Mikael Samuelsson might not be seen as a big acquisition for the Detroit Red Wings this offseason, but he brings two things to Detroit that were badly needed: both a right-handed shot and the shoot-first mentality to use it.
Those who remember Samuelsson on the Wings probably have mixed emotions about his return to Hockeytown. He was rarely consistent with his scoring touch and cannot in any sense of the world be counted as an “elite” winger in today’s NHL, however the right-handed Swede does replace the 20-25 goal potential that a Juri Hudler would have, and even at a cheaper price. He knows the Wings organization, players, and style of play already, and therefore should slip quite seamlessly into the lineup. Supposedly, Samuelsson will be put onto the second line with Zetterberg and Filppula - that is, if there are no trades before the start of the season.
Playing with Zetterberg and Filppula, two naturally-gifted passers, would combine well with Samuelsson. One of the issues last year with the Zetterberg-centered line (although there were few), was that often when it came down to taking the shot, it would almost exclusively land on Zetterberg’s shoulders. As the season progressed, it seemed more teams were able to predict this line of thinking, and production slowed down.
Additionally, Wings coach Mike Babcock will not have to worry about taking more shots during the power play with Samuelsson playing on the left-wing wall. The Wings were often pinned down to one or two options at most with so many left-handed shooters on their top two PP units, resulting in greater predictability and a sharp drop in production. Samuelsson will give the Wings a solid shot from the left circle and should open up the ice a bit more for Datsyuk or Filppula to find an open man.
Love him or hate him, he is who the Wings got. However in this writer’s opinion, it’s just another under-the-radar signing that will push the Wings in the right direction.