37-Year-Old Right Wing – Free Agent
Mikael Samuelsson Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Samuelsson (shoulder) skated with fellow injured forwards Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm before Thursday's practice, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports.
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Mikael Samuelsson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Samuelsson returned to the Red Wings on a two-year deal as a free agent this summer, with the chance to compete for a top-six role and a clear path to power-play duty on the horizon. While a move back into the 50-point range (based on a full season) as we saw from Samuelsson in Vancouver is a long shot, a 20-24 point (lockout-shortened) season, with half of those points coming with the man advantage, are a reasonable expectation. At even strength, Samuelsson needs to outplay Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi in order to get a look on a scoring line, and it's possible that head coach Mike Babcock will shuffle his wingers early in the year until he finds a combination that maximizes the overall effectiveness of his lineup.
Samuelsson’s second season with the Canucks was viewed as somewhat of a disappointment, but the veteran winger still managed to reach the 50-point plateau for the second consecutive season. His 2010-11 postseason was cut short after suffering a sports hernia in the second round of the playoffs. He had surgery to repair the hernia and an abductor tendon in May, which should give him ample time to recover before the start of the season. At 35, Samuelsson is starting to get a little long in the tooth, but he’s shown the ability to be a productive option in mid-to-deep sized leagues.
The Canucks took a chance on Samuelsson last offseason, signing him to a three-year deal with a promise for a more involved role than he had in Detroit. After a career-best 33 goals, it’s safe to say the gamble paid off. The 34-year-old Swede will once again skate with the Canucks' top six, putting him in position to duplicate his success from 2009-10.
After four productive years with the Red Wings, Samuelsson signed a free agent contract with the Canucks this offseason. The 33-year-old will add a veteran presence to the Canucks' attack and should be more involved than he has with Detroit. Coach Alain Vigneault plans to get Samuelsson some reps with fellow Swedes, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. With the opportunity to play on Vancouver's No. 1 line and a significant role on the power-play unit, Samuelsson could be in line for a career year.
Samuelsson is the perfect example of a role player benefiting from the immense level of talent around him. Unfortunately, as the Wings continue to add elite talent through free agency and organizational development, his opportunities to skate on the top two lines – and with the man advantage – will taper off and the result will be progressively declining numbers. Despite playing in a career-high 73 games last season, Samuelsson's goals totals fell off for the second straight campaign. Expect him to light the lamp 10-15 times and push for 40 points again in 2008-09, but unless the top-six forwards are decimated by injuries at some point this season, he’s one to avoid on draft day.
He's a handy forward capable of scoring 20 goals and racking up 50 points, but the upside doesn't go far past that. A nice fill-in on short nights, but he's not the type of player you want to roster for the entire season, no matter how talented his linemates may be.
He's essentially a tweener, good enough to spend some time on a scoring line but ideally suited to be a third-line winger. Look for Samuelsson to swing between both of those roles this year, en route to 40-50 points.
He might catch on as a spare forward but he's not draftable in any format. He simply won't get the ice time, and he doens't have the offensive skills to get excited about.