Samuelsson has just been lights out since Sweden looked him over for the Olympic Roster and since he had some choice words for the Swedish Hockey Federation. Unfortunately he’s now on the injured reserve and despite the implications of that injury to the Canucks offense, it’s unfortunate to see the guy go down whilst setting so many career bests in his 10th year in the NHL. When you look at his numbers and the way he’s re-sparked the Sedins he’s done more for this team than just bring us offense when it was needed. Re-sparking the Sedins goes a long way while on this stretch drive.
Samuelsson’s numbers show nothing but consistent improvement across the board. He’s improved in nearly every facet of his game and the numbers speak for themselves:
|39 GP (pre-snub)||10||14||24||2||117||8.5%||17:11|
|31 GP (post-snub)||20||9||29||12||93||21.6%||17:28|
He’s doubled his goal output, and put out more points in less games. He’s shooting on goal as much as he was at the beginning of the season, but now the goals are going in more and his shooting percentage has more than doubled. His play’s been reflected in his ice-time too. We all know Vigneault rewards the hot hand and Samuelsson’s averaged a bit more ice time per game recently.
It’s unfortunate to see him go down to injury at this point in the season. This career year was something I was looking towards seeing and now out 2-3 weeks means Samuelsson’s regular season is all but done. This means two things. The first thing is, this is similar to the curious case of Wellwood last year. When Wellwood had a fire lit under his ass, he responded. Samuelsson’s fire was the snubbing and it’s worked to the Canucks advantage in every way. The second thing is, Samuelsson’s due to return around the time that the playoffs start. Having a guy like him return at playoff time, with a pair of legs rested 3 weeks, will be great.
There’s a silver lining to every situation and Samuelsson’s veteran presence and playoff experience is not only going to key to the Canucks playoff run, but a fresh Samuelsson with all those attributes could be deadly in the playoffs. The Swedish member of the Triple Gold Club has had a great season so far, but once he returns it only serves to get better. Samuelsson who was key in the Olympic run for the Swedes back in Turin has some chemistry with the Sedins and as the Sedins second trigger man he brings chemistry to a team that defines what a team should be. His leadership on this team has been key and the most important thing is he’s leading by example. With play like this, the three week break will be his refresher and it’s exciting to think of the prospect of what he could do in the NHL’s second season.