Free-agent signees rarely want for motivation, but you have to imagine that new Dallas Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray will be at the top of the "players with things to prove" list come training camp.
The veteran defenseman suffered through a grisly 2010-11 campaign, banished by the Edmonton Oilers to the AHL after making critical comments about the team during the previous season -- and not even the Oilers own minor league team but to Washington's farm team in Hershey.
He was injured, unwanted and hoping he'd get a chance to show people he wasn't done.
That chance came Friday when the Dallas Stars signed Souray to a one-year deal shortly after the Oilers bought him out of the final year of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Souray's new deal will pay him $1.65 million, far less than the $5.4 million his five-year deal with the Oilers paid him.
But, at the risk of sounding naïve, this isn't so much about the money as it is about the opportunity.
"All those things, [last season] aside, it just worked out perfectly," Souray said of signing a new deal.
"I'm a motivated player coming in. I'm thankful that Dallas has given me the opportunity to go there and get my career back on track," Souray told ESPN.com Friday.
The 34-year-old twice scored more than 20 goals in his career. He isn't afraid of physical play, although injuries have reduced his effectiveness in recent years.
Still, he has all summer to get into shape and just knowing he has a place to go come training camp is a powerful tonic for Souray.
"I know there are a lot of questions about my health and questions about how I can play," Souray said. "But I know what kind of player I expect to be. And I want to show management in Dallas they made a good choice," he said.