Mikael Samuelsson has been a disappointment this year to say the least (why do I end up writing about disappointments so much?). With three points in 26 games this year, even Stephen Weiss is out scoring him despite being injured half the year. Maybe it’s a former Panthers thing, maybe he is struggling with different linemates this year, but it just hasn’t been working out. This was obvious to some from the start of the year, and today, the day arrived that many were speculating about before the season even started.
According to Mlive.com, the Red Wings have placed Samuelsson on waivers, with the intention of sending him to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL once he clears. In the minors, he will save the Wings $100,000 in cap space due to being over 35 years old, but most importantly, clearing a roster spot for either Johan Franzen or Joakim Andersson to take, potentially returning from injury tomorrow against the Panthers.
There’s a couple potential motives behind sending Samuelsson rather than someone who wouldn’t have to go through waivers, such as Riley Sheahan or Luke Glendening or Tomas Jurco. These three have earned a roster spot far more than Samuelsson, who has spent much of the year as a healthy scratch. The possibility always exists that another team picks him up. It’s possible that my headache means I have a brain tumor too, but that doesn’t mean it’s very likely. Nevertheless, if Samuelsson is claimed, it helps the Red Wings immensely.
Samuelsson playing in the AHL could hit his pride hard and get him to retire, opening up his roster spot and cap space for the Wings. This too is not very likely, as the man will still almost make $3 million a year regardless of which league he is playing in. Not likely, but possible.
The most likely outcome in this scenario is Samuelsson plays in the AHL and suddenly becomes a lot more open to waiving his no trade clause. Playing for the worst NHL team is better than playing for the best AHL team any day of the week. There’s a good chance that Samuelsson has used that NTC to his advantage, wanting to hang around the Wings as long as possible. With that door now closing, the 37-year-old winger may open himself up to more opportunities. In the event that he is traded, the Wings will no doubt have to retain some of his salary in the move, but something is far better than nothing as things stand right now.
Time will tell what this move results in. Other teams in the league will have until noon tomorrow to decide if they want to take him on.