The St. John’s IceCaps have to be hoping that Jerome Samson’s strong end to the 2013-14 American Hockey League’s regular season will segue into a strong start to the Calder Cup playoffs in what for him will be familiar surroundings.
On Monday, the IceCaps’ right-winger was named the latest CCM/AHL player of the week
Samson tallied two goals and five assists and had a plus-5 rating as the IceCaps finished their regular season with a pair of road wins last weekend.
© — Telegram file photo
The St. John's IceCaps' Jerome Samson was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week on Monday.
Friday night, Samson registered four points on a goal and three assists, and was the game’s first star as St. John’s blanked the Worcester Sharks 6-0. A day later, Samson picked up a goal and two assists — all in the third period — as the IceCaps’ shaded the Portland Pirates 5-4 in Saco, Me.
The seven-point weekend meant the 26-year-old Samson finished the season with 27 goals and 29 assists for 56 points in 68 games, good enough for second in team scoring.
It marked the sixth time in his seven-year AHL career that the native of Greenfield Park, Que., has topped the 20-goal mark. The other five times came while Samson was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes organization and playing for first the Albany River Rats and then the Charlotte Checkers after the Hurricanes moved their affiliate further south.
The only AHL season that didn’t see Samson score 20 or more goals was 2012-13, when injuries limited him to 37 games with the Checkers.
In 424 AHL games with St. John’s, Charlotte and Albany, Samson has 160 goals and 176 assists for 336 points. He has also skated in 46 career NHL games with Carolina, registering two goals and seven assists.
Samson was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League by the Hurricanes. He joined the Winnipeg Jets’ organization as a free agent last summer.
Samson is the second St. John’s player to be named the AHL player of the week this season, joining John Albert, who earned the honour in late February.
During his three seasons in Albany, Samson was a popular player, capped off by his selection to the AHL first all-star team in 2009-10, when he had 37 goals and 78 points.
Samson returns to New York State capital later this week as the IceCaps prepare for the start of their first-round Calder Cup playoff series against Albany, now the farm team of the New Jersey Devils.
These will be Samson’s first games in Albany since 2010-11. The Checkers didn’t play Albany in 2011-12 or 2012-13 and the IceCaps and AHL Devils did not square off in the just-completed AHL regular season.
The first two games of the best-of-five series are at the Times Union Centre in Albany Friday and Saturday, both with 8:30 p.m. NT start times. The IceCaps, with home-ice advantage in the series, will host Games 3, 4 and 5 — the latter two if necessary — at Mile One Centre in St. John’s on Wednesday, April 30; Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3.
Games at Mile One will begin at 7:30 p.m. NT.