The Arizona Coyotes made a lot of moves on Friday, the biggest coming via trade. The Coyotes shipped off Rob Klinkhammer and a conditional fifth round pick in exchange for defenseman Philip Samuelsson. Samuelsson is the brother of Coyotes' prospect Henrik Samuelsson.
To find out a little more about the newest Coyote, we consulted with Hooks Orpik from our friends over at PensBurgh.
Philip Samuelsson was a second round pick in 2009 for the Penguins, and a somewhat surprising one since he wasn't that highly ranked by the scouting services. But given his last name, the connection was obvious. His most eventful year was his draft+1 season he was a part of a Boston College team that won the National Championship (2010) and also played for the gold medal winning Team USA for the WJC's a few months earlier. In his second season at BC in 2010-111, he was a much bigger part of the team and performed well, and somewhat surprisingly decided to turn pro early after just his sophomore season.
Professionally, Samuelsson's had a bumpy journey. His rookie year of 2011-12 was split between the ECHL and AHL as he tried to get used to the professional game and make his transition. By the lockout season of 2012-13 he worked his way up to being a solid part of the AHL team, especially after the lockout ended and vets (Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait) left for the NHL when the lockout ended. By 2013-14, his third year pro, Samuelsson was still in the AHL, log-jammed there with other prospects like Olli Maatta and Simon Despres passing him up for NHL time.
Samuelsson got 5 games in the NHL in 2013-14, but only when there were 5 injuries to NHL defensemen. He only played 15:34 per game and was heavily shielded and protected with starts and low competition and returned back to the minors once health returned to Pittsburgh. However, to give him credit, Samuelsson didn't stand out as unworthy to take an NHL shift.
This year Samuelsson got passed up even further by Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington and was pretty much out of the team's plans with top-prospect Derrick Pouliot also in the picture. Samuelsson was waived (and cleared) after training camp, so it's a little surprising Arizona didn't just take him for free when they had the chance. At just 23 years old, he's still fairly young in the big scheme of things, and had he decided to play out all his college eligibility this would only be his second year in the pros. But he turned pro early, and even though he has probably improved and progressed each year, it wasn't enough with the insane amount of talent that Pittsburgh has in terms of young defensemen.
Samuelsson is a quiet "defensive" minded defenseman. Decent positioning and gap control with an emphasis on using his stick to break up plays, but given his name he's not afraid to throw his body around to make a hit or block a shot. His skating is decent, his size (6'2, 208) is solid. Offensively he's going to add very little, even at the AHL level he's not any sort of point producer and isn't going to lead a rush or take a power play shift or anything. At his best he will keep it simple and not be a very noticeable player.
Ideally, I think Samuelsson is a 3rd pairing NHL regular at his ceiling. His game has limitations still, I'm not convinced his skating is truly NHL worthy and he's not the best at puck control, passing and decision making in order to be a consistent or good enough all-around player. At worst though, he's a solid AHL player looking to make the transition/jump into the NHL that he may or may not be capable of or a #7 guy who is cheap and can add depth to a team.
Check out the other side of the Klinkhammer for Samuelsson deal from the Penguins' perspective.