26 August 1994. The Hartford Whalers have been sold to Peter Karmanos, and he wants to send a message to the fans that the team intends to “win now.” New GM Jim Rutherford decides to make a splash by signing Boston Bruins blueliner Glen Wesley to an RFA offer sheet, and Boston’s then-GM Harry Sinden spooges himself at the chance to stick it to a division rival. Sinden elects not to match, and the Whalers are forced to give up three first-round draft picks.
Draft Day 1995. Harry Sinden rubs his hands with glee as he steps to the podium and uses the first of Hartford’s generous gifts to draft Tacoma Rockets defenceman Kyle McLaren. Jim Rutherford drafts goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who goes on to win a Cup with the Anaheim Ducks. Kyle McLaren goes on to become notorious for trying to drive Richard Zednik’s nose into his brain-stem with his elbow in the 2002 playoffs, and eventually is traded to the San Jose Sharks.
Draft Day 1996. Harry Sinden grins like an idiot as he drafts Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Johnathan Aitken with the second of Hartford’s generous gifts. Jim Rutherford drafts left winger Trevor Wasyluk in the second round. Aitken flames out in spectacular fashion and goes on to play in the DEL for Klagenfurt. Wasyluk never even sniffs the NHL, and eventually retires from hockey in 2003.
Draft Day 1997. Harry Sinden gleefully uses the third wish provided him by the Hartford genie and drafts forward Sergei Samsonov (who at the time was playing with the IHL’s Detroit Vipers). The Hartford Whalers have moved to North Carolina and are now the Carolina Hurricanes. Jim Rutherford drafts defenceman Nikos (Don’t call me Chris!) Tselios with a draft pick gotten from Detroit in the Brendan Shanahan trade. Samsonov wins the Calder Trophy that season. Tselios plays a whopping two games with the Hurricanes, and eventually leaves the Hurricanes’ system during the Season From Hell.
8 January 2008: In a strange twist of irony, Sergei Samsonov is picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes after being put on waivers by the Chicago Blackhawks–Samsonov’s third team in about as many years.
Hey, it’s only about 10 years or so too late. Ever since that Finals run with Edmonton in ’06, the man just hasn’t been “all there”. It’s like the guy just went into check-cashing mode, which is not what we need on this team right now. What do I think about the pickup? Uhh…no. I think that JimR should have gotten over Black Friday and called Brian Burke to offer a draft pick for Bryzgalov so that this team could have a goaltender that could be a clear Number One rather than continuing the John Grahame Experiment (and don’t get me started on the classless idiots on x Random Messageboard who decided to send ol’ Crackers off with some pathetic STD smack). I think that we could have done better than Samsonov.
Another fool on x Random Messageboard is taking people to task for refusing to be all ZOMGYAYW00TOMFGBBQ!!!1 over this acquisition–”wait and see–remember Cullen?” Yeah, well Cullen played in seriously defensive systems before coming here, sunshine. So I’ll wait and see just how much Samsonov manages to live down to his recent career (lack of) performance.
Just sayin’. Oh yeah–and the Hurricanes take on the Bruins tonight. If Samsonov scored the game-winner against them, then it really would be kinda ironic.