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Numbers Game: Canucks Get Samuelsson

Scott Cullen
7/6/2009 9:13:32 PM
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The Canucks went made their first big signing of the off-season, getting a big Swedish winger, who happens to have experience playing with their two most productive forwards.

Numbers Game takes a look at the Canucks' addition of Mikael Samuelsson.

The Canucks Get: RW Mikael Samuelsson.

32-year-old Mikael Samuelsson has put up back-to-back 40-point seasons for the Detroit Red Wings, where he played with exceptional talents, yet the move to Vancouver might be one of the few teams Samuelsson could join and still expect to maintain his level of productivity.

Given his attributes -- to say nothing of his experience on their wing in the 2006 Olympics -- Samuelsson could be a nice fit alongside the Sedins next season.  Before the Canucks finally struck gold when Alex Burrows joined the Sedins last season, the team had also tried big wingers like Steve Bernier and Taylor Pyatt on the line, with little success.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Samuelsson has the size to play the cycle game with the twins, he's skilled enough and owns a heavy shot that helped him score 20 of his 40 points last season on the power play, so he could be an effective complementary winger with the man advantage.

Even if he doesn't end up skating with the Sedins, Samuelsson can be a solid two-way player among the Canucks' top six forwards.  He's signed to a three-year deal for $7.5-million, so the Canucks would probably like to get more than just checking duty out of Samuelsson, but expectations have to be realistic for a player whose career highs are 23 goals and 45 points, both set in 2005-2006 with the Red Wings.

Samuelsson's departure from Detroit will help provide more top nine ice time for promising forwards Jiri Hudler and Ville Leino, who are both skilled, but neither can match Samuelsson's size.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca

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