We have a trade to announce.
The Edmonton Oilers have acquired forward Henrik Samuelsson from the Arizona Coyotes for another forward, Mitch Moroz. Samuelsson is a former 2012 first round pick (27th overall), selected just five spots ahead of Moroz (32nd).
Both were members of the 2014 Memorial Cup winning Edmonton Oil Kings team and projected to have decent offensive potential as power forwards. However, it seems both are still struggling to find their legs in the pro ranks. The two 22-year-old’s have had their fair share of issues when it comes to injuries and consistency.
The Oilers and Coyotes have essentially swapped two prospects that have run out of chances in their organizations and need a fresh start. It’s not the first time these teams have found each other trade partners in the past. In 2013, the Oilers traded Tobias Rieder to the Coyotes for Kale Kessy. The irony is that, like Samuelsson and Moroz being five picks apart, Kessy (2011, 111st overall) and Rieder (114th) were just three picks apart.
It didn’t work out so well for the Oilers last time, but here’s how this one breaks down:
First, the guy the Oilers traded. It’s been a hard road for Moroz who never got his feet under him since turning pro.
He’s been relegated to the Bakersfield Condors’ fourth-line and has been a healthy scratch multiple times over the past two seasons.
Foot speed, struggles down low, an inability to stay healthy and meager offensive production has been his downfall. Condors head coach Gerry Fleming worked closely trying to transition the things that made Moroz successful in junior, into his pro game. Remember, this is a former 35-goal scorer in the WHL who projected to be a top-nine NHL power forward according to many scouting reports.
In the end it didn’t work out, but here’s hoping a change of scenery does the trick for a young 22-year-old. Moroz has a $875,000 cap hit and is a restricted free agent (RFA) at season’s end and there’s a possibility the Coyotes might not offer him a qualifying offer next summer if he doesn’t turn his game around.
Since being drafted five years ago, Samuelsson has played just three NHL games for the Coyotes. In his first AHL season (2014-15) he put up 40 points in 68 games and looked like he’d transition well into an NHL role in a few seasons.
Since then he’s been limited to just 63 games over two seasons. Last year, he played just 43 games and was shut down for the season in December due to an ankle surgery.
Through 20 AHL games this year, he’s been offensively underwhelming with just three points. It’s not a step back from trading Moroz who put up the same point total in 17 games playing on the Condors’ fourth-line.
There’s always been a lot of love for Samuelsson amongst the Oilers brass. The team was hoping he’d fall to the early second-round when they’d pick (the pick they used on Moroz). Like Moroz, he’s a big body at 6’3″, 209-pounds, plays physical and drives to the net. There’s some offensive potential that is yet to be reached as Samuelsson put up 198 points in 162 games in junior and he was an absolute powerhouse come playoff time with 56 points in 60 games.
Realistically we could be looking at a future bottom-six forward or at very least a fourth-line power forward. That said, Edmonton’s love for former Oil Kings continues. He’s the third Oil King the team has recently acquired that’s now in the Oilers organization. The others are Laurent Brossoit and Griffin Reinhart.
Samuelsson has a $894,167 cap hit and is a restricted free agent (RFA) this summer.
It’s a weird thing in sports to see two former linemates in junior traded for each other in the pro ranks. Remember Moroz and Samuelsson were linemates with Reid Petryk during their time with the Oil Kings. Comparing the two players, since turning pro they both have put up similar numbers statistically. From a stats perspective, the deal is even.
However, if I were a betting man and had to put a dollar down on one or the other to have a chance at becoming an NHL regular, I’d bet on Samuelsson.
He’s a big player like Moroz, but the skating ability and hockey sense is that much better. Injuries slowed him down, and he quickly found himself buried on the depth chart of an evolving Coyotes organization that keeps capable young talent. It just hasn’t translated into any success at the NHL level.
In the Oilers organization it’s reasonable to expect Samuelsson to fit into their AHL affiliate’s middle-six, more so as a winger. The Condors have struggled to score goals and a change in scenery could ignite Samuelsson to start contributing.