Player Name/Position: Sheldon Souray Defense
Overall Grade: C+/B- ( I know it's indecisive, but I'll get to that)
Contract Status: Two years left at a 3.667 cap hit, paying out $3.5 million in cash each year.
2013 Stats: 7 goals + 10 Assists = 17 points and a plus-19. Was second on the defense with 32 giveaways and had 34 hits and 58 Blocked shots
Playoff Stats: 6GP 0+1=1, minus-2. 1 hit, 7 blocked shots and 4 ill advised PIM. It should also be noted that if Lydman hadn't been hurt, Souray probably wouldn't have even played 6 games this postseason.
Offense: What can you say? Souray can bring it from the point. His ability to hammer the puck when he has a wide open lane is a good way to clear the decks, which is probably why he led all Ducks defenders in goals. It's a nice weapon on the PP, but he also has trouble getting opportunities to let that shot loose. He has a good stretch pass from time to time, but let's be real. Souray's offense is tied to that shot; it's pretty much what he brings to the table. He was also a pretty streaky scorer. He scored 7 points in his first 9 games and 5 points in his last 10 games. that means he did 71% of his scoring in less than 44% of his games. He also led the team's defensemen in on ice SH% at 12.5. and in PDO at 1259. It's safe to say those numbers aren't coming back.
Defense: This is the reason I'm torn about Souray's grade. For about the first 15-20 games of the season he and Beauchemin were a very productive top pairing. I'm talking positive corsi, ridiculous +/-, the whole 12 yards. But as the year went on, the corsi kept slipping, the points dried up, and everyone saw Souray become a pylon. This ultimately culminated to being a healthy scratch in the playoffs. He pretty much got worse and worse as the season went on and it's a bad sign when a veteran guy like that is a healthy scratch. He finished with the highest on ice SH% and SV% since they started keeping advanced stats. He will only allow more goals as the years go by.
Highlight of the season: Hey who doesn't like a good old fashioned tussle with a King player.
Expectations for Next Year: Is it too much to hope for a buyout, or better yet a trade? The Ducks have a promising prospect in Sami Vatanen, and their overall possession numbers suggest that the defense does need an upgrade. Souray was never meant to be much of anything other than a bridge. The sooner we can move on from that the better. If he isn't going anywhere, then he'll probably get another go round with Beauchemin. I don't know if we can count on his luck holding up enough to give us a legitimate top pairing again. Ultimately, Souray and his contract is a lot for what will most likely be diminished results.