The Ducks have won 4 in a row, and in response, the OC Register has released this poll. The Register's optimism aside, if Anaheim is going to jump over the 5 teams standing between them and a playoff spot, then they are going to need some help and a much longer string of victories.
To weave that string, the Ducks could certainly use a boost on the man advantage. Corey Perry's power play goal was the team's first in its current win streak, and the only one in their past 5 games. The Hockey News is reporting that Sheldon Souray has agreed to waive his no trade clause, and that since his family is based in California, a deal to the Golden State might be the most enticing for him. Arthur, I've been asking for blueline help all year, should the Ducks get interested in acquiring Souray?
This is one of those moments that I wish we'd been blogging for longer than 10 months. If we had been, then I could point to a summer of 2007 entry where I demanded we acquire Souray, as well as its inevitable follow-up, decrying the sub sequent acquisition of Schneider and Bertuzzi. But, alas, I have to rely on you and your memory. So confirm for our readers, my 'we must get him' free agents for the past three years have been Souray, Streit and Koivu respectively, non?
I've known about your love of Souray for a while, and yes, you did say that he should be the D man we get to help with the loss of Niedermayer in 2007.
Thank you for humoring me. So, then, you know my answer to this question is, yes, we should.
This may not be the contract I would have proposed we offer him three years ago, but it's a great contract for the front office to acquire at the deadline. His payroll becomes 4.5M next year, though the cap hit stays at 5.4M. For a lot of teams, that's a problem, but Anaheim has budget issues not cap issues. This is the kind of contract that allows us to spend to the cap limit while still staying at or under budget. It also becomes a contract that's easy to move to a team looking to benefit from another team's front-loaded goodwill.
As for his skills on the ice, I know it was a tough injury for him this year, and you don't want to be tied to any guy with head problems, even with the new Messier chapeau hitting the market. But Daniel, you've been lamenting two things this year: the loss of Pronger's snowplow in front of the net and the pending loss of Niedermayer's offense. Souray is a mean mix of the two: a leader and vicious defender in front of the net and a cannon from hell at the point.
Is he a genius defender? No, but the Ducks have shown that they can get smart defensive value from a 500K player willing to play the system in Brookbank, and they will have cheap blueline greenhorns in the near future. As far as gamechangers go, my opinion remains unaffected by his injury and it's made only more emphatic by his contract price next year: We must get him!
I'm sure it's much more fun for readers when we disagree, but I mostly asked this question because I was sure we'd be of one mind. It's hard to find a deal that stands up and screams that it's waiting for you to just come along and make it happen. This is that kind of deal. Souray is exactly the player Anaheim needs right now. He's a guy who can quarterback that top PP unit while Scotty wanders and stresses out every penalty killer on the ice. You have to respect his shot, and that creates more space for the other guys in the play. With the skaters we have on that unit, his added presence would be a godsend.
I won't reiterate the positives about his contract, but I will say that swinging this deal might be a little tough. I know the Ducks have a little bit of wiggle room, but the Oiler s aren't going to give this one up without a decent prospect and a high draft pick. It might even be one of our first rounders. Still, Wisniewski might be an interesting acquisition for them, and they might be willing to pay to keep him in the long term.
Souray is tenacious and that shot is just plain deadly. As the Ducks find consistent defensive play from the likes of Eminger and Brookbank, Wisniewski's mistakes become more glaring and not worth his salary and currently limited offensive output. This deal needs to be made as soon as possible. Who knows, it might make Murray look smart.