After a disappointing 2013 season, the Phoenix Coyotes are in need of some good news. As they look ahead to the future, the 2012-13 performance of 2012 first round draft pick Henrik Samuelsson should provide them with some hope and optimism. The Coyotes took Samuelsson with the 27th overall pick in last summer’s draft, after he scored seven goals and picked up 23 points in 28 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings. This season saw the young center more than triple his scoring output in his first full season, and given the Coyotes’ occasional lack of scoring power the team should be very excited about the potential for Samuelsson to help out in the future.
In 69 games with the Oil Kings this season, Samuelsson scored 33 goals while adding 47 assists. He also picked up 97 penalty minutes, and elevated his game in the postseason. He scored another 11 goals and added eight assists in 22 playoff games, as his size (6-3, 208) continued to be one of his best assets. The Coyotes rewarded his performance with a three-year entry-level deal, and he will be given the chance to impress at training camp next season and possibly win a full-time roster spot.
If Samuelsson doesn’t crack the roster next season, he’s not that far off. Another solid season in Edmonton can only help his development, and would certainly have the Oil Kings in good shape to again reach the WHL Finals. The Coyotes may not know who will own the team next season or where they will be playing, but they have at least one prospect who provides hope for the future.