The last time Mattias Samuelsson and his brother Lukas played on a team together, Samuelsson was a freshman at Northwood School in Lake Placid. Now, five years later, they're back together at Western Michigan University, where Samuelsson is in his freshman season with the Broncos.
The 2018 second-round pick (32nd overall) is learning as much as he can from his older brother and enjoying the time they share both on and off the ice. As a freshman, Samuelsson has to live in the dorms, but it's only a two-minute drive to his brother's apartment. He says he's there "all the time."
"To play college hockey with your brother is something we always wanted to do and we're getting a chance to do it right now," he said. "It's a blast. On road trips, to have him there, it's just been a really cool experience."
Video: Behind the scenes with Mattias Samuelsson
Samuelsson has been taking lessons from his brother about managing his coursework and has also been learning a lot on the ice from coach Andy Murray, who has 16 years of coaching experience in the NHL. He's served as the head coach of both the Kings and the Blues.
"He's unbelievable. You can sit with him and talk for hours about stories from when he coached in the NHL. He's coached unbelievable players. He knows what it takes to get to the NHL and that's why I'm here at Western," Samuelsson said. "He demands a lot every day from the players in practice. That's something I wanted coming in."
The 6-foot-4, 221 pound-defenseman already has two goals and an assist through eight games. Last season, he posted 14 points (4+10) in 23 games with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in the USHL and 31 points (11+20) in 58 games with the U.S. National U18 Team. He's been working on improving his offensive skill set while adjusting to the speed and size of the college game.
"Being such a big guy, I want to get quicker - quicker on my starts and stuff like that. …Coming into this year, it's something I've continued to try to do, being more involved in scoring," he said. "In today's game, all five guys need to be involved in offense so I'm trying to work on that."
He spent this past summer at Sabres development camp and continues to take lessons from that as well.
"It was easy to see the guys that were playing pro or on the verge of breaking the lineup, to see how hard they worked every single day in every aspect - the off-ice training, the on-ice training. And seeing what a professional does on a daily basis.
|Skater ||Position ||Team (League) ||GP ||G ||A ||PTS |
|Christopher Brown ||F ||Boston College (NCAA) ||6 ||0 ||2 ||2 |
|Jacob Bryson ||D ||Providence (NCAA) ||7 ||2 ||3 ||5 |
|Ivan Chukarov ||D ||Massachusetts (NCAA) ||5 ||0 ||1 ||1 |
|Marcus Davidsson ||F ||Djuragardens (SHL) ||15 ||1 ||7 ||8 |
|Casey Fitzgerald ||D ||Boston College (NCAA) ||6 ||0 ||2 ||2 |
|Miska Kukkonen ||D ||Tappara U20 ||16 ||0 ||3 ||3 |
|Oskari Laaksonen ||D ||Ilves (Liiga) ||18 ||2 ||9 ||11 |
|Linus Lindstrand Cronholm ||D ||IK Pantern (Allsvenskan) ||8 ||1 ||3 ||4 |
|Brett Murray ||F ||Youngstown (USHL) ||11 ||2 ||7 ||9 |
|Philip Nyberg ||D ||UConn (NCAA) ||8 ||0 ||0 ||0 |
|Matej Pekar ||F ||Barrie (OHL) ||17 ||9 ||10 ||19 |
|Mattias Samuelsson ||D ||Western Michigan (NCAA) ||8 ||2 ||1 ||3 |
|Linus Weissbach ||F ||Wisconsin (NCAA) ||6 ||2 ||7 ||9 |
|Maxwell Willman ||F ||Boston University (NCAA) ||6 ||0 ||0 ||0 |
|William Worge Kreu ||D ||Linkoping J20 (SuperElit) ||7 ||0 ||0 ||0 |
|Goaltender ||Team (League) ||GP ||W ||L ||OTL ||SOL ||GAA ||SV% |
|Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen ||Sudbury (OHL) ||12 ||8 ||3 ||1 ||0 ||2.59 ||.922 |