The Vancouver Canucks are dealing with a season-ending injury to a player who perfectly fits into their system in Manny Malhotra. They’ll also be forced to play without Mikael Samuelsson for some time, although the Swedish winger is much more of a wild card than Malhotra.
Mark Spector reports that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault confirmed Samuelsson won’t travel with the Canucks for the rest of the series. Only time will tell if he’s able to play if the Canucks manage to get to the Stanley Cup finals, as well.
Samuelsson is dealing with a lower-body injury suffered during Game 5 of Vancouver’s series against the Nashville Predators. Honestly, though, there were quite a few people who were wondering if he should be on the ice before that injury took place. (A foolish Samuelsson turnover that ended up being a Predators shorthanded goal probably didn’t help, either.)
The numbers indicate two possibilities: Samuelsson was already dealing with an injury or he just was in a flat-out funk. After another solid 50-point season, his game really fell apart in the playoffs. He scored just one goal and two assists for three points in 11 games played. His shooting percentage was an awful 5 percent and he earned a -4 rating. Compare those numbers to his 15 points in 12 postseason games last year and it’s clear he fell far in the 2011 playoffs.
That being said, many will point to his Stanley Cup ring as a reason why his loss will be significant. That might be a bit overrated, but his 93 games of postseason experience is an intangible asset. He also shoots right-handed, which is a pretty rare trait on this team. Aside from Ryan Kesler and Jannik Hansen, the Canucks are pretty much loaded with lefties.
Either way, they’ll be forced to push further into the playoffs without Samuelsson. We’ll let you know if his status changes, though.