The Sheldon Souray era has come to an end in Edmonton. What started as a great relationship for both sides completely fell apart last season, and it was obvious that both sides suffered irreconcilable differences. Souray has been placed on unconditional waivers, and is set to be bought out. He will then be an unrestricted free agent, and it will be interesting to see if the 35 year old blueliner latches on with another team.
Souray had a slow start to his career, not really breaking out until his sixth year in the season in 2003. Then in 2006, Souray had his career year, setting the record for most power play goals by a defenseman, with 19. Souray then signed a five year, $27 million contract with the Oilers in the following offseason, and has only had one season where he truly earned his pay.
After a disappointing initial year with the Oilers, where injuries limited him to 26 games, Souray had an outstanding 2008 season, where he scored 20 goals and 53 points. He also had a +1 +/- rating, 23 power play points, 98 penalty minutes, and a career high 268 shots on goal. Then came another injury-plagued season in 2009, where Souray was limited to 37 games. This was apparently the last straw for the Oilers management, who questioned his toughness, dedication, and leadership.
Souray was then banned from all Oilers facilities during the last offseason, and was even loaned to the Washington Capitals’ AHL affiliate to ensure that he had no connection to the Oilers organization or any of their prospects. He was placed on waivers during the season, and cleared every time. There was even talks amongst some scouts that Souray could no longer play at the NHL level. We will soon see if any franchise is willing to take a chance on the veteran playoff specialist.