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Axelsson and Samsonov sign one-year contracts

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON—Boston Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell announced on Wednesday that left wings Sergei Samsonov and P.J. Axelsson have returned their qualifying offers. Both contracts are for the 2005-06 season and, in keeping with club policy, terms of the contracts were not released.

Samsonov, 26, has played in just 66 games over the past two NHL seasons due to right wrist surgery (74 games missed in 2002-03) and a knee sprain (nine games missed in 2003-04) and a rib injury (14 games missed in 2003-04), yet totaled 22 goals and 29 assists for 51 points with just six penalty minutes in that span. He was fifth on the team in 2003-04 in goals scored with 17 and led the Bruins in playoff scoring with 2-5=7 totals in their seven-game series vs. Montreal.

The 5'8", 194 lb. native of Moscow, Russia played his first professional season with Detroit of the International Hockey League in 1996-97, winning the Turner Cup championship with the Vipers and IHL Rookie of the Year honors as well. He was Boston's second pick, eighth overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed a sensational rookie NHL season in 1997-98, winning the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie while leading all rookies in goals and tying for the league rookie lead in points.

He has scored 20-or-more goals in four of his six full NHL seasons with career season-highs of 29 goals each in 2000-01 and 2001-02, and he was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 2001. His career NHL/Bruins totals to date are 146 goals and 193 assists for 339 points and 81 penalty minutes in 459 games.

Samsonov played three games with Dynamo Moscow in 2004-05, scoring one goal. He added 1-2=3 totals in three Dynamo playoff games.

Axelsson, 30, was drafted by the Bruins as their seventh pick, 177th overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He turned professional with the Bruins in 1997-98 following four years in the Swedish Elite League with Frolunda Goteborg, where he had 36-21=57 totals and 54 penalty minutes in 105 career games.

The 6'1", 184 lb. native of Kungalv, Sweden has never played a minor-league game, playing all of his first seven pro seasons in Boston. He has twice scored ten-or-more goals in a season, including in 2002-03 when he established career season-highs in all offensive categories with 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 66 games. His career NHL totals are 63 goals and 110 assists for 173 points with 189 PIM in 533 NHL/Bruins games.

Axelsson played the 2004-05 season in Sweden with Frolunda Goteborg, with 8-9=17 totals and 95 penalty minutes in 45 games. He added 1-10=11 totals in 14 playoff contests as Frolunda won the Swedish Elite League championship.
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