From 2003-04, Sheldon Souray was one of the NHL’s most dominant all-around defensemen.
Souray was drafted in the third round at No. 71 overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1994. He was primarily used as a depth defenseman but enjoyed an increased role following a trade to the Montreal Canadiens in 2000.
Souray was swapped out for veteran rearguard Vladimir Malakhov, who went on to win a Stanley Cup with the star-studded New Jersey squad. Though Souray just barely missed out on playing for a championship team, he went on to flourish under the bright spotlights in Montreal.
BetRivers Ontario has odds on games for multiple sports including hockey, basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and tennis. BetRivers Ontario launched earlier this month and allows fans to try out all sorts of different bets, including parlays, money lines, over/under, and futures.
For example, Maple Leafs who want to place “futures” wagers can bet on their team winning the Atlantic Division and/or the Stanley Cup. You can also bet on an individual player winning an award. Superstar center Auston Matthews is the main betting favorite to win the Hart Trophy at BetRivers with odds of -350.
The 6-foot-4 Souray was blessed with great size, physicality, and one of the league’s hardest slapshots. His style of play was perfect for a Canadiens team that lacked true superstar power but got by with resilience, hard forechecking, and peskiness.
The Elk Point, Alberta native had a breakout year in 2003-04, tallying 15 goals and 35 points despite missing 19 games. Souray’s efforts did enough to help Montreal claim the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
After falling 3-1 in their first-round series vs. the Boston Bruins, the Canadiens stunned the heavy favorites with three unanswered W’s to win the series. They would be swept by the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in round two.
Souray followed up his career 2003-04 campaign by putting up a personal best 39 points in 2005-06 (the 2004-05 campaign was lost because of the lockout. The Canadiens once again claimed the No. 7 seed in the East but fell to the eventual Stanley Cup winner Carolina Hurricanes in six games.
2006-07, Souray’s last with Montreal, would mark the best season of his career by a mile. The hard-shooting big man scored 26 goals and 64 points, both career bests. Souray earned an All-Star nod, but the Canadiens fell two points shy of qualifying for the postseason.
Souray picked the perfect time for a career season. 2006-07 marked the last year in his contract, and now it was time to get paid in free agency.
The Disappointing Stint In Edmonton
Souray signed a five-year contract worth $27 million with the Edmonton Oilers in 2007 free agency. The Oilers seemingly found a cheaper replacement for mainstay Chris Pronger, who was traded to the Anaheim Ducks following the team’s unexpected 2006 run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Unfortunately, injuries would limit Souray to only 26 games in 2007-08. The Oil greatly struggled without their new star defenseman, who tallied a respectable 10 points in the 26 contests played.
Souray turned back the clock and looked like a star again in 2008-09. He played 81 games and racked up 23 goals and 53 points, and both totals turned out to be the second-best marks of his career.
The injuries once again piled up on Souray in 2009-10, however, and he was limited to just 37 games (four goals and nine assists in those contests). The frustrated Oilers couldn’t find a taker on Souray’s contract, and he spent the entire 2010-11 campaign with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
One-Year Stops In Dallas & Anaheim
Left with no choice, Edmonton opted to buy out Souray’s contract in the 2011 offseason. He took a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars and became a useful piece on their blue line, averaging 20:28 time on ice per game while also posting 21 points in 64 games.
Souray’s stellar play in 2011-12 earned him a three-year deal from the Anaheim Ducks in free agency. He played 44 of the team’s 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, scoring seven goals and 17 points.
Souray’s efforts helped Anaheim win the Pacific Division for the first time in six years, though the Detroit Red Wings ousted them in seven games.
Sadly, shoulder and wrist injuries prevented Souray from ever playing in the NHL again after a stellar year in Anaheim. 2012-13 would be the final season of his career, leaving the Ducks without a well-respected veteran blueliner during their run as an NHL juggernaut.
Souray is now married to Tess Annique. He has two daughters from a previous marriage to Angelica Bridges.