Busy day for the Edmonton Oilers
ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Oilers Sheldon Souray at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on October 3, 2009. (JORDAN VERLAGE/QMI Agency)
It’s been an eventful and somewhat crazy day for the Edmonton Oilers.
They signed defenceman Ladislav Smid to a two-year contract, put blacklisted defenceman Sheldon Souray on waivers for the purpose of buying him out and found out that the LA Kings are crying foul over their returns in the Ryan Smyth deal.
Reports from LA say centre Colin Fraser, who went to the Kings with a seventh round draft pick after the Gilbert Brule deal fell apart because of health issues, is also damaged goods and Kings GM Dean Lombardi isn’t happy about it.
Fraser, who broke his foot late last season, is said to still have a crack or cyst that requires surgery, and that he will then be out four months.
He’s as much in the dark as everyone else about his situation.
“I don’t really know what’s going on,” said Fraser, adding he’ll have to see a foot and ankle specialist. “Right now I don’t have all the facts.”
He pretty sure he’s still LA property, though.
“As far as I know,” he said. “Till I hear differently, I’m a King.”
The Kings and Oilers were close to swinging a deal for Brule at the draft in Minnesota until Lombardi expressed concerns that Brule, who missed 41 games with various maladies, wouldn’t pass an LA medical.
With Souray, the Oilers are poised to close the book on a feel-good story that turned ugly in a hurry.
Souray began his tenure in Edmonton four years ago amid great fanfare. With big name players leaving town on every flight and Edmonton’s reputation taking a public relations hit, the Oilers held the big defenceman up as a trophy signing. They viewed the five year, $27 million salary as a worthwhile overpayment,
At his best, Souray lived up to the deal. He was a physical presence on the ice and a charismatic, well-liked player by his teammates. He had 53 points in 81 games in his second season, but that was book-ended by hand, shoulder and concussion injuries which turned him into a part-time guy. He had 10 points in 26 games his first year and 13 in 37 his third.
He also got tired of the losing and wanted a trade, and tried to force management’s hand at the end of the year by carving them publicly.
When they still couldn’t trade him, Oilers management banishined him to Washington’s AHL team for the entire fourth year of the deal.
Now, with one year left, they can buy him out at two-thirds of his salary.
Smid, meanwhile, is locked up for two more years at $2.25 million. The 25-year-old blue-collar defenceman was a restricted free agent.