As per TSN’s article the Canucks have signed former Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson to a 3 year deal. The cap hit is expected to be about 2.5 million dollars which still leaves Gillis some room to play around with signing the likes of Sundin (rumours of his return to the Canucks have resurfaced again) and to go out and sign a free agent like Beauchemin, or absorb the cap hit of a player by the name of Kaberle who’s rumoured to be on his way to Vancouver.
Samuelsson is a great pick up by Gillis for a number of reasons, all almost as important as the fact that he doesn’t break the bank. He brings size to what will probably be the third line at 6-foot-2 210 pounds. Last season he had 40 points in the regular season and followed up with another 10 in the post season through the 23 game trip he and the Red Wings made to the Stanley Cup Final.
The newest Swede addition to the team also has several ties to Canucks players from his play in other organizations. He played with Luongo and Hordichuk in Florida, but more importantly he played with the Sedins on a line on team Sweden. I doubt that means he’s going to play on the first line with them next season, but should Alain Vigneault not waste a second and start line juggling, that might be a mix and match line made in heaven.
One of the most important things Samuelsson brings to the team is playoff experience. But not the type of playoff experience Sundin has, or the type that the Sedins have racked up. In the 4 seasons Samuelsson played with the Red Wings he only failed to make the Conference Finals once and that was in 05-06 when they were ousted by the Oilers in the first round. He’s been to the Cup Finals in back to back years, and has a Stanley Cup ring to his name after the Red Wings won in 07-08.
He becomes the 6th Swede to join the team and in 466 career NHL games, he has 208 points and 244 penalty minutes. He has also produced a career total of 35 points in 69 postseason games.
Gillis has been quiet so far at the deadline, but he’s not an impulse buyer the way Burke is. Gillis is smart, and has so far made calculated moves. This is just the first step in the Mike Gillis era, the first of many.