Reporting Jory Rand
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Penguins wrapped up Development Camp Saturday at CONSOL Energy Center with a scrimmage in front of more than 6,000 fans.
There were plenty of defensive prospects for the big crowd to get a look at, but one of them has a familiar face and name.
Philip Samuelsson, the Penguins’ 2009 second-round draft pick, says he is looking to become a chip off the old block.
When KDKA-TV Sports’ Jory Rand first spoke with Samuelsson at the start of came, he asked him what areas of his game he was looking to improve upon. His answer was a bit of a surprise.
“Be a little bit meaner to play against for sure,” said Samuelsson. “I think that was a part of my game last year that I could have been better at. It’s something I like to do. I like to stir things up. I’m hoping to be more of an agitator and more tough to play against next year.”
Sound a little bit familiar? That description sounds an awful lot like another Samuelsson who used to wear No. 5 for the Penguins, Philip’s dad, Ulf.
And as long as Philip is a part of the Penguins organization, those comparisons will always be there.
“That’s not something that I dislike at all. I mean, he was a great player and for me to be compared to him is a tremendous honor,” said the younger Samuelsson. “He had a long and successful career in the NHL and if I could have a career like that I’d be really happy.”
While following in dad’s footsteps to the Pens may be nice, the road to the NHL here couldn’t be any tougher.
There will be no less than nine defensemen fighting for just six spots on the Penguins roster in training camp. Not to mention another five first or second round picks who just finished up development camp.
“It’s hard not to look at the numbers because there is so many defensemen, but you just have to worry about yourself and control what you can control, and after that it’s up to the management and coaches to make that decision,” he added.
Samuelsson spent much of last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins getting his first full taste of pro hockey, and he looks forward to the day when he can don the sweater of the NHL Penguins.
“It’d be a tremendous feeling,” said Samuelsson. “I mean, it’s been a goal of mine ever since I started playing to make it to the NHL and now that I’m so close to realizing that dream it makes me want to work even harder. Even coming here and seeing this beautiful building and seeing this tremendous city, it just gives you that extra motivation to go home in the summer and work extra hard.”