Our season preview series continues today with some thoughts on forward Mikael Samuelsson.
What we remember:
After a career-high 30 goals in 2009/2010, Mikael Samuelsson lit the red lamp just 18 times in 2010/2011 as he tried to play through a leg injury for much of the regular season. The only current Canucks player to ever get his name on the Stanley Cup, Samuelsson’s postseason was also cut short – he didn’t play again after game 5 of the Canucks second round series against the Nashville Predators – and he underwent sports hernia surgery.
What we expect:
Samuelsson is one of the players the Canucks will count on the most to provide some secondary scoring while Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond recover from their respective injuries. He’ll most likely start in a top-six role as well as replace Christian Ehrhoff’s spot playing point on the powerplay. In a nutshell, he’ll be expected to produce and be given every opportunity to do so. It won’t hurt that he’s entering his contract year.
Does Samuelsson have another 30-goal season in him? The reality is, his 18 goals last year is closer to his four-year average while playing with Detroit (17 goals per season).
He said it:
“The biggest thing is being in it again mentally. Start now because it’s going to be a long season. We have the pieces to do some damage again, but that being said it’s not a guarantee. Anything can happen. We should make the playoffs and go from there.”