Topic: Sami Salo

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Sami Salo (born September 2, 1974) is a Finnish professional ice hockey defenceman with the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He began his professional career with TPS of the SM-liiga before being selected by the Ottawa Senators with their last pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He joined the Senators in 1998–99 and was selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team. In the 2002 off-season, he was traded to the Canucks with whom he has recorded three 30-point campaigns. Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Salo played overseas with Frölunda HC of the Swedish Elite League and helped the club capture the Le Mat Trophy as league champions. Internationally, Salo has competed for Finland, appearing in two World Championships, three Winter Olympics and one World Cup. He won silver medals at the 2001 World Championships and the 2006 Winter Olympics, as well as a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Throughout his career, Salo has become infamous for being injury prone, having suffered over 40 career injuries. He is known as a two-way defenceman with a powerful slapshot.

After developing his skills with the junior club of his hometown, Turku, Finland, Salo turned professional with TPS Turku of the SM-Liiga in 1994–95. He appeared in seven games, recording a goal and two assists in his first season in the SM-Liiga. The following campaign, he recorded a Finnish career-high 14 assists and 21 points over 47 games. In the off-season, Salo was selected by the Ottawa Senators with their last selection in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, 239th overall in the ninth round. He remained in Finland for two more seasons upon being drafted. He improved from seven goals to nine in 1996–97. The following season, he transferred from TPS to Jokerit. In his lone season with the Helsinki-based team, he tallied three goals and eight points over 35 games.

Following a four-year career in Finland, Salo signed with the Senators in July 1998. He was initially assigned to the Detroit Vipers, Ottawa's International Hockey League (IHL) affiliate, but was recalled on November 18, 1998. Twenty-seven games into his rookie campaign, he scored his first NHL goal against Boston Bruins goaltender Byron Dafoe, a game-winner, in a 3-1 win on January 21, 1999. Completing the 1998–99 season with seven goals and 19 points, he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. The following season, Salo notched a hat trick in a 6–4 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 30, 1999. His campaign was shortened, however, to 37 games due to injury and he was limited to 14 points. In 2000, he missed two games as he suffered from a snakebite.

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