Simultaneously receiving a bona fide offer from the Philadelphia Flyers with Owen McLaughlin, Ethan Samson is another unsigned prospect on the franchise radar. A bona fide offer is a good faith agreement; no details on an actual contract are available because no negotiations have taken place.
Before Fletcher selected him at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, he completed his second season with the Prince George Cougars in the WHL. In 2020-2021, Samson played 22 games compared to the 61 in 2019-2020. His game developed. In 39 fewer games, Samson was noticeably a better defender, improved upon his discipline, and doubled his total assists. The 2021 NHL Entry Draft was strange due to the pandemic skewing prospect scouting and placement projections.
“For me, this year was really exciting to be able to be a top guy on my team and play that role with heavy minutes and have the coach rely on me a lot. I think it helped me kind of push myself and be able to try and be the guy for my team that I wanted to be.”Ethan Samson; 7/28/2021
Of the unsigned RD prospects, Samson is the only one drafted by Fletcher. John St. Ivany was a Ron Hextall fourth round selection from the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Valeri Vasiliev was selected in the seventh round by Paul Holmgren at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2021-2022, Samson reached the 60 game milestone for the first time since 2019-2020. He improved across the board. As an alternate captain with the Cougars, Samson reached his first WHL postseason. Samson reached double-digits in goals and assists for the first time in his career.
Earning an alternate captain role speaks volumes. Fletcher finds valuable prospects in the later rounds. Selected in the sixth round, Samson could’ve been off the board in the third.
Last season with Prince George, Samson finished fourth in goals (15,) third in assists (28,) fourth in total points (43,) led in powerplay goals (8,) second in powerplay assists (15,) led in game-winning goals (5,) and scored a shorthanded goal (tied for the team lead.) He places a lot of his success on his teammates. Being on time and in the right places helped the Cougars. Samson broke out offensively, flexing his two-way tendencies, but his discipline took a dive.
“I think a lot of the times it’s on my teammates too; they get in the right place to help me to be able to see those plays. But I think I try and play a two-way game, so I’m always looking for those opportunities from the point or from off the rush to try and create a scoring chance and give my team the upper hand.”Ethan Samson; 7/28/2021
Samson will likely remain with Prince George in the WHL in 2022-2023. He’ll turn 19-years-old before next season; too young to be eligible for the AHL.
(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)