GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Henrik Samuelsson averaged more than a point per game for the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings in 2012-13 and his future is looking bright.
“I think he had a real good season and he established himself as a top player on a top team in the WHL,” Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said. “His offensive numbers were excellent and I think he took a big step forward. We’re really happy with how he played this year. He showed that he is everything that we thought he was. He’s big, he’s strong, and he’s what we need; with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone he’s a dangerous player.”
Samuelsson, whom the Coyotes selected with the 27th overall pick in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, notched 80 points (33 goals, 47 assists) in 69 regular-season games for Edmonton. He continued to be a reliable scorer in the postseason and he finished second on the team in goals (11) and third in points (19) in 22 games. He notched three multi-goal playoff games and five of his 11 postseason goals were game-winners.
The Portland Winterhawks recently defeated Edmonton, four games to two, in the WHL Finals.
“It was an exciting playoffs for our team,” Samuelsson said. “We made it to the finals again. It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted, but it was a great experience for our team and it was a lot of fun.”
After winning its first two series in a combined nine games, Edmonton was matched with rival Calgary in the Eastern Conference Finals. Samuelsson chipped in six points as he and his teammates secured a 4-3 series win.
The Oil Kings then were matched in the WHL Finals against Portland, a team led by defenseman Seth Jones - the projected first overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The series got off to a good start for Edmonton, thanks in large part to Samuelsson, who had a pair of goals that helped propel his team to a 4-1 victory in Game 1. But Portland won four of the next five games to win the series and earn a berth in the Memorial Cup.
“They have a great team,” said Samuelsson, when talking about Portland. “Their defense played really well throughout the series and they have smooth, small-skilled forwards that really hurt us, but it was never a dull moment in that series. It was up-and-down, down-and-back. So, it was a great series to be a part of.”
He added: “I think right now I’m just trying to forget about the loss. It’s only been a couple of days. It’s still going to sting when I see tweets and stuff about the Memorial Cup, knowing that we could’ve been there if we would’ve won a couple more games.”
Samuelsson, who learned to play hockey while growing up in the Valley, already has returned to Arizona for some rest before beginning his preparation for next season.
“I’m spending a couple weeks here in Scottsdale and then after that I’m going to California to train with my dad (Ulf) and my brother (Philip, a second-round selection by Pittsburgh in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft),” he said.
Samuelsson, who also impressed the Coyotes’ brain trust with his penalty killing this season, will take part in the team’s annual Prospect Development Camp in July.
“This summer will be an important one for Henrik,” Treliving said. “Like many of our young players, he needs to work on his conditioning level and focus on developing his body. So, he'll be here at our camp and we'll see how that goes.”
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