From The Ice

Henrik Samuelsson Could Get Serious Look in Arizona

Henrik Samuelsson Could Get Serious Look in Arizona
Cat Silverman

The Arizona Coyotes have been struck once again with the injury bug.

After losing both Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal to season-ending surgery at the start of 2015, the Coyotes are now down two more players who could arguably provide compensatory top six offense — and as a result, fans are getting a sneak peak at players like Henrik Samuelsson.

Jordan Szwarz is up from the Portland Pirates on emergency recall to replace winger Lauri Korpikoski in the lineup; now, Samuelsson is up while captain Shane Doan is out day to day with a lower body injury. It’s a safe bet that unless Doan is able to return to the lineup by Saturday, the young forward will finish out the season as a part of the Coyotes lineup.

For the Coyotes, it will take the Buffalo Sabres failing to lose either of their last two games in regulation to fall to thirtieth place overall. Had they won their game on Tuesday night (and had the Edmonton Oilers lost theirs), the team could have snuck into the third to last spot — but as it stands, the Coyotes are almost certainly walking away in Sunrise, Florida with Jack Eichel. At this point, the season is coming to a close — but getting a chance to see what Henrik Samuelsson can do one last time before the franchise goes on vacation is far from the worst thing in the world.

Although he started off a little lethargic in the AHL, Samuelsson has finally hit his stride at the AHL level — after struggling to produce offense in the first half of his rookie pro hockey season, the former first round pick has managed to fire off fourteen goals and twenty-one helpers in sixty-five games with the Portland Pirates. That puts him fifth on the team in scoring, just above Lucas Lessio and Justin Hodgman.

At the NHL level, the Scottsdale native — who stands at six foot three and could become the team’s next big top six power forward — has only appeared in two games; he was a recall back in late February, when injuries and lethargic offense were becoming a huge issue for the franchise. He has yet to record his first NHL point, although three shots in two games at least put him on the board as a player willing to record scoring chances against two pretty decent teams (Samuelsson appeared against both the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins).

It may seem like a frightening thing to watch the Coyotes place a twenty-year old forward on the ice in lieu of the captain who traveled to the desert with the franchise; considering Samuelsson has only been in two NHL games (and averaged bottom six minutes over both games, logging 11:34 ATOI against Boston and New York), that implies that the roster will require some serious shaking up.

Given the way the team has been playing, though — and no, that’s not meant to be a negative thing — adding a player who’s big-bodied and isn’t afraid to be physical may be the best-case scenario for both the team and Samuelsson.

Assuming Samuelsson is placed on a line with a few undersized players, he’ll be given the opportunity to prove whether he’s got the right balance of speed, offense, and physical aggression to make the NHL roster next season. The Coyotes have actually seen a near-equal number of scoring chances from players on all four lines — Tobias Rieder, Sam Gagner, and Craig Cunningham all recorded three or more quality scoring chances against the Calgary Flames earlier this week, with Cunningham finding the back of the net on one of them — so no matter who he’s paired with, the 21-year-old Coyotes call-up is likely to have a solid mentor on board. As he’s grown healthier over the course of the year — a concussion reportedly held him to limited minutes and scoring chances at the start of the 2014-2015 season — and he’s gained confidence in his rookie AHL season, Samuelsson has looked more like the promising prospect the Coyotes brought on board at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

They’ll take on the Vancouver Canucks in what could be Samuelsson’s third NHL appearance — and if he plays his cards right, he could earn a serious look as early as next fall.

  • bgguy626

    Cat: The Yotes could not have finished 30th because they had more ROW than the Sabres. That is the tie breaker for where teams place. I’ve read that in multiples posts, but they had 29th locked since the Sabres had so few ROW’s. I think Eichel will do nicely, don’t you?
    BG

    • Cat Marie

      If the Sabres had won at least two of their games and gotten an extra point in the third (or won all three), if the Coyotes had lost all three of their games in regulation they could have dropped to thirtieth. That would have given the Sabres one additional point than Arizona, rendering the ROW tiebreaker unnecessary as the two teams would not have been tied at that point. Obviously, Buffalo lost their final two in regulation and that became a non-possibility.

');doc.close(); })(document);
From The Ice
Cat Silverman
@catacarryon

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn’t going to be a Leafs fan. Her cousins may never forgive her for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, but they’re at least glad she’s a rink rat, too. She’s a pretty terrible goalie, but she’s got a good grasp on the game from her seat on the bench.

More in From The Ice

12 April 2014: Phoenix Coyotes Goalie Mark Visentin (40) prior to the start of the first period of the San Jose Sharks' NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Mark Visentin Gets Second Chance with Rockford IceHogs

Cat SilvermanJuly 8, 2015
MAR 03, 2015:  Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman (68) skates with the puck in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota. The Minnesota Wild beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a shoot out.

Mike Hoffman’s Arbitration Flying Under the Radar

Cat SilvermanJuly 8, 2015
Prague, 17.5.2015, Ice Hockey IIHF World Championships, Canada - Russia, goalie Sergei Bobrovski (RUS) ****NO AGENTS----NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY----NO AGENTS----NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

Would KHL Benefit From a Russian U18 Development Team?

Cat SilvermanJuly 8, 2015
April 18, 2015: St. Louis Blues' rightwing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring in the first period during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. The Blues won, 4-1.

Vladimir Tarasenko Cashes in With Eight-Year Deal

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
October 21, 2014: Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) skates with the puck during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Arizona Coyotes, held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  ***Editorial Use Only***

Mikkel Boedker Accepts One Year Deal With Coyotes

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
15 June 2015:  Tampa Bay Lightning Center Cedric Paquette (13) [9861] battles with Chicago Blackhawks Defenceman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) [8749] and Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Corey Crawford (50) [3760] in action during game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, in Chicago, IL.

Trevor van Riemsdyk Sees Extension with Chicago

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
sherrot

Who is Kole Sherwood, Columbus’ Newest Forward?

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
27 April 2015:  Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates his game winning goal against the New York Islanders at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. where the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Islanders, 2-1 in the deciding game of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov Gets Two Year Deal

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015
11 APR 2014: New Jersey Devils center Ryan Carter (20) goes for the puck in front of New York Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson (45) during the second period of the game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders played at the Prudential Center in Newark,NJ. The New York Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout.

Anders Nilsson Sees Rights Dealt Yet Again (Updated)

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015