The Edmonton Oilers loaned disgruntled defenseman Sheldon Souray to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.
After failing to trade Souray or get another team to claim him on waivers, general manager Steve Tambellini sent the 32-year-old defenseman to Hershey, the Washington Capitals’ top farm club, instead of the Oilers’ affiliate in Oklahoma City. Souray has two seasons remaining on his contract at $4.5 million a year – a deal that works out to a $5.4 million a year salary cap hit if he had remained in the NHL.
Last month, Tambellini ordered Souray to stay away from training camp.
”We think it’s best probably for Sheldon not to put him in a spot,” Tambellini said about the decision to loan Souray to Hershey. ”We didn’t want it to be an uncomfortable position. This is best for the player and Oak City. ”He’s going to a very competitive team. They like the opportunity of having him there – at this point.”
If the Oilers call up Souray, he would automatically go through waivers a third time, though this time a team could pick him up at half the salary. The Oilers would have to pick up the other half.
”I’ll have to wait until some team contacts me and expresses some interest,” Tambellini said. ”At this point I don’t have that. Sheldon wants to play in the National Hockey League, and I’m sure he’ll get back there.”