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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.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81