He was a threat to score on any given shift, and was slated to break out with a 40- or even a 50-goal campaign.
Five years and six different teams later, the 3.5 million dollar man has been tossed aside more often than not.
So what happened to this former prodigy?
Maybe it was the simple fact that Samsonov never fit into the new system. Or maybe he snapped under the pressure, or had been artificially boosted by playing with the likes of Joe Thornton for a couple of years.
Whatever it was, Sergei Samsonov is now no more than a huge hit to a team's payroll.
His $3.5 million salary makes him one of the most expensive checking-line wingers in the game. After claiming him off waivers from Chicago, the Hurricanes became Samsonov's fifth team in less then five years (Boston, Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago, Carolina).
So far this season, he has yet to register a goal, and is on pace for just 10 points, or $350 thousand per point.
In his fifth year in Boston, Samsonov's ice time started to diminish, his points dipped, and at the trade deadline he was dealt to Edmonton. He delivered 16 points in 19 games—not bad, but the Oilers were hoping for much more.
During the 2006 offseason, Samsonov elected to sign with the Canadiens for a two-year deal. What the Canadiens got was a $3.5 million bench-warmer who registered nine goals through 63 games.
The fans in Montreal debated who was more useless—Samsonov or Alexei Kovalev. Much to everyone's relief, the former was dealt to Chicago before the end of the season.
Once again a team was seduced by Samsonov's potential.
Once again a team was sorely mistaken.
The Blackhawks thought the former first-round pick (eighth overall in 1997) could help Martin Havlat and Robert Lang on their first line. Instead, after his worst start to a season at any level, Samsonov was placed on waivers and claimed by Carolina.
After claiming him from reentry waivers, the Hurricanes will only be dinged for half of Samsonov's salary. Even then, $1.7 million a season is quite a lot for four assists.
I'm guessing that Samsonov will be either the third or fourth line LW in Carolina, as the 'Canes have Whitney and Stillman on the left side, and both are putting up numbers.
Chad Larose is more of a checking winger, so with Ladd struggling, he can be sent down without going through waivers.
Unless a team is blind and dumb and offers Samsonov another $3 million dollar per season after his current contract expires, I doubt he'll be in North America next year.
With very little interest in his services, I'd expect him to go back to Europe to finish off his career.