After last season’s struggles, Crunch fans were hoping that the farm club wouldn’t be put in another position where call-ups and untested player performance would decimate the season. Yes, call-ups will happen, and, no, injuries can’t be helped, but an AHL fan always hopes that the pieces of a team have been put together well enough that it can withstand such events without a significant drop in team performance.
Well, it seems like special attention is being paid to that aspect, and that attention is being paid well. The news was dropped today that the Lightning have signed AHL forward Jerome Samson. Here’s the release:
LIGHTNING SIGN FORWARD JEROME SAMSON
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Jerome Samson to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Samson, 26, skated in 68 games with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League last season, recording 27 goals and 56 points to go along with 49 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the IceCaps and 12th in the AHL for power-play tallies with 11. The Greenfield Park, Quebec native ranked second on St. John’s for goals and was third for points. He also appeared in 17 AHL postseason games last season, posting three goals and six points, helping the IceCaps reach the Calder Cup Finals.
The 6-foot, 195-pound forward has skated in 46 career NHL games, all with the Carolina Hurricanes over parts of three seasons, notching two goals and nine points. Samson recorded an assist in his NHL debut on January 7, 2010 against the Nashville Predators. He registered his first career NHL goals during the 2011-12 season while playing for the Hurricanes.
The undrafted forward has skated in 424 career AHL games with the IceCaps, Charlotte Checkers and Albany River Rats, posting 160 goals and 336 points to go along with 306 penalty minutes. Samson was named to the AHL First All-Star Team following the 2009-10 season after he posted 37 goals and 78 points while playing for Albany.
Samson was ranked at number 10 on the Penguins Insider’s AHL Big Board. According to their rankings, Samson is "a perennial 20-goal scorer who isn’t afraid to battle on the boards." Samson will be everything the Crunch should need a player of his age to be: he can score, he isn’t afraid to get physical, and at 424 career AHL games, he’ll be another voice of leadership and guidance in the Crunch’s fairly young dressing room. He can also be some depth insurance for Tampa Bay, just in case.
This looks like the off season jewel of a signing for the Crunch this summer. With young forwards abounding on Syracuse’s roster, having a player with that much leadership and potential ability on the ice and in the dressing room can’t be overstated. Samson sounds like he has a little bit of everything in him. This looks like a very strong signing for Syracuse, and a great depth signing for the Lightning.