When word came down that David Booth had been traded last night there was mass chaos to define why the Panthers would give up one of their big scorers. However, after 30 seconds of stat sheet checking, it’s clear that Booth has not really been scoring all that much lately. Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon made his position clear when he said “We are in the performance business and I was not happy with our team’s performance, especially in the last two games… We felt as far as an organization we get two top NHL players in return”
So enter in new/old Florida Panther Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson has played for the San Jose Sharks, Pittsburg Penguins, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, a short previous stint with the Panthers and he won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. That’s a considerable amount of teams to play on since breaking into the league with the Sharks in 2000-2001.
The biggest question for Florida Panthers fans then becomes, what do we get in Mikael Samuelsson? The answer, skill and experience.
Samuelsson averaged 14:06 of ice time last season for the Canucks scoring 18 goals and 33 assists last season for a total of 50 points. Not too shabby a season, but more importantly, it is 10 points more than David Booth scored last season. In fact Samuelsson has not scored less than 40 points in a season in his career, with the expectation 06-07 with the Red Wings when he was limited to 53 games.
Samuelsson was a big part of the powerplay in Vancouver and played on the top two lines most of the time. He will be a legitimate scoring threat for the Panthers and should help improve the powerplay. Though it does seem strange to be trying to improve on a powerplay that scored 5 goals in one game just one week ago. As a good friend used to say “It just keeps getting better!”
Samuelsson is also the first Florida Panther to be a part of the very exclusive Triple Gold Club. This exclusive club is for people who have won an Olympic gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, and the Stanley Cup. Samuelsson won gold medals with the Swedish national team at the 2006 Winter Olympics, the 2006 World Championships, and the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008. There are twenty-five players that are members of the Triple Gold Club—nine Swedes, eight Canadians, six Russians, and two Czechs. Some notable members are Scott Niedermayer, Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, Jaromír Jágr, Nicklas Lidström, Chris Pronger and Jonathan Toews. That’s pretty good company.
The end result is this. The Panthers got better this weekend. Samuelsson will be a big part of the team going forward, and Florida Panthers fan should be excited to have a player of his skill on the roster. The Panthers needed to get the message that you can’t just win with a Deboring defensive style. You must score to win, and this addition will help them do just that. “Samuelsson… is coming off back-to-back 50-point seasons. He’s a real useful player.” Dale Tallon told the media, “He can play the point on the power play and has size and a big shot that we sorely need. Sturm gives us a player that can kill penalties. He’s scored 20 or more goals seven times in his career, and it just gives us more options and more depth in the organization.”
“We treat everybody equally. They better pull up their socks…It’s about production, it’s about performance and it’s about the Panthers.” – Dale Tallon
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