Habs unload Samsonov
Sergei Samsonov's rocky tenure with the Montreal Canadiens is over.Bob Gainey, miracle worker?
The 28-year-old forward was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday for defenceman Jassen Cullimore and forward Tony Salmelainen.
Not quite, but this is a nice move for both teams. The Blackhawks have been dying to get rid of Cullimore's deal for a while now, and considering the Canadiens were fully prepared to buyout Samsonov's $3.525-million deal for $2.35-million, this saves them just more than $1-million under the cap.
Salmelainen, meanwhile, is on a one-way deal, meaning Chicago had to pay him regardless of where he played last season, and he toiled on the lower lines of an awful team while posting 17 points in 57 games. He was a second-rounder back in 1999 and has been kicking around North America forever, but his best season remains 2005-06 in Finland, when he had 27 goals and 55 points in 53 games.
He's probably headed to the Bulldogs, where he'll make $700,000 but not count against the cap.
Why does Chicago take a chance on Samsonov, you ask? Well, from their perspective, they're taking on only about $1-million more in salary to see if they can kickstart the disgruntled Russian's flagging career.
Even if the only puts in, say, a 45-point season, that makes him a veritable sniper on the 'Hawks. Other than Martin Havlat, who played just 56 games, not a single Chicago player cracked 41 points last season, and Samsonov doesn't have much of a bar to clear.
Besides, if he doesn't put it together here, that's all she wrote for his NHL career. Still, I hope for Chicago fans' sake that this isn't GM Dale Tallon's only off-season improvement.