Wolf Pack’s Samuelsson heads to Phoenix

The Phoenix Coyotes have signed Hartford Wolf Pack assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson to a multi-year contract to serve as an assistant for head coach Wayne Gretzky’s staff.

“We have a strong group of good young defensemen and felt it would be very beneficial to have them learn the game and be coached by a former NHL blueliner,” said Coyotes general manager Michael Barnett.

Samuelsson, 42, joins the Coyotes organization from Hartford, the New York Rangers’ top affiliate, where he was responsible for handling Hartford’s blue line. The Wolf Pack finished sixth overall in the league standings and reached the Atlantic Division Finals.

“Ulf was a top defenseman in the NHL for 17 years, and won two Stanley Cups,” said Gretzky. “He was a punishing hitter and a fierce competitor. As a former teammate, I know firsthand how he played the game with intelligence and passion. We look forward to him working with our young defensemen and helping them develop into better players. He will be a valuable addition to our coaching staff.”

Regarded by many in the NHL as one of the hardest hitters the league has ever seen and a consistent, hard working defenseman, Samuelsson played 1,080 career NHL games with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, and was a member of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championship teams in Pittsburgh.