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So Long Sergei

October 23, 2011

Earlier this week I came to a somewhat sad, albeit inevitable realization: yet another one of the players that I collect has seen his NHL career come to an end.

While doing some research for my fantasy hockey team I suddenly realized that I had heard very little over the off-season about what had become of Sergei Samsonov.  Traded to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline last year, his career had been on an obvious downward slide for about five seasons following his departure from Boston during the 2005-06.

Quite frankly, I’m actually surprised that he lasted as long as he did after the Boston trade.  His appearance in Edmonton was fairly productive, Montreal and Chicago were nothing short of disastrous.  Had it not been for finding something of a niche in Carolina the past few seasons I would not have been the least bit surprised to have seen things come to an end much sooner.

Though his career started off well being drafted 8th overall in 1997 and subsequently winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 97-98, Samsonov certainly did not become the collecting gem some thought he might be.

I was fortunate enough to see him play against my local junior A team back when he was a 15 year old sensation in the Russian junior system.  He was infinitely more skilled than every other player on the ice the night I saw him play and left a 12 year old hockey fan and card collector absolutely in awe.

Needless to say I was hooked right away and my Samsonov collection began as soon as his first card was included in the 1994-95 edition of Upper Deck SP.

With Samsonov’s departure from the NHL scene, the total number of players who I collect but are no longer in the league increases five out of six.   Samsonov joins Mario Lemieux, Jeremy Roenick, Daniel Tkaczuk, and Steve Yzerman on the inactive list, leaving Joe Thornton as the sole active player who I collect.

Unlike Lemieux, Roenick, and Yzerman however, Samsonov will likely become the first of the group to join Daniel Tkaczuk in no longer having cards of any kind produced by manufacturers.

The first three are popular enough and have a large enough following in the hockey collectibles world that they regularly appear in current products, meaning my collection and want lists will continue to grow with almost every new product to hit the market.  When it comes to Sergei I simply do not foresee the same situation.

In the big picture the impact will be minimal.  The last number of years have seen fewer and fewer cards featuring Samsonov appear in products, particularly when it comes to high-end premium items.  “The chase” has already been becoming gradually more limited for some time as Samsonov just hasn’t been a big enough name for manufacturers to include any more.

If anything this will make life a little easier and is actually helpful from the perspective of pursuing a financially self-sufficient hobby.  The number of cards to track down is now finite and with no end in sight to the number of cards I have to sell in my eBay Store coming anytime soon, the math just works in my favour.

Even still, it’s an odd feeling to know that there won’t be anything new to look forward to.  Samsonov has provided me with a gradually more affordable player to pursue and will always remain a very special player to me.

The career may be over, but the collection will live on.

Thanks for a great run Sergei!


Send me your own thoughts about Sergei Samsonov and let me know if you have any cards of his that you think I might be interested in by leaving a comment, emailing me at, or connecting on Facebook and Twitter.

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Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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