Photo Credit: PERRY NELSON

Henrik Samuelsson signs with Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL

According to the ECHL’s official website, Henrik Samuelsson, a former first round pick and Memorial Cup Champion with the Edmonton Oil Kings, has signed a contract with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL. Samuelsson was acquired by the Oilers back in February in a swap with the Arizona Coyotes for Mitch Moroz, who was Samuelsson’s teammate on the Oil Kings.

Samuelsson was drafted by the Coyotes with the 27th choice in the 2012 draft after a solid season and playoff run in the WHL. In the following two seasons, Samuelsson was a key cog on the Oil Kings winning the 2014 WHL Championship and Memorial Cup.

After a solid rookie season in the AHL, Samuelsson fell off a cliff due to injuries, recording just five goals and 10 assists over 68 games between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons in the minors. After being dealt to Edmonton for Mitch Moroz, he played just five games with the Bakersfield Condors and didn’t record a point. Samuelsson wasn’t qualified by the Oilers and became a free agent this summer. Speaking of Moroz, he also wasn’t qualified by the Coyotes and has inked a deal with the Steelheads.

A couple of busts singing in the ECHL wouldn’t usually be news, but it’s an interesting Where Are They Now? loop back to the Oil Kings dynasty that we enjoyed during the Oilers’ Decade of Darkness.

The Oilers controversially used some high draft picks to select Travis Ewanyk and Mitch Moroz in 2011 and 2012, and neither ever played a game in the NHL. Ewanyk was used to acquire Eric Gryba from the Ottawa Senators in 2015, and spent last season with the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL.

Perhaps the most controversial Oil Kings acquisition by the Oilers was Griffin Reinhart, the star of the team’s blueline who went fourth overall in the 2012 draft. Reinhart, as we know, was acquired from the Islanders for a couple of draft picks, but only played 29 games with the Oilers before being exposed and selected by Vegas in the expansion draft.

But not all of the Oil Kings acquisitions were bad ones. Laurent Brossoit backstopped the Oil Kings to a WHL Championship in 2012, and was acquired by the Oilers in the Ladislav Smid trade back in 2013. In eight games with the Oilers in 2016-17, Brossoit put up a very impressive .928 save percentage and figures to be the backup goalie behind Cam Talbot next season.

So, what are all of those Oil Kings doing now?

Of the 2011 draft class… Keegan Lowe (73rd) and Brossoit (164th) are in Edmonton’s system, Ewanyk (74th) is playing in the ECHL, and Michael St. Croix (106th) is playing for the University of Manitoba.

Of the 2012 draft class… Reinhart (4th) is likely playing for Vegas, and Samuelsson (27th) and Moroz (32nd) are playing in the ECHL.

Of the 2013 draft class… Curtis Lazar (17th) was dealt from Ottawa to Calgary after a miserable season but will play in the NHL next season, and Tristan Jarry (44th) is a promising prospect in the Penguins’ system.

Of the 2014 draft class… Brett Pollock (45th) was dealt to Calgary in the Kris Russell deal and spent most of last season in the AHL, Dysin Mayo (133rd), Brandon Baddock (161st), and Aaron Irving (162nd) are still prospects, and Edgars Kulda (193rd) is playing in the KHL.