Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Confident Samsonov will Shine

Tuesday, 09.16.2008 / 10:55 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Confident Samsonov will Shine
As different as all the various season previews that have been trickling in over the last several weeks are, they all have plenty to say about one player: Sergei Samsonov.

Paul Branecky
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Some are “concerned” that he may not live up to his performance with the Hurricanes last season (32 points in 38 games), and some are less polite than that, saying he’s due to mail it in now that he has the security of a three-year deal.

The man who made that contract his number one priority this offseason, GM Jim Rutherford, obviously sees it differently.

”It’s funny how people form opinions on players when they don’t even see them in person or follow them,” said Rutherford.  “That’s a real danger for people to do that.  It’s probably the same people that said it was stupid for us to pick him up last year, and he was one of our best players from the time we picked him up.”

If you hadn’t followed Samsonov’s run with the Hurricanes last season very closely, it is easy to be skeptical.  Prior to joining the team via the waiver wire, he had been struggling in Chicago, posting no goals and only four assists in 23 games with the Blackhawks, culminating in a two-game stint in the AHL.

After that, it took him only four games with Carolina to equal his point total from Chicago, and he didn’t slow down for the rest of the season.  Only Eric Staal scored more goals, assists and points (42) than Samsonov did after joining the team on January 8.  He was good on the defensive end as well, posting a +6 plus/minus rating with Carolina, tied with Chad LaRose for tops among forwards in an offensive system that isn’t particularly friendly to that stat.

If you do think he’s just in it for the contract or the money this time around, he was an impending unrestricted free agent in Chicago, too, and wasn’t exactly on his way to a big payday at the time.  Someone of that mentality also would have capitalized on his own resurgence, tested the open market on July 1 and gone to the highest bidder.

Instead, he signed two weeks after the season ended on April 16, realizing that, after being on a few different teams where things didn’t work out, he had a pretty good thing going with the Canes.

”He’s real comfortable here, and he’s got his confidence,” said Rutherford.  “He got in a couple of situations where for whatever reason, not that they were bad situations, but he just wasn’t real comfortable.  But we like him a lot, he’s a highly-skilled player, he’s a true professional and I’m very confident he will continue to be one of our real good players.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 71 22 28 -12 50
J. Faulk 76 15 32 -19 47
E. Lindholm 75 16 21 -20 37
J. Skinner 71 18 13 -22 31
V. Rask 74 11 20 -13 31
N. Gerbe 72 9 17 -13 26
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. McClement 76 7 13 -5 20
J. Staal 40 4 16 -6 20
J. Liles 51 2 17 -8 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 22 5 .909 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60