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Samuelsson returns to Hockeytown

Veteran forward helped Wings win 2008 Stanley Cup

Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 6:37 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Samuelsson returns to Hockeytown

Mikael Samuelsson won a Stanley Cup in Detroit and will be reunited with many of his old teammates, like Justin Abdelkader, this fall. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – An old friend is making his return to Hockeytown.

Mikael Samuelsson, the Swedish right winger, who won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Red Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup squad, agreed to rejoin his former club Sunday afternoon with a two-year contract.

Samuelsson, now 35, scored 67 goals with 92 assists in 278 regular-season games with the Wings from 2005-06 to 2008-09. But Samuelsson’s stint in Detroit is probably best remembered for what he did on May 24, 2008 – scoring the first two goals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against Pittsburgh.

“We know him and he can skate,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He has the ability to chip in with some scoring, he has a real good shot and he can transport the puck up the ice on the power play. He’s a real good solid pro and again we know him. You see guys 38, 39, and 40-years-old getting three-year deals, but I think he’s a good, young 35 because of his ability to skate.”

Following the 2008-09 season, Samuelsson tested the free agency waters and landed himself an annual salary of $2.5 million from the Vancouver Canucks on a three-year contract. Samuelsson also saw an increase in ice-time, which was something that he desired. In his first year in Vancouver, he produced a career-best 30 goals, finishing five tallies behind Alex Burrows for the team lead in the category.

The first two seasons in Vancouver were the best two campaigns of Samuelsson’s NHL career and the only time – in North America or Europe – that he managed to put together back-to-back 50-point seasons.

Last October, the Canucks traded Samuelsson to Florida, where he also spent the 2003-04 NHL season.

Following the NHL locker season of 2004-05, Samuelsson signed a one-year deal to join the Wings. Playing mainly on the third line and in some power play situations, Samuelsson became quite an offensive asset in Detroit, scoring 23 goals with 22 assists in 71 games.

Samuelsson is the third unrestricted free agent signed by the Red Wings on Day 1 of the NHL’s open-market period. Detroit also signed goalie Jonas Gustavsson and Swiss forward Damien Brunner.

“We’ve got lot of cap space and we wanted to get our organization deeper,” Holland said of Sunday’s early signings. “We tried to bring some kids along and some haven’t come along like we had hoped. Gyustavsson we see a guy’s who is 6-3, 6-4 with experience in Toronto with their media, and he dealt with it pretty good. We want Gustuvsson to push Jimmy (Howard) to another level and we want Jimmy to push Gustuvsson, so we think we have some real good goaltending.”

As far as Brunner, whom Holland saw for the first time at the 2012 World Championship in May, “We love his speed and that he has a real high skill level and that he has a nose to the net.

“With Damien Brunner, with Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi and a healthy Danny Cleary, we’re hoping that with the development of the kids were getting a lot of bodies and we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80