Three consecutive early exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs have left the Detroit Red Wings looking back and longing for a few years ago when the Wings won a Stanley Cup and nearly closed out another. And what better way to do that, than to bring back players who skated with the Cup back in 2008. Mikael Samuelsson has rejoined the Red Wings after spending the last three seasons playing with the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers. His presence back in Hockeytown will hopefully convince Lord Stanley’s Cup to make another appearance as well.
Stop me when you’ve heard this before, but the Red Wings’ have another Swede on the roster. Samuelsson was born in Mariefred, Sweden on December 23rd of 1976. Samuelsson made it to the Junior level of Sweden in 1994, and has been playing professional hockey ever since. The San Jose Sharks drafted the Swedish winger in the 5th round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, but Mikael ended up playing only four games for the Sharks in 2000, with his only contributions coming in the form of three shots. He then bounced around for the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Florida Panthers, but he never really found his feet until 2005.
Detroit picked up Samuelsson in 2005, and his career absolutely took off from there. Samuelsson registered 45 points in his first full season with Detroit, in what was his best individual season for the club. His stats weren’t quite the same the next few seasons, but the Red Wings were a better team those years, especially in 2008 when they became champions. Neither the Red Wings nor Samuelsson really wanted to divorce after the 2009 playoffs, but the business end of hockey took over. Samuelsson played well for the Canucks and Panthers in the last few seasons, but it was time to come back to Hockeytown.
Expect Mikael Samuelsson to spend time firing his powerful shot on the powerplay, and should find himself on either the second or the third offensive line once the season gets underway. The Red Wings are counting on Samuelssons ability on the powerplay to try and correct some of their man-advantage issues from last season.
Away from the ice, Samuelsson is married to his wife Sandra, and they have two kids. He may still call Sweden home, but his NHL home is absolutely in Hockeytown.
And sometimes it’s just good to come home.