Sergei Samsonov has been one of the more underrated players in the NHL during the past two months. The Russian-born sniper has paid dividends to the Carolina Hurricanes in the midst of their Southeast dominance.
Samsonov was the eighth overall pick in the NHL draft in 1997, by the Boston Bruins. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy that season (rookie of the year), and was elected to the All-Star game in 2000-2001, as a member of the Bruins.
Since then, Sergei has bounced around from Boston, to Edmonton, to Montreal, and now Carolina-where it seems to be his home.
Sergei was picked up off of waivers on January 8 by Carolina. In 27 games played with the Canes, Samsonov has registered 24 points and a +/- rating of a +11.
There was some legitimate concerns when Carolina fans caught wind of veteran-captain Rod Brind'Amour's season ending ACL injury, on February 15th.
However, since then, the Russian-Sniper has played the last 11 games, in the absence of Rod, and has tallied seven goals, five assists and a +5. He is by-far, the most underrated player on this playoff team. Moreover, he has been the main reason for Carolina's success.
Staal and Ward need to continue their stellar play,and to help carry Carolina deep. However, it's the presence of Samsonov, to assist in the load.
"One man's trash, is another man's treasure" is the first thing I think of when it comes to Sergei Samsonov. He was my favorite player as a Bruin-by far. With his awesome speed and uncanny moves, he was the quintessential player for Boston. I even bought his jersey. He literally made everyone in Boston stand-up when he had the puck on his stick.
"What is Sergei gonna do now?" is what many Boston fans thought when he had possession of the puck. A slick deke on the D for a break-away? A ridiculous pass against the boards, back to himself?
The Bruins traded Samsonov for a second round draft pick and two-ham sandwiches, so to speak.
Now, I'm starting to sound like a bitter-ol' fan from Boston now. Almost a homer. But, just imagine for a second, if Harry-bleepin-Sinden didn't trade/move him, Joe Thornton, Mike Knuble or Brian Rolston.
But, that's not how the cards were dealt, here in Boston. The Hurricanes cashed-in on a steal-of-a- pickup with Sergei.
Will he get you 40/40 for 80+ points? Probably not. But, has he been the backbone, most underrated player, and maybe the MVP of the Hurricanes team in 08? Certainly, yes.
If Sergei continues his style of play, the Canes will carry on towards a Stanley Cup run.