Would Sheldon Souray Be The Answer The Rangers Need?
Added by Gregg Snyder on February 21, 2011.
Despite the flurry of trade activity that has gone down this past weekend, the Rangers have yet to address any of their pressing needs. There is speculation that Edmonton’s recent recall of Sheldon Souray from his season long “Time Out” in the minors will lead to a claim off of re-entry waivers of the former star defenseman by the Rangers.
Souray could satisfy their power play needs, and provide the veteran experience and nasty edge the Rangers lack. He would also come at half the price of his $4.5 remaining salary. I say put in a bid.
Drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 3rd round (71st overall) in 1994, Souray entered the NHL in the 97-98 season as a prototypical crease clearing defenseman. In two and a half seasons with the Devils, Sheldon registered nearly 300 penalty minutes and less than thirty points.
He was somewhat of a fan favorite with the Devils fans, who were accustomed to his rugged and fearsome style of play, having watched beloved defensive icons Scott Stevens and Kenny Daneyko for years. At the 2000 trade deadline however, he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens along with Josh Dewolf and a 2nd round pick for Vladimir Malakhov.
Souray’s first three seasons with Montreal were all truncated by injuries, and his game was very much the same as it was in New Jersey. Prior to missing the entire 2002-3 season with a left wrist injury, he played 105 games for Montreal and collected 201 PIMs with only twenty points.
In 2003-4, Sheldon returned with another dimension to his game. Apparently, when he had his wrist repaired, the doctors equipped his with some bionics because he began blasting away from the point with shot power not seen from him before.
Souray finished the 2003-4 season with a career best 35 points (15g 20 a) and his typical 104 PIMs. He was also invited to his first NHL All Star game.
Souray maintained this impressive level of production over his next two seasons with Montreal, averaging 19 goals and 33 assists along with over 100 PIMs each year.
He made his second All Star appearance in 2007.
Sheldon Souray left the Canadiens as an unrestricted free agent after the 2006-7 season and signed a five-year, $27 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. His first season with the Oil was cut short at twenty-six with a separated shoulder. He returned to form the following season, and registered 53 points and 98 PIMs in 81 games.
He continued his trend of healthy season-injured season with a 37 game campaign in 2009-10. Then the drama started, or went public anyway.
Sheldon was reported to be negative presence in the Oilers dressing room, allegedly saying he didn’t want to be part of a rebuilding organization and his talent was be wasted on a bad team.
The Edmonton Oilers were trying to create a winning culture. They had a talented group of impressionable young stars in Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, and Magnus Paajarvi. They did not want these kids to begin their careers around a negative player like Sheldon Souray.
And so, after a roller coaster summer of speculation, Souray was sent down, and then loaned to the Hershey Bears, the Washington Capitals AHL affiliate. Many figured this would lead to a trade to the Caps at some point, but he has remained there all season, suffering a broken hand early on, and registering only 13 points in 26 games.
Saturday, after several defensemen were traded all over the league, the Edmonton Oilers placed Sheldon Souray on re-entry waivers. Teams had 48 hours to put in a claim for him, thus picking up only half of his salary over the final two years of his heavy contract.
The Rangers were said to have interest. The Devils were said to have put in a claim, but that report was denied.
The Rangers have two wins in their last ten games. They need a spark. They have a core of players in Dubinsky, Callahan, Boyle, Staal, and Prust that can easily keep Souray’s attitude in check, should he arrive with an unfavorable one.
I say grab him.
If he is seriously looking to come back and be the dominant force he once was in the NHL, he could fill two of the voids the Rangers need to address. We’ll know today.