Some times in life we have to search for inspiration. Wait for the magic moment when it all comes together thanks to a chance meeting.
Other times, fate delivers it to us in the form of family.
Just ask Mattias Samuelsson.
Samuelsson, the Buffalo Sabres No.2 pick in the 2018 NHL draft, biggest inspiration came in the form of his dad Kjell Samuelson who had a sparkling 14 year NHL career and won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh.
“When I was little he taught me everything I knew,” Samulesson said after his Day Three session of Sabres development camp wrapped up at HarborCenter.
“He’s not as much of a coach anymore. He’s more of a dad now. He’ll watch games and if he can give me a tip or a pointer he’ll do that and I’m all ears. He’s my go to guy for any question. Then for game wise I don’t know if you’re allowed to do the stuff that he did anymore. He teaches me how to defend. He knows what he’s doing. He’s the reason why I’m here today.”
While it’s certainly not unusual to have an NHL players’ son follow in the skate steps Mattias Samuelsson has had the plus that others in his position don’t always have. Both defensemen, Kjell at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds was an imposing figure on the ice.
Mattias at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds very much in the mold of the type of physical blueliner his dad was.
Mattias Samuelsson as the years have unfolded he has been fortunate to where he has had that perfect balance of his dad giving him advice when the time is right, but also knowing when to pull back and let him figure things out on his own.
“He always gives me advice but I’m 18 years old now,” Samuelsson said.
“It’s time to do things for my own. That started a couple years ago when I went to boarding schools. I think that’s when it was time to figure some stuff out for myself.”
Describing himself as a two-way defenseman who is hard to play against Mattias Samuelsson said he hopes others see his game has multiple dimensions. And that he is much more than just a big body on the ice.
Samuelsson said the camp has provided an extremely good test for him to grow as a player.
“These sessions are good. They’re hard. They push you to your limits,” he said. “For me it’s really about bringing me out of my comfort zone. I think that’s what I need.”
Picture by Jessica Helen Brant/FT300L