Sheldon Souray signs with Oilers

Sheldon Souray will be getting an Edmonton Oilers jersey and a fat contract for his birthday.

Sheldon Souraywill be getting an Edmonton Oilers jersey and a fat contract for his birthday.

Souray, who turns 31 on Friday, has reached a five-year deal with Edmonton, the club announced on Thursday.

The Elk Point, Alta., native was the most notable free agent yet to be signed.He led all NHL defencemen last season with 26 goals, adding a career-high 38 assists in 81 games for the Montreal Canadiens.

"I’m heading home to Alberta and I can’t wait to step onto the ice at Rexall Place," Souray said in a statement."It’s always been a terrific building to play in.I couldn’t be happier with my decision and I can tell you it was an easy one to make."

Souray's 19 power-play markers were second in theNHL last season, withonly forward Teemu Selanne counting more.

While his size, booming shot and power-play presence had several teams reportedly interested in his services, Souray's occasional defensive lapses have led toa combined minus 39 rating overthe past two seasons.

Souray has scored 66 goals and 120 assists in 506 career regular season games.

The six-foot-four, 220-pound playerbegan his career in 1997 with New Jersey and was traded by the Devils to Montreal in a 2000 deal that saw defenceman Vladimir Malakhov go the other way.

The deal will extend through the 2011-12 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Edmonton has now made severalchanges to the blueline after finishing out of the playoffs last season. Veteran Jason Smith was sent to Philadelphia — along with forward Joffrey Lupul —for 24-year-old defenceman Joni Pitkanen and forward Geoff Sanderson.

As well, the club signed formerOiler Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov,each of whomplayed in Europe last season.