Appreciating Mikael Samuelsson
In the wake of the David Booth trade to Vancouver, there’s been a lot of sentimental thought around Mikael Samuelsson leaving. In fact, I’m a little surprised at how attached people have become to Samuelsson to the extent it’s been expressed that the Canucks lost out on this trade. All I’m going to say is, we got DAVID BOOTH.
Now this isn’t about Booth, it’s about Samuelsson. The Canucks walked away like bandits in this trade but Samuelsson won’t be forgotten in Vancouver. When you look at Samuelsson and what he was brought to Vancouver for, there’s no doubt it was because of his Stanley Cup rings and playoff experience. Samuelsson came in with a connection to the Sedins and he brought with him a maturity this young Canucks team didn’t know. He came to this team because Mike Gillis wanted him to take his team one step closer to being contenders.
If you think back closely, Samuelsson isn’t the first Swede to have served a similar purpose. When the Canucks signed Mats Sundin, he came in and had a huge influence on developing Ryan Kesler and the Sedins. He didn’t hang around for long, but there’s no doubt he’s had a lasting impact on those players, something they’ve admitted as well.
Samuelsson’s experience was supposed to kick in at the tail end of a long playoff run but injury prevented him from contributing his largest asset, experience, at the time it was needed most. That said though, his time in Vancouver was served well. He stepped up when he needed to, but most importantly, he taught this team a part of the game that will be with these players long after he’s left. The Canucks as a whole have now almost been there. They’ve come close. The pain that comes from being so close yet so far is something ingrained in every single player and it breeds a determinism and playoff maturity that Samuelsson can’t teach them. It’s a lesson they already know.