Yesterday, news broke that the Rangers were very interested in
Edmonton Oilers Hershey Bears defenseman Sheldon Souray. Prior to this season, Souray was told to “stay away” from the Oilers training camp and was loaned to the Bears, who are the Washington Capitals AHL affiliate. In his prime, Souray was the prototypical offensive defenseman, capable of scoring 20 goals, while also capable of finishing with a-25 rating.
One of the Rangers biggest needs right now is for a powerplay quarterback, and Souray would be just that. The problem lies with his inability to play defense. However, with the Rangers ability to play defense, some might think that this is a risk worth taking. Nothing against Souray, who is a tremendous teammate and would definitely add grit and size to the blue line, he is not what the Rangers need right now. The main reason for that is his salary.
Souray is a $5.4 million cap hit, which for this season wouldn’t necessarily be an issue. The fact that he is also due $5.4 million next season is the biggest area of contention for me when it comes to this rumor. GM Glen Sather has shown that he is not willing to absorb salary for next season without dumping some salary that is due for next season. Now, if these rumors are true, then Slats obviously knows something we don’t when it comes to the Rangers cap situation next year (perhaps regarding Drury, but that’s pure speculation on my part).
Souray’s $5.4 million cap hit, with Redden hitting the summer cap hit, really hampers the Rangers ability to target key free agents, particularly those of the restricted variety that have been so crucial to the success of the team this season. Hopefully, this is just Slats doing his homework, and just seeing if Souray, who finished with 13 points and an epic -19 rating in 37 games last season, can still compete at the NHL level. This is one of those rumors that you hope is false, but is probably true, and you hope there is an ace in the hole for the Rangers. The trade deadline is a month away, let’s hope the Rangers don’t get crippled for next year while making moves for this year.