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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.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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