Heh. Go away for a few days, work some overtime, entertain the inlaws, have a mild case of computer game addiction and... well... that'll teach me.
Lowe signed Souray to $27 million / 5 yr deal today. The Cap hit is $5.4 mill /yr and it breaks down into something like 6.5 / 6.5 / 5.5 / 4.5 / 4.0.
In a series of three posts I will delve into the negative, the obvious and the positive aspects of this. First...
1. Smyth could have been signed for $5.5 mill / 5 yrs. As much as this signing may help redeem Lowe it also serves to hi-lite the biggest managerial screw-up of his entire career. And that is saying something given the return garnered from the Pronger trade.
Smyth > Souray.
2. Staios is the only Oiler defenseman who is an established EV player. For a defense that needed to replace Smith in the worst way the Souray signing only amplifies the team's new inability to ice a team that will be competitive EV.
Souray is borderline Lupul at EV.
3a. If one surmises that his lack of footspeed and mobility will impair his game as he ages then the deal is too long. Something like a 3 year deal at 7.5 / 4.5 / 4.5 makes a lot more sense. Slightly higher Cap hit and more budget dollars the first year but fewer years committed.
3b. If one surmises that his great special teams play doesn't require footspeed and mobility then the deal is too short. Maybe a 6 yr deal at 7.5 / 7.5 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 3.5 / 3.0 makes sense. An extra year and more money the first 2 years but the Cap hit is less (400k) and he is easier to dump in trade.
Priced as he is (after a career year... natch), he cannot fail. A drop in production greater than 10-20% kills his value. There are no 'outs' in the contract as priced.
4a. Souray averages 22+ minutes of playing time a game. Of that ~ 15 minutes are played at EV where we know he is just NOT that good a player. He is, however, awesome on the PP and quite good on the PK. Cutting his EV TOI down to 11-12 minutes a game can only be viewed as a demotion.
4b. We know that Souray played a lot with Rivet and, at least while on the PP, a lot with Markov. Rivet is a reasonable facsimile of a defensive defenseman. All of Andrei Markov's numbers point to him as being the real deal. Very good at both EV and special teams play. Wherefore Souray?
What is good for the team may not be received well by him and genuine question marks exist in regards to: "who drove the play?". GM's, generally, shouldn't sign question marks to big UFA contracts.
5. When a team has several holes to fill, lots of Cap space and a fair (but not overwhelming) amount of budget space with which to play one might expect that the last thing they would do is blow most of it on a single, questionable, choice. The team still needs a quality LW and a d-man who can play defense.
When players like Mike Johnson and Danny Markov are available, and combined they cost LESS than a guy like Souray, while providing more dependable play, I have to consider the gaping holes on the wing a negative.
6. The nice thing about UFA's, especially ones that have been ripening a while, is that they can be signed to short-term deals and are then available for trade at the deadline. Not explicitly noted above - this isn't a tradeable contract.
He is ours now. Yay.
So those points, in general, are the negative aspects to the signing. A questionable contract for a player with some big question marks surrounding his game.
I sure as hell hope I am happier after the 'positive' segment of this series.
Have a great evening everyone.