August 22, 2012

Former Bruin Samsonov eyeing NHL comeback

By Jesse Connolly

After sitting out the entirety of the 2011-12 season, Sergei Samsonov is aiming to make a return to the National Hockey League.

The Edmonton Journal reported that the former Bruin was going to land in San Jose, where’d he battle for a roster spot at Sharks’ training camp.

CSN’s Joe Haggerty confirmed there was no pact in place – yet – between Samsonov and the Sharks, according to the former Calder Trophy winner’s agent, Neil Abbott. The initial report out of Edmonton mistakenly thought Igor Larionov was the former Calder Trophy winner’s agent.

“Sergei is definitely making a comeback,” Abbott told CSNNE.com. “He is skating with Igor in Detroit, but Larionov is not his agent. I am speaking with several teams and we have not made a deal with the San Jose Sharks.”

The possibility of the Russian winger signing with the Sharks is certainly an amusing one for Bruins’ fans, as the deal would reunite Samsonov with Joe Thornton – who was selected No. 1 overall the same year Boston drafted Samsonov. The promising pair spent seven-plus seasons together in the Hub of Hockey. In a combined 1,046 games for Boston, Thornton and Samsonov racked up 830 points.

Samsonov, who will turn 34 in October, most recently played for the Panthers in 2010-11, arriving in Florida via trade from Carolina at the deadline. In 78 total games that year, he posted 13-27-40 totals.

Selected eighth overall by the B’s back in 1997, the fleet-footed, shifty winger averaged just shy of 25 goals a year for Boston in his first five seasons in the league. But injuries, namely to his wrist, cost Samsonov significant playing time over the next three seasons.

He was dealt away to the Oilers in March 2006, as the Bruins began to blow up their roster. After helping Edmonton advance to the finals that spring (15 points in 24 playoff contests), the 5-foot-8 forward struggled in both Montreal and Chicago over the next few years before carving out a role with the 'Canes.

In 888 career NHL games, Samsonov has 235 goals and 336 assists for a total of 571 points. 

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.