Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini soon could rid himself of one big headache, Sheldon Souray.
The Columbus Blue Jackets reportedly are considering a trade for the veteran defenceman, whom Tambellini told to stay away from Edmonton's training camp.
In addition to last season's trade request, Souray accused management of pressuring him to come back from off-season shoulder surgery before he was ready to play at the start of the 2007-08 season. Tambellini has called the accusation "demonstrably untrue."
Souray, 34, is said to be training in Los Angeles.
"Whoever gets me is going to be happy," Souray told the Edmonton Journal last week. "And they're going to get a pretty motivated Sheldon Souray."
They're also going to get an oft-injured Souray, who missed 45 games last season with a concussion and broken right hand.
He has never played a full 82-game season and has appeared in fewer than 65 games six times in 11 years.
Souray is entering the fourth season of a five-year contract worth $27 million US with the Oilers.
Tambellini, who wants a blue-liner in return for Souray, could place him on waivers but, under NHL rules, must wait until Saturday, or 12 days before regular-season rosters are due at the league office.
The Blue Jackets have seven defencemen on one-way NHL contracts and could peddle someone like Mike Commodore, a 30-year-old native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
A potential swap also wouldn't disrupt the salary cap situation for either team, considering Souray is due $4.5 million over the final two years of his contract and Commodore set to make $3.8 million, $3.5 million and $3.35 million in the final three years of his deal.
While a trade to Edmonton would represent a homecoming of sorts for Commodore, he told the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that he would prefer to remain a Blue Jacket.
"If I get traded, I get traded," said Commodore, a member of six NHL organizations in 11 years. "I'm having a good time here, and I'm excited about being part of this team."
The Blue Jackets finished 27th among 30 teams last season, with a 32-35-15 record, while the Oilers were last at 27-47-8.