Saturday, June 16, 2007


Canadiens Say "So Long, Sammy"

by Jes

Habs GM Bob Gainey managed to find another sucker to take away one of the Habs' bloated contracts when he pawned off malcontent Sergei Samsonov to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The bounty? Jassen Cullimore, Tony Salmelainen. and one less headache.

"Considering we didn't have plans for Sergei Samsonov in our organization for next season, our options were either to buy out his contact or to trade him in order to allow us to save valuable cap room over the next two seasons," Gainey said in a release.

How bad was Sergei Samsonov? How about just 9 goals and 26 points in 63 games last season? These were, by a country mile, the worst numbers of his career. I'm still amazed that he performed so poorly.

While Sergei never fit into the Habs passive, defense-first style of play, Sammy is squarely to blame for his putrid performance. Instead of being a team player and working his butt off, Sergei whined about how he was 'hard done by', and how signing with the Canadiens was a big mistake.

What a team player, eh?

For all of his mad skills, Samsonov has never shown that he can be a star player without the aid of one Joe Thornton. Combine that with his albatross of a contract ($3.525mil against the cap next season), and you get a player that most any sane person wouldn't want on their team.

The Hawks, however, have never been all that sane.

Still, this is a solid move for both clubs.

If there is any team that needs an offensive boost, it's the hapless Blackhawks.
If there is an offensive-style coach that Samsonov might enjoy playing for, it's Denis Savard.

The Hawks have some cap space to burn, and no prospects that Samsonov would be blocking from developing. Putting Sammy on the Power Play with Havlat and Handzus/Ruutu would probably produce a fair bit of offense.

As for the Habs, they clear precious cap space and get rid of a player who was a poison to the team. Is it any wonder why Alexei Kovalev was getting so whiny?

* James Mirtle adds his take on the issue. Apparently, the Habs save just $1mil in cap space. Aw, well, that's still decent and worth the price to get rid of Samsonov.

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The thing is, the salary saved is between buying out Samsonov or buying out Cullimore. The Blackhawks couldn't buy anyone out this offseason due to hitting the max for them, so swung a deal with the Habs and unloaded Salmelainen as well.

The difference between buying out Samsonov and buying out Cullimore is where the just more than $1-million figure comes from, and it will be split over the next two years.

A minor impact, really, but an impact nonetheless.
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