The salary cap-induced exodus from the Detroit Red Wings continues, as winger Mikael Samuelsson leaves for a three-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks, the team reported today. Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports had it at $7.5 million total, or a $2.5 million cap hit; Samuelsson was at a $1.2 million hit last season.
For the Red Wings, this is the fourth player they've lost in the Frenzy, along with forward Tomas Kopecky (Chicago Blackhawks), goalie Ty Conklin (St. Louis Blues) and perennial championship voodoo idol Marian Hossa (Blackhawks).
Fans and observers are naturally of the mindset that "hey, it's the Red Wings, they can fill the voids" and lord knows they're stocked with forwards (Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino if he's re-signed) who will have expanded roles next season. But Samuelsson was a very good fit for their style and contributed some essential offense down the lineup.
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This one will hurt a bit, even if his departure was expected due to financial constraints.
As for the Canucks, it's a nice move. He's a 40-point guy with size (6-2, 210) and oodles of the kind of postseason success that locker room needs. Forwards like him have gotten looks on the top two lines for the Canucks before, so his spot in the lineup's a bit of a mystery. But Samuelsson, who'll be 33 in December, has the versatility to pull off different roles. At the very least, a good depth move.
Now it's onto the blue line for Canucks GM Mike Gillis.