When Sheldon Souray signed on to be an Edmonton Oiler in July of 2007, he did so for financial and family reasons.
It was a five-year, $27.5-million deal for the defenceman from Elk Point, AB — a town about an hour and a half outside of Edmonton. Much of his family — mom and dad, sister and her kids, aunts, uncles and cousins — live in the area.
The homecoming, however, hasn’t worked out the way he had hoped.
“When I signed here, I did so because of family and because I thought this team had a chance of winning,” Souray said. “I thought we would have a lot more success.”
Winning is not something the Oilers have done a lot of lately. Souray’s first season was plagued by injury and without a playoff berth. The defenceman had 23 goals and 30 assists and was an All-Star in his second year with the Oilers, but once again, the Oilers missed the postseason. This year, the team has one win in its last 18 games and sits in last place in the NHL. That’s why the 33-year old could be on the move even though he has a no-trade clause.
“I never thought I’d be waiving it (no trade clause),” Souray said. “I chose Edmonton over other teams because I intended on staying here.”
His future in an Oilers uniform could now be in jeopardy as Souray’s agent and Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini look at other possible hockey destinations for the defenceman.
“It’s probably best you talk to my agent and Steve (Tambellini),” Souray said. “We are submitting a list of teams that I would consider being moved to and I gave them my opinion on it. In a few more months (July 1), the no-trade clause doesn’t apply so then they can move me anywhere.”
Souray doesn’t have a no-movement clause in the last two years of his five-year deal but if he’s going to be moved before the end of the season, he’ll have to be satisfied with the trade.
“It would have to be a good situation and it would have to be a good team. Family is as important to me as the game and that’s why I first signed in Edmonton.”
A big consideration for Souray is his two kids who live in Los Angeles. He remembers 10-hour travel days for his oldest daughter to come see him when he played in Montreal. He wants to avoid getting any farther away from his two girls but that’s not to suggest that west is best for the defenceman.
“I would consider Eastern teams,” the three-time All-Star said. “It could be East or West. I mean maybe they keep me or maybe they don’t. They might do something or they might not do anything. For now it’s important to be professional. When I come to the rink I’m still proud to be an Oiler.”
How long he remains one is another question.