The Ducks have signed defenseman Sheldon Souray to a three-year contract through the 2014-15 NHL season. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.
Souray, 35 (7/13/76), appeared in 64 games for Dallas last season, scoring 6-15=21 points with a +11 rating and 73 penalty minutes (PIM). Souray ranked tied for first among team defensemen in plus/minus, second in goals, fourth in scoring and assists, and first in PIM. He scored his 100th career NHL goal on Nov. 4, 2011 vs. Colorado and appeared in his 700th career NHL game on Feb. 26, 2012 vs. Vancouver.
In 714 career NHL games, with New Jersey, Montreal, Edmonton and Dallas, Souray has collected 102-181=283 points with 1,093 PIM. A three-time NHL All-Star (2004, 2007, 2009), Souray has also appeared in 34 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with New Jersey and Montreal, recording 3-7=10 points with 65 PIM. The 6-4, 237-pound blueliner had a career year in 2006-07 with Montreal, setting personal bests in goals (26), assists (38), points (64), power play goals (19) and game-winning goals (6). His 19 power play goals in 2006-07 broke the NHL single-season record for most goals scored by a defenseman with the man advantage.
At the Oilers' 2009 Skills Competition (January 4, 2009), Souray set a then unofficial NHL record for the hardest shot, clocked at 106.7 mph. He also recorded 100+ mph slap shots at the 2004, 2007 and 2009 NHL All Star Games.
A few hours after his signing was made official, Souray talked with reporters via conference call. The following is a transcript:
On having family in Southern California I do still have family ties over here. It’s pretty well-documented. I was always hoping. In an ideal situation, this would have been it. Sometimes you just never know. When this opportunity presented itself, it was really a dream come true so to speak. It worked on so many different levels that I couldn’t be happier with.
On signing a three-year deal We were looking for term. We came back last year on a one-year deal. I was happy to do so and was happy for the opportunity to go to Dallas. Luckily for us, we did have a few decisions to make. All around, this was the best fit hockey-wise and certainly the best fit on a personal level. Historically when I’ve had my kids around and I’ve been able to combine those two things, it’s made me a better hockey player and happier person. Thankfully and luckily, I’m going to have the opportunity to do that on a full-time basis over the next few years. We’re happy.
It’s important for me to get in here and start moving this ship in the right direction. I know they have a lot of great pieces there. I know they are not satisfied with where they are for sure. They have had a couple of additions already today.
On last season and the future It was good for us and good for (Dallas). It was come in here, play, be yourself, have fun and help us in any so way you can. I was grateful for that opportunity. I think I filled the need that they had and was happy to do so. They had a great team and great guys. It was all positive moving forward, so that helped. But I think even more so going forward this year in Anaheim, they have a need. They have great players moving forward. They are not that far removed from being a Stanley Cup championship team. They have players on there who know what it takes to win and how to win. They are a few players on there who I am familiar with. I think that I can come into this organization bring some leadership, experience and the x-factors that they are looking to fill. Just like I did in Dallas last year when the opportunity presented itself, I think this is a great fit for me hockey-wise and personally. I’m looking forward to coming in and being a part of the solution moving forward.
On players he is familiar with on Anaheim I played with Saku for about eight years in Montreal. I played with Cogliano in Edmonton for a couple of years. I did talk to Saku a little bit having played against him, being a friend of his and a teammate of his over the years that I have. There is not a better captain that I have played with, and I have played with Scotty Stevens, than Saku. I’ve been able to learn from him and be mentored by him in a sort of way. Saku is the ultimate team guy. He was an unbelievable captain when I had him and I know he is an assistant captain with the Ducks. He’s just a great guy. We talked a little bit about things that have happened. We talked about the situation in Dallas, the situation in Anaheim and his thoughts on the team. Did he recruit me? No, but did he have some input and some things that probably made the decision a little bit easier? Yeah, for sure.
On career going forward I feel like I have a lot left in the tank. Here is the thing for me, I don’t think it’s been any secret how important my family is to me and the decisions I’ve made in the past regarding my family. I’ve been out in Southern California since 2001. To be able to come home and be this close, I’ve always played my best hockey when I’ve been around my family, when they’ve come in to visit and when I’ve been able to spend time with them. There are some things that are probably a little bit more important than hockey. To be able to combine those two things, I really truly feel that I have my best years ahead. I’ve had some injuries and there have been some questions marks in the past, all that has happened for a reason. It has given me a little bit of life and longevity here on the back end. I’m looking forward to coming in here and playing with these great players. The group has a lot of enthusiasm. I think everyone is hungry to get back. You see what the Kings have done this year. There is enthusiasm within this group. There is with the management. I talked to Saku today. I know the group had a pretty good end of the season. I’m just looking to come in refreshed, rejuvenated, coming in with these guys and moving forward. Age is just a number. I’m feeling good and training hard this summer. I workout with Chelios. He played at 48 years old, so I have about 13 or 14 years on him, so I feel like I’m alright here. I’ll keep grinding away.
On him as a teammate Sometimes things happen and perception becomes reality. I dealt with that. That was in the past. I went back to Dallas last year and I tried to answer some of the question marks maybe that left a black eye in the year before. I certainly don’t dwell on that. I don’t think anybody else is either. We’re way past that. My reputation, my teammates would hopefully second. One thing I love bringing into the room, I liked it in Dallas, is a little bit of character. I like bringing experience. I relish that role. I’m going to do the same things. I want to be me. I think that is what they wanted from me. I know in talking with Saku a little bit, I was an assistant captain for him for seven or eight years, so I know him pretty well. To have a guy like that, who is so well-respected and such a good teammate, it goes a long way. I don’t really live in the past. I’m looking forward to getting to Anaheim and meeting expectations that are for me and also for the team. I feel like I’m going to take a role on the team and help them get to the playoffs any way I can. I’m looking forward to it.
On Bruce Boudreau We didn’t cross paths. When I played a year in Hershey, when they were the affiliate with Washington, all I ever heard was good things. I talked to George McPhee a couple of times when I was there and he had mentioned Bruce a little bit. It was pretty informal. A lot of the players who had come down from playing in Washington were singing his praises. More recently in talking with Saku and hearing some of the things about Bruce, I know he is a great coach. I know that he’s demanding, but also a player’s coach. I remember last year when I was in Dallas, looking at Anaheim’s record, when Bruce took over they went on a real run there. He knows what he is doing. I’m looking forward to getting in there, getting to know him a little bit and just getting acquainted with the team. I don’t think anybody is satisfied with making the playoffs. You look at LA. You get in there and anything can happen. Everyone is on the same page as that goes. It starts with the management, the coaches and the players. All I have ever heard is good things about Bruce and about Anaheim’s organization. I’m happy to be part of it. I’m happy to be there to move things along. Whatever I can to do to help them, I’m going to do. Coaches, players, trainers, we’re all in it together.
On Pete Peeters Pete has always been a great guy. We have a little bit of history. He was a real calming influence around the team when I was up in Edmonton and one of the guys that I think the organization missed a little bit when he left. It will be interesting to see him. I know there are a few familiar faces around the Ducks organization I’m going to see and I’m looking forward to seeing. Really, I’m just looking forward to getting started, being down here in Southern California, being around my family more and being a part of such a great organization that is not too far removed from being in the Stanley Cup Final and winning. It’s really more than I could have asked for.