The Ducks and their fans had to say goodbye to two players on the first day of free agency. Both George Parros and Sheldon Brookbank will not be in Anaheim uniforms next season.
Parros, who spent six seasons in Anaheim, took a two year contract with the Florida Panthers. Parros goes from one sunny location to another and will be greatly missed by fans. Florida fans better start growing out their hair now, as his annual Cut for the Kids will continue no matter where he plays.
Brookbank and the Ducks were unable to come to terms on a new contract. He landed a two year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Brookbank had his best year ever with three goals and 15 points last season.
With Brookbank gone (as well as Lubomir Visnovsky, who was traded to the New York Islanders on draft day), the Ducks had a few holes in their blue line. To remedy that problem, they picked up Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen.
Souray, 35, signed a three year contract worth a total of $11 million. He spent last season with the Dallas Stars after three years with the Edmonton Oilers.
“The decision there was the term,” said GM Bob Murray. ”We wanted to get some more experience and size back there. We wanted to be a little bit harder to play against. If we were going to do that, we had to go that route.”
Souray definitely has size at 6’4″ and 238 pounds. The three time All Star also has plenty of experience with 714 games played.
“I feel like I have a lot left in the tank,” Souray said after the signing. “Age is just a number. I’m feeling good and training hard this summer. 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.”
Souray is likely to be on the second or third defense pairing and his huge shot will be an asset on the power play.
Also joining the blueline will be Bryan Allen, who signed a three year, $10.5 million deal. Allen last played with Carolina.
At 31, he is a solid defenseman with 601 games of experience behind him.
“We’ve got a number of young defensemen on our team,” Murray said. ”I don’t feel we’ve supported our younger defensemen with enough size and oomph in the last couple of years. You can never have enough defenseman, especially in the Western Conference. It’s the decision we made and we moved forward today.”
In light of Parros’ exit, the Ducks were also in need of an enforcer type. The Ducks went out and got Brad Staubitz.
Staubitz, 28, spent time with both Minnesota and Montreal last season. He signed a two year contract worth $1.275 million. He will add both grit and depth to the Ducks line up.