Sometimes 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.