NHL Draft Prospect Profile #26: Henrik Samuelsson

Drafted 27th Overall by the Phoenix Coyotes.

Henrik Samuelsson comes from great bloodlines, he is the son of long time NHLer, and former Stanley Cup Champion Ulf Samuelsson.  His brother Philip was a 2009 2nd round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins and recently won the NCAA Championship with Boston College.  Henrik Samuelsson joins Edmonton Oil Kings teammate Griffin Reinhart as first round rated prospects for this years’ NHL Draft.

Right Wing/Center
Born Feb 7 1994 — Scottsdale, AZ
Height 6.02 — Weight 192 — Shoots R
2010-11 U.S. NTDP USHL 27 4 7 11 78 1
2011-12 Modo Hockey SEL 15 0 2 2 12 -7
2011-12 Oil Kings WHL 28 7 16 23 42 18 11 3 10 13 12

Samuelsson has had an up and down year, and his draft stock has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.  He started the year by leaving the US NTDP to go to Sweden and play for his father, who is coaching Modo this year in the Elitserien.  He also spent time with Modo’s U20 club.  Samuelsson has made it clear however that he considers himself an American and he plans to compete for USA Hockey internationally as he previously did at the World U17 Challenge. After struggling to find ice time in the Elitserien, Samuelsson returned to North American and joined the Oil Kings.  Much like Reinhart, Samuelsson’s late season contributions have been invaluable in helping the Oil Kings to a 20 game winning streak (now snapped) and a berth in the WHL final.

Samuelsson is a big bodied, power forward prospect.  He’s versatile as he’s been used at both Centre and Right Wing.  Samuelsson uses his size and strength to battle opponents for loose pucks on the boards and to plant himself in front of the net.  He has soft hands and a knack for banging in rebounds and tipping shots in close.  His huge frame is also an effective screen for opposing goalies.   Henrik has a good wrist shot and release, and he’s also good on one-timers.  Samuelsson has also shown a creative playmaking side, utilizing great vision, and great tape to tape passing skills to rack up the assists in Edmonton.  Henrik doesn’t shy away from traffic or from playing a physical game, and has been known to throw a big hit at times.  He’s also shown a bit of his father’s legendary mean streak.

Defensively Samuelsson is a conscientious back checker and strong positionally.  He is willing to use his size to be physical and again is often involved in battles for loose pucks.  Samuelsson is willing to block shots and understands how to cut down on the passing lanes.  As the son of a defensive defenceman, its no surprise that Henrik has that aspect to his game.

Skating wise, Samuelsson has good top end speed for a big man and is very strong and balanced on his skates.  He could however use some work on his first step quickness, on his acceleration and on his agility.  This is one area of his game that is a work in progress.  Like many 18 year olds, Samuelsson will also need some time and work in the weight room bulking up before he is ready for pro hockey.  Samuelsson is also a bit of a liability to take undisciplined penalties, once again proving the old adage of like father, like son.

Henrik Samuelsson is the prototypical power forward prospect that NHL teams love.  Like many big men, he may be a bit of a project but we think he’s got a ton of upside.  We think Samuelsson could develop into a player similar to Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings.

… and thats the Last Word.