MONTREAL - Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Wednesday the signing of free agent Sergei Samsonov to a two-year contract through the 2007-08 season. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Samsonov, 27, will begin his ninth NHL campaign, after completing the 2005-06 season with the Edmonton Oilers, who acquired him from the Boston Bruins on March 9, 2006 for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a 2nd round pick in 2006.
"Speed has certainly become the dominant weapon in today's NHL," admitted Gainey. "What Sergei lacks in size he more than makes up for in speed and tenacity. He definitely adds an important dimension to our lineup. He also enjoyed success with Alex Kovalev at the international level."
In 2005-06, the native of Moscow, Russia, played in 74 games, collecting 23 goals and 30 assists for a total of 53 points and 28 penalty minutes. He recorded 37 points, including 18 goals, in 55 games with the Bruins, and added 16 points in 19 games with the Oilers. Samosonov then helped the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Final, scoring four goals and adding 11 assists in 24 playoff games.
Alex Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov will now look to carry over their international success to the Bell Centre.
"There were about seven teams that contacted us in all, but Montreal has been interested since Day 1," said Samsonov via conference call from his home in Detroit. "With a talented lineup and such a great tradition, Montreal was where I wanted to be. I'm also happy to be back in the Eastern Conference."
Through his NHL career, Samsonov has played in 533 regular-season NHL games, recording 169 goals and 223 assists for a total of 392 points and 109 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of plus-41. He has also taken part in 59 playoff games, during which he totaled 13 goals and 26 assists for a total of 39 points and 14 penalty minutes.
"The signing of Sergei fills an important spot that we were looking to fill," said Gainey. "His acquisition gives our coaching staff more tools to work with. Last season Michael Ryder was the only right-handed shot we had available on the power-play."
The 5-foot-8, 194-pound left winger had his best season in 2000-01 with the Bruins, scoring 29 goals and adding 46 assists for a total of 75 points, all career highs.
The following season, Samsonov had his second straight 29-goal season and posted 70 points. Samsonov had two more seasons of more than 20 goals, in 1997-98 and in 1998-99.
On the international scene, Samsonov represeted his native Russia at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, 2004 World Cup of Hockey and at the World Junior Hockey Championship (1996 and 1997).