Monday, March 10, 2008

Samsonov's revival

Has there been a better reclamation project than Sergei Samsonov this season?

Last summer, Montreal dealt him for cap room, picking up two unwanted Blackhawks in the process and using a buyout on Jassen Cullimore. Samsonov was then horrible in Chicago, with no goals and four assists in 23 games on a team with a pretty decent, high-flying offence.

In early January, he was waived and then re-waived, finally being claimed by Carolina. About 10 other teams passed on the offer to take him at half his $3.5-million salary.

Two months later, Samsonov's a top-line contributer in Carolina, with 12 goals and 24 points in 27 games, only three of which have come on the power play. He's also plus-11 as a Hurricane.

Carolina's been red-hot lately despite missing some key personnel, and GM Jim Rutherford certainly deserves credit for massively retooling his roster midseason and assembling a cast that has nearly solidified a playoff spot. He shipped out soon-to-be-UFA veterans Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore and a promising youngster in Andrew Ladd around the trade deadline, and his team's gone 10-2-1 since the first deal and 5-1 since the second.

They're 16-10-1 since acquiring Samsonov, which in the Southeast Division this season is more than competitive.

Hard to believe.

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At 12:24 p.m., March 10, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Its amazing what one can accomplish when you're playing for your next contract! Any GM who gives this guy more than a 1 year deal is insane!

At 12:43 p.m., March 10, 2008, Blogger Pyronite said...

He was playing for his next contract in Chicago, as well.

I'll preface this by saying that I'm a Carolina fan, but: is it worth going back to re-examine reaction to the Stillman/Commodore trade, knowing what we do now?

I love those two guys, Stillman in particular, but even I was shocked at the time to see all the talk about it being one-sided in Ottawa's favor. Commodore has never been that great and Stillman was in a major slump.

At 12:45 p.m., March 10, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Yes... the feel good story about a little whiny b who finally decided to give a damn when he realized he was going to have to go to Russia if he didn't start trying again.

I've never heard of a guy asking to be traded so quickly as Samsonov was in Montreal. 3 weeks in October and he gave up. I haven't "enjoyed" ex-Habs tanking or wished them to disappear from the NHL before Sammy came along. He made a lot of enemies and all he has to blame for it is himself.

The feel good story of the year would've him being signed by Omsk Avangard.

At 1:25 p.m., March 10, 2008, Blogger JoBu said...

Watching him with the Detroit Vipers over a decade ago, I swore that he was the second coming of Sergei Federov. Think Pavel Datsyuk with a better shot and that's what Samsonov looked like at the time. It's good to see him live up to a bit of that promise.

At 1:50 p.m., March 10, 2008, Blogger Daniel said...

Those are huge shoes to put him in JoBu. Federov, in his prime, could control a game in any situation. He could make the other teams best player disappear, kill penalties, play the point and as you saw last year, play defense. Samsonov scores, end of story, it is disrespectful to Federov.

At 3:23 p.m., March 10, 2008, Blogger WufPirate said...

Daniel, sure I'm a Canes fan, but I've seen every game Samsonov has played. He has been defensively sound in an offensive system that can be easily exploited. Notice that whole +11 thing.

At 7:57 a.m., March 13, 2008, Anonymous Scai said...

In Chicago Samsonov played mostly - if at all - on the fourth line with muckers like Burish and Adams, getting 9 minutes a night. If you want to destroy an offensively talented type of player like he is, that's the way to do it. Savard refused to put Samsonov in any place to succeed, forcing Tallon to dump him.
Laviolette knows how to use players to their strengths and get the best out of them - that's the difference between him and wanna-be NHL coaches of the Savardian type.


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