The Edmonton Oilers have spent months trying to find takers for defenseman Sheldon Souray via the trade market, but it appears they will have to consider alternative means of removing him from their roster.
On Thursday, the Oilers placed Souray on waivers, but due to his expensive contract ($5.4 million per season) he’ll probably go unclaimed as he did back in July when the club first put him up for grabs.
Once Souray clears, however, the Oilers could demote him to their minor league affiliate and then place him on re-entry waivers. This means a team claiming him would only have to pick up half of his remaining contract, which expires at the end of 2011-12, with the Oilers on the hook for the other half.
Earlier this month it was rumored the Columbus Blue Jackets were interested in acquiring Souray, but the Columbus Dispatch reports there’s been no talk between the Oilers and Blue Jackets since the week before the start of training camp. While nothing appears imminent the fact they have talked suggests nothing is off the table.
Clubs that might have interest in claiming Souray off re-entry waivers include the Rangers and Islanders.
While it remains possible for the Oilers to trade Souray, it’s evident by placing him on waivers they haven’t found any interested trade partners. Re-entry waivers appear, at this point, the best means to move him.
A HELLUVA CAP PROBLEM
The New Jersey Devils could resort to waivers and demotions rather than trades to become salary cap compliant.
The Devils, currently sitting nearly $3 million above the $59.4 million salary cap, need to get under the cap before their season opener next week against the Dallas Stars.
A recent report in the New York Post suggests center Dainius Zubrus and defenseman Bryce Salvador are the prime trade candidates. Since they lack no-movement clauses, they could instead end up being placed on waivers and demoted to their American League affiliate if unclaimed.
It was rumored the Colorado Avalanche had interest in Devils right winger and team captain Jamie Langenbrunner, but Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reported “insiders” told him Devils GM Lou Lamoriello would prefer to retain Langenbrunner.
Salvador, meanwhile, recently received inner ear testing after he was injured in a pre-season game.
It turns out he has a concussion and will be out indefinitely. The team hasn’t discussed yet whether or not he will be placed on the LTI, but if he is their salary cap issues will be greatly helped.
According to the N.Y. Post, another possibility for Jersey is to start the season with a roster of only 20 or 21 players, rather than the maximum of 23, which would lessen their cap hit.
The Devils deadline to become cap compliant is Oct. 6.
B’S ON THE CONTRACT SWARM
Good news for Bruins fans as the Boston Herald recently reported contract talks between management and the agents for defenseman Zdeno Chara and center Patrice Bergeron are progressing well, to the point where one or both might be re-signed prior to the team’s season opener next week.
Chara and Bergeron are eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer and there’s speculation both will accept less money for longer term contracts with Boston. Should both re-sign, their new deals would take effect next season.
Right winger Michael Ryder’s future with the club, however, remains uncertain.
Team owner Jeremy Jacobs recently suggested Ryder could end up demoted to the minors at some point this season to clear salary cap space. Jacobs said he hoped it wouldn’t come to that, adding it was up to GM Peter Chiarelli to make the decision.
The Bruins currently sit just more than $3 million above the salary cap for the upcoming season, but with centers Marco Sturm ($3.5 million) and Marc Savard ($4 million) expected to begin the season on LTI, it buys Chiarelli – and Ryder – some time.
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.