Boston Bruins: Top 30 Draft Picks of All Time

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12. Sergei Samsonov – 1997 – 8th Overall

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins had fallen to last place in the Northeast Division in the 1996-97 season and missed the playoffs for the first time in 30 years, but fortunately the next year they had a “Mighty Mouse” swoop in to save the day.

At just 5’8” and 188 lbs, Sergei  Samsonov was Boston’s less high profile pick at 8th overall in the 1997 draft after they took Joe Thornton at number one. But while Thornton took a couple years to get on track, the Russian-born Samsonov had an immediate impact. He had scored 110 goals and 182 points in just 50 games for Russia’s national junior team at age 16, and wowed Bruins fans right away with his shiftiness, deft stickhandling and array of quick moves cutting, slashing and circling by defenders in the offensive zone to find the open man with a slick pass, give and go or pop a deadly wrist shot from different angles. He also used his speed and strength to get open around the net.  He scored 22 goals and 47 points to earn Rookie of the Year in 1997-98 and help return the Bruins to the playoffs, adding seven points in six postseason games.

Samsonov went on to score five 20-goal seasons, including consecutive 29-goal, 70-point years with the B’s from 2000-2002. The winger made the All-Star team in 2001 and had his eight best NHL years for Boston tallying 164 goals and 376 points in 514 games along with 30 game-winning goals. He missed most of 2002-03 with a wrist injury and made a good comeback for a couple seasons before being traded to Edmonton in 2006 for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a 2nd rounder that became Milan Lucic.

(Contributed by Matt Pueschel of Causeway Crowd)

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