Samsonov was drafted by the Boston Bruins eighth overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Boston drafted Joe Thornton first overall in the same draft. In his rookie year, Samsonov won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie after scoring 22 goals and a total of 47 points.
Before playing in the NHL, Samsonov represented Russia in 1996 and 1997 at the World Junior Hockey Championships. He led the 1997 Russian team to a bronze medal and was named the tournament’s most outstanding forward after scoring six goals in six games. He later played for Russia in 2002 at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, earning a bronze medal. Sergei now is in player development for the Carolina Hurricanes.