Henrik Samuelsson has been recalled from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League (AHL) Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced on Wednesday.
Jordan Martinook was assigned to Portland in a corresponding move.
The Coyotes drafted Samuelsson in the first round (27th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Since then, he’s had an impressive and consistent start to his young career. During the 2012-13 season with the Edmonton Oil Kings, he scored 33 goals, 47 assists and tallied 80 points in 69 games. A year later, he improved on those totals in less games. Through the 2013-14 season, he scored 35 goals, 60 assists and 90 points in 65 games.
He also led the Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup Championship scoring four goals, four assists and picking up eight points in only five Memorial Cup games during the 2013-14 season.
This has been his first year in the AHL with Portland. The step up in skill level has brought him back down to earth a bit. In 50 AHL games, Samuelsson has recorded 10 goals, 15 assists and 25 points. The drop off in offensive was to be expected as he made the jump from Junior level of the Western Hockey League (WHL) to the AHL.
Despite that drop off in offense, Samuelsson can only help the Coyotes in what has become a forgettable season. He will be an important piece of the Coyotes as they continue to build a better on ice product.
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Samuelsson has been one of Arizona’s top prospects and his NHL debut has been eagerly awaited by the team and fans.
During his time with the Coyotes before this season started in practice and preseason, he had a way to make things happen in the offensive zone. If he wasn’t the one scoring, he was doing something to set a goal or quality scoring chance up.
Basically, he has a nose for the net. Something that Arizona has desperately needed this season.
Many Coyotes fans, myself included, have been waiting for the “youth movement” to happen ever since it was made clear that this season was going to be a lost one. Well, that youth movement is here, Samuelsson isn’t the start, but he continues the trend.
The 21-year-old now joins a very young Coyotes team. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is 23, Brandon Gormley is 23, Tobias Rieder is 22, Lucas Lessio is 22 and Connor Murphy is only 21 as well. It doesn’t really get any more youthful than that.
So, this is it, there are still a few prospects yet to make the call, but still, the youth movement is here and it will more than likely continue for the rest of this season. Which is fine, the season is lost in terms of making the playoffs, but that makes for a good opportunity to give the prospects some time to grow and get accumulated to the NHL. There will be some growing pains, but it’s better to get them started and out of the way sooner rather than later.
There has been no word on when Samuelsson will make his NHL debut, but it’s likely that he will be in the lineup for Thursday night’s game.
The Coyotes will be playing in New York against the Rangers on Thursday. Henrik’s father, Ulf Samuelsson is an assistant coach for the Rangers. His NHL debut could come against his father at Madison Square Garden.
For a player making his NHL debut, I can’t imagine it gets any better than that.