ANAHEIM, Calif. – Anaheim Ducks defenceman Sheldon Souray will miss the entire season after another operation on his right wrist.
Souray had surgery Friday to relieve arthritis symptoms related to a torn ligament.
The NHL-leading Ducks also assigned long-injured defenceman Luca Sbisa to the AHL on a conditioning loan before Friday’s game at Chicago.
The 37-year-old Souray was injured during summer training and he never got on the ice in his second year in Anaheim. Souray had seven goals and 10 assists during a solid debut season with Anaheim, which signed him to a three-year, $11 million deal in 2012.
“This is a difficult situation for Sheldon and a tough loss for the team,” Anaheim general manager Bob Murray said. “Sheldon has been in pain for quite some time. This surgery was his best course of action in order to alleviate pain and discomfort, and regain full mobility in his wrist. Sheldon’s long-term health is the most important issue right now, and we support his difficult decision to have this surgery.”
Souray has been an elite NHL defenceman, but his career has featured multiple peaks and valleys. He spent the entire 2010-11 season in the AHL while locked in a bitter dispute with the Edmonton Oilers, but revived his career during one season with the Dallas Stars before Anaheim signed him as a free agent.
Souray was expected to be a key part of the Ducks’ power play again this season. His absence has been mitigated by the surprising emergence of 19-year-old Swedish rookie Hampus Lindholm and the maturation of U.S. national team selection Cam Fowler into an elite defenceman.
Anaheim has the NHL’s best record despite significant injuries to key defencemen Sbisa, Francois Beauchemin and Bryan Allen, who has missed the last five games but was expected to return Friday night.
Sbisa missed his 25th consecutive game Friday with a torn tendon in his right hand, and he also missed the first 15 games of the season with an injured ankle. Sbisa’s injuries apparently contributed to his omission from the Swiss national team for the Sochi Olympics next month.
The Ducks, who have won 18 of their last 19 games, also sent top goalie prospect John Gibson back to the minors without making his NHL debut. Gibson spent the last three games backing up Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen.
Hiller, who is on a personal 14-game winning streak, is ready to play again after sitting out Wednesday’s victory over Vancouver with an illness.