Oilers place Sheldon Souray on re-entry waivers, will someone accept the discount?

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When the Edmonton Oilers told Sheldon Souray not to show up for training camp, the consensus was that they made the hard-shooting yet prohibitively expensive defenseman that much tougher to trade. In the process, they also forced themselves to pay him $4.5 million this season to play for another team’s AHL affiliate after placing him on waivers.

The Oilers are trying to reduce his cost by putting him on re-entry waivers this weekend. Jim Matheson reports that Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said he wouldn’t put Souray on re-entry waivers unless another team said they would scoop him up, leading to speculation that he might be claimed by the Dallas Stars or New York Rangers.

If those two teams or any other club picks up Souray, they will need to pay half of his remaining salary this season (about $500K) along with half of his $4.25 million salary in 2011-12. The toughest part might be the cap hit: both the Oilers and the team that claim him will incur a $2.7 million cap hit for next season and a pro-rated cap hit for the remainder of 2010-11 as part of the re-entry process.

It’s not the ideal scenario for Souray or the Oilers, but at least the team can drop the facade that a talented (if flawed) defenseman really deserves to play in the minors even as the pro team flounders in last place yet again.

The Stars, Rangers or whatever other team(s) might be interested have 48 hours to make a claim, so we’ll keep you updated regarding this situation during the weekend.