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Calgary Flames

UFA Options – Mikael Samuelsson



2008 – Mikael Samuelsson 81 19 21 40 0 50 7 0 1 0 257 7.4


Advanced ES Stats – QUAL COMP +0.1, QUAL TEAM -0.07, +18.9 corsi, 1.20 ESP/60

PDO – (92.1 SV%, 6.1 SH%) 98.2

Random fact – Samuelsson was part of the package the Penguins used to get the first overall draft pick (MA Fleury) from Florida in 2003.

Background –

Samuelsson was a 5th round pick by the Sharks over a decade ago. He scored 32 goals and 78 points in his first season in the AHL; impressive output no doubt aided by the fact that he was 24 year old who had already spent 4 seasons in the SEL. He didn't fare so well in the big leagues, however, bouncing from the Sharks, Rangers, Penguins and Florida before the lock-out, never really making a dent. His career high in goals before becoming a Red Wing was 10.

He fled back to Europe during the work stoppage before being signed as a free agent by Detroit. Since then, he's been a fairly consistent 20 goal – 40 point player for the Red Wings, often seeing limited ice at even strength as well as second unit power play type minutes.

Strengths –

Evaluating Red Wings players based on advanced stats is tricky, because just about everyone on the club puts up good numbers due to the team's overall strength. And Mikael is no exception: all of his underlying numbers are fairly excellent, aside from that very pedestrian ES efficiency. Some of that may have to do with ability and some of it with the 6.1 SH% the team put up with him on the ice this year (team average was 8%). His corsi was fairly healthy, ranking 6th on the team behind Datsyuk, Hossa, Franzen, Zetterberg and Holmstrom and it doesn't look like he played with the big boys too often this season given that nominal quality of teammates rating.

Qualitatively, Samuelsson is a big body with a booming shot. He can play both the sideboards and the point on the power play, where he put up 5.02 PPP/60 this year. That rate of production would have put him 2nd on the Flames behind Cammalleri, but it actually ranked 9th (!!) on Detroit.

Weaknesses –

A number of things about Samuelsson ring alarm bells for me. First, he was a marginal player until he arrived in Detroit, which implies he's being propped up by a superior system. Second, he's never scored more than 45 points in the NHL and he's set to turn 33 this coming December. Thirdly, half of his 40 points this season were scored on the NHL's best power play.

Babcock limited Samuelsson to about 12 minutes of ES ice time per night during the regular season and was sure to keep him on the bench when the Wings were short-handed (1:04 SH ice total). Last night, Samuelsson played just 10 minutes against the Blackhawks – less than AHLer Darren Helm. Unless Samuelsson was hurt, it makes me wonder why Babcock would hide a veteran, especially during a blow-out…

Verdict –

Samuelsson is a decent but aging winger who has never really scored at a healthy rate in the NHL. His production seems to be PP reliant and could fall precipitously if he no longer shares the ice with Lidstrom, Rafalski, Franzen, Hossa, Zetterberg, etc.  His age also suggests his peak years are behind him. His advanced stats are healthy – but whose aren't on Detroit.

At his current price (1.3M) on a short term deal, Samuelsson might be a value signing. Beyond that, he starts to look like a high risk/low reward type acquisition to me. He should be available this summer, especially since the Red Wings have 51M tied up next season and decisions to make on Hossa (UFA), Hudler (RFA), Leino (RFA) and a back-up goalie.

by Kent Wilson