Thursday, September 10, 2009

Focus on a Thrasher: Anssi Samela

Anssi came to the Thrashers late in the season. I didn't know much about him, but when I went over to look at the Devils' messages boards, they were all pissed about the trade and losing the young defenseman, so I figured that was a good sign!





Anssi Salmela was born on August 13, 1984 (Happy Belated Birthday!) in Nokia, Finland.





Anssi was eligible for the NHL draft in 2002, but was undrafted. He began his professional hockey career in 2003-04 with the Tappara Tampere of the Finnish SM-Liiga. Anssi played 2 seasons with the Tappara Tampere for a total of 56 games and 6 points while racking up 49 penalty minutes.





In 2005-06 Anssi was transferred to my beloved (Pasi Nurminen co-owned) Lahti Pelicans. He spent 2 seasons there playing in 104 games scoring 39 points and acquiring 117 penalty minutes.





The 2007-08 season found Anssi back playing for the Tappara Tampere. This season was a break-out season for Anssi. Playing in 56 games he scored 16 goals and 16 assists for a total of 32 points, a career high. In his fourth full season in the SM-Liiga league he led the league in points by a defenseman. This was the second season that he played in every game.





Anssi had offers from a several NHL clubs, but chose to sign a one year, two way contract with the Devils on May 22, 2008. On October 10, 2008 at the season opener, Anssi made his NHL (and North American) debut in a win against rivals, the New York Rangers.





Although Anssi played in 17 games for the New Jersey Devils, he spent most of the season with their AHL affiliate, the Lowell Devils. He played 38 games in Lowell, scoring 8 goals and 16 assists for a total of 24 points.





On March 2, 2009 Anssi was traded by the Devils to the Atlanta Thrashers for Niclas Havelid. Anssi played 2 games for the Chicago Wolves, but finished out most of the season with the Thrashers. In his second game as a Thrasher, Anssi scored his first NHL goal in a 5-1 against the Washington Capitals on March 16, 2009.


Anssi missed the last few games of the season due to injury. The Thrashers did re-sign him to a 2 year deal on June 4, 2009.





Anssi had had success on an international level as well. In 2004, he was part of the bronze medal winning Finnish team in the World Junior Championships. In 2008 he competed in the World Championships and again brought home the bronze medal. Way to go, Anssi!





I think Anssi will have a bright future and I look forward to watching him this season.

Hockey's Future had this to say about Anssi:

Talent Analysis

Salmela has a decent sized frame, standing at 5'11, 190 and has a multitude of skills. He is however, most noted for his offensive tools and mobility on the back end. His 16 goals last season can attest to that offensive skill set. He moves the puck up the ice well and is poised with the puck on his stick.

Salmela is a fiery, and intense individual known for playing a physical brand of hockey. He is not afraid to mix it up, even dropping the gloves on occasion. He can play a bit out of control at times, but for the most part plays decent in his own end of the rink.

Drop the puck already!

1 comments:

aaron September 10, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

he's a nokia? that's good - i like those better than those motorolas anyway...

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