Clock starts ticking on Oilers veterans

Ethan Moreau
is on the clock, starting Tuesday. It may be the same story with Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson .

National Hockey League teams have a two-week window from June 15-30 to buy out players, but the Edmonton Oilers aren’t going to rush into anything.

They will try to trade their captain first, just as they tried at the deadline in early March. A contending team may be interested in Moreau for a draft pick.

O’Sullivan and Nilsson , while 10 years younger, will almost surely be shopped first, as well, off their lukewarm stats last season, and with one year left on contracts that pay them $2.9 million and $2 million, respectively.

If trades can’t be worked out, Moreau would be bought out at two-thirds because he’s over 26; the other two at one-third.

“We won’t make decisions on these things until we see what happens at the draft,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.


Tambellini will try to move defenceman Sheldon Souray in Los Angeles the week of the draft, too. The San Jose Sharks are looking for a defenceman with captain Rob Blake ($3.5-million salary) retiring.

Souray’s salary-cap hit is $5.4 million for each of the next two seasons, but Tambellini said his actual salary is $4.5 million, which makes him more attractive fiscally.

If the Oilers can’t deal him this summer, they will have to see if Souray comes to training camp. Souray wants to move on after three years in Edmonton, and so do the Oilers, although they have nobody in the wings who can shoot like, or score, like Souray .

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