Former NHL All-Star and long time teammate of Joe Thornton in Boston, Sergei Samsonov is gearing up to return to the NHL in 2012-13.
And he just may be reunited with his former captain, with whom he still exchanges text messages with every once in awhile.
Ive been friends with Sergei, we got drafted in the same year in Boston (1997) and weve had a great relationship. I still send him a text here and there and he sends me one, so yeah, we still have a relationship, Thornton said.
Hes a very skilled guy, and doesnt shy away from physical play. Hes a very, very solid player, and if he comes to camp here it would be great for us.
A report out of Edmonton surfaced last week that Samsonov would report to the Sharks on a professional tryout whenever training camp begins, and although CSNNE.coms Joe Haggerty debunked that, there is still a very good possibility Samsonov ends up in the Bay Area.
Samsonovs agent, Neil Abbott, told CSNCalifornia.com in an email on Monday that he is speaking with several teams and expects those talks to continue into September. The Sharks are believed to be one of those teams, although general manager Doug Wilson declined to comment.
After sitting out in 2011-12, Samsonov, 33, is ready to return to the NHL.
Sergei is healthy, fit and determined to make a successful comeback into the NHL, Abbott said. The labor uncertainty, however, is affecting the process and the looming lockout complicates the matter.
Samsonov, while a bit of a risk, would still add some needed depth to the Sharks forward group and could potentially fit in as the third line winger. He would be an upgrade to the since-departed Torrey Mitchell, has experience on the power play, and could even be reunited with Thornton if the Sharks attempt to balance out their scoring lines more than they did last season.
That seems agreeable to Thornton, as the pair skated together off-and-on during their seven-plus years as teammates with the Bruins.
It was so long ago, but I enjoyed playing with Sergei. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and is a very high end, skilled player, Thornton said. It would be nice to see him back after missing last year, to see what he can do.
In 2010-11, the last time he suited up in the NHL, Samsonov had 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points in 78 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. The 5-8, 188-pounder won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1997-98 and was named to the NHL All-Star team in 2001.