May 22, 2012, 4:47 PM EDT
After spending the 2010-11 season in the minors, Sheldon Souray returned to the NHL in style last season with the Dallas Stars, posting 21 points in 65 games while averaging over 20 minutes per night.
Now, the 35-year-old would like another season in The D.
“I’d like to stay here,” Souray told the Stars website. “I know they’re going to make changes, if anyone here thinks they’re not making changes, they’re all a little naïve. Hopefully in the year that I’ve been here, they see me as part of the solution moving forward.
“I really like it here, I don’t want to leave here.”
Souray played last season on a one-year, $1.65 million deal that was as beneficial for him — the opportunity to show he could still play at the NHL level — as it was for the Stars, who got a top-four defenseman for a bargain basement price.
That said, it’s likely he’ll be looking for a raise and longer term with his next deal. That notion is bolstered by a shallow pool of free agent defensemen and some of the deals handed out to over-35 blueliners last summer: Roman Hamrlik (two years, $7 million), Hal Gill (one year, $2.25 million) and Sami Salo (one year, $2 million).
Souray can probably go to market confident he’ll get a nice deal, though Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan would love to see him back in Dallas.
“He has been a force and he’s been a guy in the locker room that took charge and we needed that,” Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. “He’s been a real positive guy for our group right from Day One.”
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