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Evaluating Stays in Motown: Mikael Samuelsson

Mikael Samuelsson, RW

Year Games Goals Assists Points +/- PIM
05-06 71 23 22 45 +27 42
06-07 53 14 20 34 +1 28
07-08 73 11 29 40 +21 26
08-09 81 19 21 40 0 50
Total 278 67 92 159 +49 146

How he came to Detroit: Samuelsson was one of the pickups made following the 2004-2005 lockout and found his game immediately after getting to Detroit. Up until he joined the Red Wings, he had previously spent very mediocre seasons in San Jose, New York (Rangers), Pittsburgh, and Florida. Initially, Samuelsson signed a one year contract but was then rewarded with a three year extension following his first season in red and white.

Impact of his stay: Samuelsson is the classic story of a player finding his game and blossoming in a system. That's not to say that he won't be productive in Vancouver, but rather that the Red Wings were a perfect fit. He went from 3 goals in 37 games played for Florida (.08 g/game) to 23 goals in 71 games in his first year in Detroit (.32 g/game). One of the best assets of Samuelsson is that he was very good at responding and working with new linemates when he was switched around through the lineup.

Highs in Motown: Scoring the first two goals of Game 1 of 2008 Stanley Cup Finals has to be up there as well as winning the Cup that year. As far as a high point from this season, you could point to the overtime game winning goal against the Blackhawks for sure. No doubt about it, Sammy had a thing for clutch goals.

Lows in Motown: Most of these are on the defensive end for Samuelsson. He played great offensive zone hockey but was very lost at times in the defensive end. The most notable as many fans will agree on is the very slack defense he played on Tyler Kennedy in Game 6 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.

Replaceable? Yes, very replaceable. As I hinted at before, Sammy was a guy that truly blossomed and reached his potential in Detroit. Yes he will be missed at times but the player development by the Wings organization is the best in the league and a replacement can be found.

Overall "Grade" for his stay: I give a B, close to a B+ but the defensive lapses are hard to overlook at times.

In the end, Sammy was a great third liner for the Red Wings. He wanted a lot of money and he deserves it. It's hard to develop talent like Samuelsson and keep him for a reasonably low price because let's face it: even though he was a 3rd liner in Detroit, he's a 2nd maybe 1st liner else where at this point in his career.

I know I wish him the best in the rest of his career, as long as he's not playing the Wings.