Between picks 17 and 110, the New Jersey Devils as of now will be watching the NHL Draft from the sidelines. Ray Shero has proven himself to be very savvy in trading since coming to New Jersey, which means that come June when the draft actually goes down, Jersey’s Team may have a second or third rounder back. Today we look at a player who projects to be in that third round area; for the second day in a row here at AAtJ, we will look at a Samuelsson whose father played in the NHL (though today Ulf is the father, not Kjell) as Adam Samuelsson is our player of focus.
Who is Adam Samuelsson?
Samuelsson was born on June 21, 2000 in White Plains, New York; he already has an NHL-sized frame at 6’5” and a weight of 210 pounds according to his Team USA Hockey bio page. Elite Prospects lists him as 30 pounds heavier (240) which seems quite the stretch for a soon to be 18 year old, so I originally assumed this was an EP error here, but as you’ll see later on, there is some discrepancy. Regardless, as a defender with a left handed shot, the Devils should be certain to take a look at him, as that fills one of their two shortage areas. Here is his bio and statistics courtesy of Elite Prospects.
He spent this past season with the United States National Development Team’s U-18 program where he posted 4 goals and 20 assists over 62 games. Also of note is his 94 penalty minutes; when you see a number that high, it’s easy to believe the player is taking a lot of penalties, but it could be Samuelsson being the go to guy to stand up for his teammates. I’d like to know a bit more about the penalties he took, before counting that as a negative, but it’s still worth bearing in mind. Also of note, Adam is committed to Boston College for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
Where is he Ranked?
NHL Central Scouting: #77 (North American Skaters) Note: This was a drop of 11 spots from the midterm rankings.
Dobber Prospects: #90
The Draft Analyst: #86 (as of January - up from #237 in September 2017)
Based on the few available projections of where he has been ranked, it appears that Samuelsson will be taken in the middle to late parts of the third round, though if more defenders go earlier, I could see him sneaking into the early parts of the third.
What Others Say About Adam Samuelsson
USA Today had a small blurb on Samuelsson in an article where they profiled a number of American players whose fathers had played in the NHL:
He’s a monstrous 6-5, 240-pounder. He’s the son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, who was known for living on the edge of rule book when he played in the 1980s and 1990s. Ulf Samuelsson already has two other sons who were drafted,
“He was a tough guy so it is always fun to look up on Google and see what he was doing,” Adam Samuelsson said. “It makes me laugh.”
Not much additional info is given to us here, but it does dispute his USA bio and agree with EP’s vital statistics. If the 240 lbs. is true, if Samuelsson uses his frame to his advantage, he could be one of the mid-round picks that sees NHL time sooner rather than later.
Borrowing from one of our own, Jeff Cox of SBN’s College Hockey had this take of Samuelsson’s game:
The six-foot-three native of Rye, New York has good mobility for a player of his size and age. He has an above average initial pivot and has an adequate stride. His reach will certainly stick out to observers as will his active stick. He does a good job keeping opposing forwards to the outside and using his reach to pokecheck. He’s solid on gap control and was just consistently very solid at this summer’s USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp in Amherst, NY.
This gives us a better idea of the type of player Adam projects to be; Cox mentions a bit later in his article that Samuelsson will be a “shutdown defender” but not the old, clunky, immobile style of shutdown. A player that is already “very solid” going through BC should grow into an even better prospect.
Unfortunately, there’s not much else available on Samuelsson at this time from reputable outlets, which is probably due to the fact that he’s projected to go late in Round 3 at the earliest.
A Little Video
Today we have a compilation of some clips from Samuelsson’s career so far with some inserted interview footage of him as well:
An Opinion of Sorts
With the spot Samuelsson is projected to go in, Ray Shero may be able to pick up a 3rd round pick somewhere if he truly thinks highly enough of the players (including Adam) who would be available in that frame. A defender his size who has good mobility is not always readily available, and the Devils need to start restocking their defensive pipeline.
If Shero finds a way to get a late third (or if Samuelsson falls to early in Round 4 where Jersey has a pick), I think Adam is worth the gamble. Not only does New Jersey need defenders, but some more size among those defenders wouldn’t hurt either; Samuelsson is a big player either way, but if he’s already 240 as well, then he might make the jump from college hockey to the NHL after the BC staff polishes his game.
I know a lot of fans want puck moving defensemen, but imagine having a lefty the size of Samuelsson (with good mobility) to stay at home while Damon Severson or Sami Vatanen on the right leads the charge up ice. Again, Adam is definitely a few seasons away, but the risk at his position would be worth the potential reward.
Now I’d like to hear your thoughts on Samuelsson as a prospect; what have you seen of him that you like about his game? What stands out that you think he can improve upon? Do you foresee the Devils finding a way to acquire a draft pick in a position where he would be BPA? Leave any and all comments below and thank you as always for reading!