A Detroit Red Wings team that by no means looks like a lock to reach the postseason made no major deals leading up to the trade deadline, apparently a result of management’s faith in the team’s current roster. With the potential for the Red Wings to get injured players Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson and Darren Helm back at some point there is some hope for a more solid roster to finish out the season. Regardless of how the 2013 campaign ends for Detroit, the offseason signing of Samuelsson to a two-year, $6 million deal continues to be one of the biggest mistakes the team has made in recent seasons.
Samuelsson won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008 before leaving to pursue a bigger payday with the Vancouver Canucks. He had the best season of his career in 2009-10, scoring 30 goals and putting up 53 points for the Canucks. His production declined slightly the following season, and he was traded to the Florida Panthers in the early stages of last season. The Red Wings brought him back thinking they were adding a veteran forward who could play on the top two lines, but injuries have limited Samuelsson to just four games this season. When he has been in the lineup, the Swedish winger has not been very effective. He has just one assist for the season, playing in the first two games in January, one game in February, and in a Mar. 31 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. With the impressive play of young prospects like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar this season, it’s disappointing to see a roster spot continue to go to Samuelsson when he is healthy.
The two-year deal has a full no-trade clause, so there are few options for the Red Wings to get rid of the underperforming forward. They could use a buyout on him in the summer, but that doesn’t seem like general manager Ken Holland’s style. If the Red Wings miss the playoffs, there no doubt will be some major changes coming and getting rid of Samuelsson would be a great starting point.