The NHL said goodbye to two veterans yesterday, as Sheldon Souray and Scott Clemmensen announced their retirements. Both drafted by the New Jersey Devils, Souray ends his career as a member of the Anaheim Ducks while Clemmensen hangs up his skates as a Devil, but will remain with the club as a goaltending coach.
Souray, 38, was largely forced into retirement due to a wrist injury that has sidelined him for the past two seasons. Known for a booming shot that made him one of the best power play quarterbacks in the NHL for several seasons, Souray officially ends his career as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.
Over the course of his 13-year NHL career, Souray suited up for the Ducks, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils. Selected by the Devils in the third round, 71st overall, of the 1994 draft, Souray didn’t make the jump to a full-time NHL career until the 1997-98 campaign and didn’t become a standout blueliner in the league until the 2003-04 season as a member of the Canadiens.
Sent to Montreal in a trade that brought the Devils Vladimir Malakhov, it wasn’t until an injury claimed his 2002-03 season that Souray came back with a vengeance. The year following his injury-claimed season, Souray potted a career-high 15 goals and 35 points in 63 games. Prior to the 2003-04 season, Souray had 16 goals total in his NHL career.
The 2004-05 lockout claimed Souray’s chance at back-to-back big years, but his subsequent seasons resulted in campaigns of 12, 26 and 23 goals, all the while skating top-pairing minutes. The 2006-07 season, the 26-goal season, was an especially bright one for Souray as he hammered home 19 goals on the power play, one shorthanded marker and had six game-winning goals. The 64 points he amassed that season set a career best mark that lasted until his retirement.
Souray announced his retirement via Twitter, saying he was going to, “enjoy his last day on an NHL roster.”
Coincidentally Souray, who began his career as a Devil, retires on the same day as another player who began their time in the NHL in New Jersey. Clemmensen, who was drafted by the Devils in the eighth round, 215th overall, of the 1997 draft, retired and joined New Jersey as a goaltending development coach.
Clemmensen, a career backup goaltender, had his biggest seasons near the back half of his career. The 37-year-old played in 40 games with the Devils in 2008-09 and followed it up with seasons of 23, 31 and 30 games with the Florida Panthers from 2009-10 to 2011-12.
By the end of his career, Clemmensen had three separate stints in New Jersey, over which time he played in 68 games for the Devils and posted a record of 32-19-6 with a .908 save percentage, 2.60 goals-against average and four shutouts.
This past season, Clemmensen suited up in three games for the Devils and 27 with the AHL’s Albany Devils.