The unlikely 2006 playoff run that landed the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup final against the Carolina Hurricanes produced so many memorable moments it’s difficult to pick out one or two. Likewise, so many players on that edition of the Oilers turned in epic performances. The names we know – Chris Pronger, Ryan Smyth, Dwayne Roloson, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani and Ales Hemsky, to name just six.
When it comes to unsung heroes, though, one of the names that comes to mind for me – it won’t be the only one on this list from that team – is Sergei Samsonov, the fireplug winger who came over from the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline in one of several moves made by GM Kevin Lowe in easily his finest season running the show. Samsonov was quietly terrific down the stretch and in the playoffs, producing a handful of those memorable and significant moments.
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Sergei Samsonov
Left Wing — shoots R
Born Oct 27 1978 — Moscow, Russia
Height 5.08 — Weight 188 [173 cm/85 kg]
Drafted by Boston Bruins
Round 1 #8 overall 1997 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
S%
TOI
ATOI
1997-98
19
81
22
25
47
9
8
159
13.8
1998-99
20
79
25
26
51
-6
18
160
15.6
1294
16:23
1999-00
21
77
19
26
45
-6
4
145
13.1
1273
16:32
2000-01
22
82
29
46
75
6
18
215
13.5
1590
19:23
2001-02
23
74
29
41
70
21
27
192
15.1
1390
18:47
2002-03
24
8
5
6
11
8
2
23
21.7
163
20:20
2003-04
25
58
17
23
40
12
4
132
12.9
1012
17:27
2005-06
27
TOT
74
23
30
53
-3
28
143
16.1
1222
16:31
2005-06
27
55
18
19
37
-3
22
107
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16.8
929
16:53
2005-06
27
19
5
11
16
0
6
36
13.9
293
15:26
2006-07
28
63
9
17
26
-4
10
114
7.9
881
13:59
2007-08
29
TOT
61
14
22
36
-1
16
109
12.8
970
15:54
2007-08
29
23
0
4
4
-7
6
38
0.0
284
12:21
2007-08
29
38
14
18
32
6
10
71
19.7
686
18:02
2008-09
30
81
16
32
48
-8
28
155
10.3
1403
17:19
2009-10
31
72
14
15
29
-15
32
104
13.5
963
13:23
2010-11
32
TOT
78
13
27
40
-2
14
123
10.6
1205
15:27
2010-11
32
58
10
16
26
0
12
87
11.5
821
14:09
2010-11
32
20
3
11
14
-2
2
36
8.3
385
19:14
8 yrs
BOS
514
164
212
376
41
103
1133
14.5
7650
17:40
4 yrs
CAR
249
54
81
135
-17
82
417
12.9
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3873
15:33
1 yr
CHI
23
0
4
4
-7
6
38
0.0
284
12:21
1 yr
EDM
19
5
11
16
0
6
36
13.9
293
15:26
1 yr
FLA
20
3
11
14
-2
2
36
8.3
385
19:14
1 yr
MTL
63
9
17
26
-4
10
114
7.9
881
13:59
Career
888
235
336
571
11
209
1774
13.2
13365
16:34

PLAYOFFS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
S%
TOI
ATOI
1997-98
19
6
2
5
7
1
0
18
11.1
1998-99
20
11
3
1
4
3
0
21
14.3
178
16:11
2001-02
23
6
2
2
4
-2
0
26
7.7
106
17:41
2002-03
24
5
0
2
2
-1
0
10
0.0
86
17:07
2003-04
25
7
2
5
7
2
0
13
15.4
121
17:18
2005-06
27
24
4
11
15
2
14
40
10.0
348
14:30
2008-09
30
17
5
3
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8
2
6
28
17.9
269
15:48
Career
76
18
29
47
7
20
156
11.5
1108
15:49

WHY HE MAKES IT

Samsonov, who grabbed my attention while toiling with the Detroit Vipers of the now-defunct IHL as an 18-year-old during the 1996-97 season, was the final move made by Lowe in season when he reshaped the roster. Pronger and Michael Peca had arrived the previous summer, followed by Jaroslav Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom in January. Then, at the deadline, Lowe got Roloson followed a day later, March 9, by Samsonov.
Sammy didn’t come cheap, it turned out, as the Oilers shipped Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a second-round pick that the Bruins used to grab Milan Lucic 50th overall, to Boston. In the 19 regular season games he played for the Oilers, Samsonov produced 5-11-16. That was secondary scoring that made a significant difference for an Oiler team that didn’t exactly charge into eighth place and the final post-season spot – the Oilers went 9-10 in those games to earn a date with the Detroit Red Wings.
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Who’ll ever forget what happened after that, starting with a stunning upset of the Red Wings in the first round? For me, the moment that stands out in that series was Ales Hemsky’s goalmouth tap-in on a feed from Samsonov to put the Oilers up 4-3 with 1:06 to play in Game 6 at Rexall Place. Samsonov had his fingerprints all over that series-winner. And so began a wild ride . . .

THE FINE PRINT

In the second round against San Jose, the Oilers trailed the series 2-1 when Samsonov helped shift momentum. With the Oilers trailing 3-2, Samsonov dashed out of the penalty box and scored to tie it 3-3 on the way to a 6-3 win to square the series. That’s here. In the third game of the Western Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks, Samsonov set-up Steve Staios for the 3-0 goal in a 5-4 win and a 3-0 series lead. That’s here.
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While Samsonov hardly fits the standard unsung hero tag – he was never that third-line, try-hard grinder or stay-at-home blueliner who quietly went about his business – he flew under the radar a little bit because there were so many other startling performances. There was Pronger being Pronger, Smyth spitting teeth and blood and refusing to be denied, Roloson battling to make every save until that knee injury took him down.
The end of the 2005-06 season, and that stunning post-season roller-coaster ride in which Samsonov would produce 4-11-15 in 24 games, was all Oiler fans would get of him – Samsonov would sign with the Montreal Canadiens that off-season as an unrestricted free agent. If what we saw in his brief time here wasn’t the best of Sammy, it was close. For my money, he was never that good again in the years after he left Edmonton.
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This series of various Top 10 lists will focus on the post-1990 Oilers – the players who haven’t played on a Stanley Cup winner in Edmonton.

The List: