Friday, July 11, 2014

Buffalo and Winnipeg make deal

Reprinted with permission from

Not THE deal featuring the Jets' Evander Kane, but a simple swap of a low-level prospect for a low pick.

The Jets sent LW Jordan Samuels-Thomas to the Sabres for a conditional 2015 seventh round draft pick.

Samuels-Thomas is a good sized power forward who's strong on the puck and has shown a penchant for hitting the score sheet. In 76 games for the Quinnipiac Bobcats of the Eastern College Athletic Conference the 6'4" 195 lb. winger tallied 30 goals and 28 assists.

Originally drafted in 2009 (ATL/WPG, 203rd overall,) Samuels-Thomas needed to be signed by the Jets before August 15th or his rights would be lost. Should the Sabres not sign him, they will retain the pick they sent to Winnipeg in the deal.

Although not an earth-shattering acquisition, picking up a player like Samuels-Thomas is a continuation of themes that Sabres GM Tim Murray has been stressing. He wants the Sabres to get bigger and wants them to be harder to play against. He also wants character guys, but he wants them to contribute on the score sheet as well.

Samuels-Thomas did that for Quinnipiac his senior season.

SB Nations Jeff Cox called Samuels-Thomas "the X factor" for the Bobcats, citing their record with and without him.

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold stated it about as simply as one could, "He missed six games and we were 1-4-1. We have a pretty good record with him in the lineup (23-4-5) and not very good without him,"

Said rival Colgate head coach Don Vaughan, "Samuels-Thomas is a future pro, an NHLer. He plays so physical and is strong on the puck. He is a big part of their success. They had a little bit of a hiccup when he wasn't in the lineup. He's a valuable asset for them."

Samuels-Thomas is said to be very quiet in the dressing room preferring to keep a low profile. "He's this quiet guy but when he gets onto the ice he just turns into beast mode," Quinnipiac forward Kevin Bui said. "And when he's in beast mode, we call him Gator."

"When I'm on the ice, there's no hiding," said Samuels-Thomas. "I'm a pretty big guy and I need to play that way for my team."

"He plays big man hockey," Bobcat defenseman Zach Davies said. 

"Jordan is a big body presence on the ice," said defenseman Dan Federico. "In practice, he's one of the hardest guys to take the puck from. His line, with Bryce (Van Brabant) and Ben (Arnt), they cycle the puck well and you never really know what he's going to do, shoot or pass. He's very hard to defend."

How this translates to the pro level is another story, but it would seem as if Samuels-Thomas has all the tools to at least make a significant contribution in the AHL.

And on a team like Buffalo, he may even get a shot with the big-club.

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