cogliano and Gagner, Cogliano’s agent Anton Thun is pretty set in his ways.

“At the end of the day, there still needs to be a recognition of what he has done and, also, if the club … and I’m not saying this in a negative way, if they don’t appreciate him for his talents and they believe there are other players more capable, that’s fine, too.

“The world’s a big place, there are 30 teams in this league,” said Thun. “Again, that’s not a threat, just a response to a question.”

If you ever wanted confirmation that this is, indeed, a business that spells it out about as cold as it can get.

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    NCAA standout Foo leaving school, will sign NHL deal this summer

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    Spencer Foo, who racked up a whopping 62 points in 38 games this year for Union College, is forgoing his senior season to achieve his “life long dream of playing in the NHL.”

    Where that dream takes place remains to be seen.

    Foo, 22, won’t be back at Union in the fall, but will complete his spring term at Union and not sign with a pro organization until summer, per the Daily Gazette. The decision comes after a banner three seasons in school, capped off with a junior campaign in which he was nominated for ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and shortlisted for the Hobey Baker.

    Foo has reportedly drawn interest from the Flyers. There have also been rumblings of the Oilers being in the mix — Foo is an Edmonton native — but it appears nearly every team has some level of interest. Consider this, from LA Kings Insider:

    The Kings are among the teams involved in [Foo’s] courtship, and asked where the stiffest competition was coming from, I was told, “about 29 other teams.”

    Foo is an undrafted free agent, so there’s no real rush for him to make a decision. Sounds like NHL teams are more than willing to wait it out.

    Announcing the Hobey Hat Trick: Aston-Reese, Butcher, Vecchione

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    Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese, Denver’s Will Butcher, and Union’s Mike Vecchione are the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.

    Aston-Reese, a 22-year-old forward, had 31 goals and 32 assists in 38 games this season. Undrafted, he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month.

    Butcher, a 22-year-old defenseman, had seven goals and 29 assists in 41 games for the Frozen Four-headed Pioneers. A fifth-round pick of the Avalanche in 2013, Butcher is still unsigned and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 15. It remains to be seen if the Avs will offer him a contract, though it’s been reported they will.

    Vecchione, a 24-year-old forward, had 29 goals and 34 assists in 38 games. Undrafted, he’s expected to sign with an NHL team shortly — possibly the Flyers or Wild.

    Jimmy Vesey, Jack Eichel, and Johnny Gaudreau were the Hobey Baker winners in each of the last three years.

    After 12-game absence, Boychuk back for Isles

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    The New York Islanders, four points back of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and having lost their last two games, will get a huge boost tonight on the blueline.

    Johnny Boychuk, who’s missed the last 12 games with a lower-body injury, will return to the lineup on Thursday when the Isles take on the Flyers in Philadelphia. It’ll mark the first time the veteran defenseman has played since getting hurt back on Mar. 3.

    (Boychuk draws in at the expense of Thomas Hickey, who’ll sit tonight.)

    Needless to say, this is a massive addition for the Isles. Boychuk was averaging close to 21 minutes per night and had 21 points through 59 games before his injury, and led all New York defensemen in shots on goal.

    The Isles are going to be an interesting team to watch down the stretch. It’s tough sledding, with five of their final seven contests being played on the road, though that’s mitigated by the fact they’re playing a bunch of teams outside of the playoff picture (Philly, New Jersey x2, Buffalo and Carolina).

    McAvoy has the talent to improve Bruins right now

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    Charlie McAvoy could be in the Providence Bruins’ lineup as soon as Friday against Albany.

    Providence also plays Saturday and Sunday, so even if it’s not Friday, the 19-year-old defenseman is expected to get his first taste of pro hockey sometime this weekend.

    Of course, the real question is when his Boston Bruins debut may occur.

    “He has the attributes to be able to play NHL games right now, absolutely,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, per the Providence Journal. 

    McAvoy has yet to ink an NHL contract. He’s in Providence on an amateur tryout after making the decision to leave Boston University. If he plays an NHL game this season, the first year of the three-year entry-level contract he’ll sign would be burned.

    Hence, Sweeney’s desire to see McAvoy in the AHL before making any decisions.

    “This gives an opportunity for him, first and foremost, to get a chance to play professional games, which is another level for him. [We’ll] evaluate from there,” said Sweeney.

    It’s certainly possible, given McAvoy’s talent, that he could help the NHL Bruins right now. The bar is essentially Kevan Miller, Boston’s third-pairing defenseman on the right side. (If McAvoy were a left shot, the bar would be slightly lower, with all due respect to John-Michael Liles.)

    The NHL Bruins, who’ve yet to book a playoff spot, have six games left in their regular season. They host Dallas tonight, Florida Saturday, and then they’re in Chicago Sunday.

    Assuming McAvoy stays with Providence all weekend, his first real chance to get into an NHL game would be Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

    Stay tuned.

    Read more: Bruins will leave door ajar for McAvoy