Player Profiles - Mikael Samuelsson

Cam Davie
September 02 2010 10:15AM

DENVER - OCTOBER 03:  Mikael Samuelsson #26 of the Vancouver Canucks controls the puck against the Colorado Avalanche during NHL action at the Pepsi Center on October 3, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Canucks 3-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


We continue our series where Canucks Army will profile various players of interest leading up to the new season.

While he was never ever able to really break out and get consistent minutes with the Detroit Red Wings, given their glut of talent on the top 2 lines, Samuelsson had a break-out season with the Vancouver Canucks, as the team's second-highest goal scorer. One of the main reasons why GM Mike Gillis was keen on bringing Samuelsson to Vancouver was his playoff experience. That move paid off in spades, as Samuelsson was the Canucks' leading scorer in the playoffs last year with 15 points in 12 games.

Background

The native of Mariefred, Sweden was a 5th round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks. He played only 4 games for the Sharks, before he was traded to the New York Rangers, in a deal that saw Adam Graves go to California. Two years later, he was a part of a large trade deadline deal that sent him to PIttsburgh. That same off-season, he was again traded. This time, he was bound for MIami to play a year for the Panthers. After the NHL lockout, Samuelsson became a free agent and was then signed by the Detroit Red Wings, where he played four very solid seasons. After failing to renegotiate a deal in Detroit, he again became a free agent last summer, and signed with the Canucks. His current contract pays him $2.5 million for two more years.

Stats

Counting Stats: 30g-23a-53pts

Corsi: +14.75/60 (2nd on team - minimum 30 GP)

Giveaways: 42 (HIghest amongst all Canucks forwards)

Penalties Taken/60: 1.2 (2nd on team)

Regular linemates: Kesler, Raymond

Going Forward

Mikael Samuelsson was arguably the most pleasant surprise in the Canucks lineup last season. Many expected him to have an improved season over those he had in Detroit. However, it is safe to say that very few people expected him to score 30 goals and to lead the Canucks in playoff points. With Alex Burrows out of the roster (shoulder surgery) to start the season, Samuelsson will likely move up to the top line with the Sedins. In that role, Samuelsson should flourish and pick up the scoring slack and more. With his time on the top line and on the power play, we should expect another season of close to 30 goals and 30 assists. Where he needs to adjust his game is on giveaways and penalties. He led all Canucks forwards in giveaways last season and subsequently took the second-most penalties (per 60 minutes played) of any forwards. It makes sense - you turn over the puck, you take a penalty to either retaliate or to recuperate the puck. If he can cut down on his turnovers, he'll very likely take less penalties. For a team that ranked in the bottom 5 in penalty minutes per game, cutting out penalty minutes is a great thing.

Samuelsson clearly came to Vancouver for time on the top 2 lines, and not for the money. Barring disaster or injury, he should once again be full value for his $2.5M paycheque, and spending the first month with the Sedins will only mean good things, as the Three Kings of the Tre Kroner look to tear up the league to start the season.

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Cam was born in Greater Vancouver, raised in Greater Vancouver, and lives in Greater Vancouver. So, yes, he's from Vancouver. He attended his first Vancouver Canucks game on Dec 26th, 1980 and has bled orange/black/red/blue+green ever since. You can reach him on Twitter @tinfoiltuque or on e-mail at tinfoiltuque(at)gmail(dot)com.
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#1 Kent Wilson
September 02 2010, 10:40AM
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Samuelsson had a career high 13% Shooting percentage last year - that's well above his average of about 8%.

As such, I wouldn't bet on him replicating his 30 goal season, even if he plays with the Sedins. That said, I don't think he'll go to the penalty box as often either - his 64 PIMs were also a career high.

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#2 Yankee Canuck
September 02 2010, 10:48AM
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If Mikael Samuelsson drops off, Henrik returns to the 90-100 point area and Burrows ES goals take a hit due to the LTIR, the second line will be under even more pressure to produce.

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#3 Kent Wilson
September 02 2010, 11:05AM
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Yankee Canuck wrote:

If Mikael Samuelsson drops off, Henrik returns to the 90-100 point area and Burrows ES goals take a hit due to the LTIR, the second line will be under even more pressure to produce.

I think the real gains to be made for the Canucks is at the bottom end of the roster, actually: Malholtra, Torres, Hansen, Hodgson (?)

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#4 Yankee Canuck
September 02 2010, 12:34PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I think the real gains to be made for the Canucks is at the bottom end of the roster, actually: Malholtra, Torres, Hansen, Hodgson (?)

True. Filling in for the lack of production left by Wellwood/Bernier should help, I just wonder how big the difference could become. Guys like Hansen, Hodgson and even Shirokov (not to bring up bad feelings from last season!) could be really important to that end.

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