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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Lost Cards: 1995-96 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Gary Leeman


   Gary Leeman is best known for two things - scoring 50 goals as a Maple Leaf, and being traded for Doug Gilmour.  Or at least, that is how I remember him.  

  Leeman was drafted by the Toronto Maples in the 2nd round, 24th overall, in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.  He was drafted as a defenseman.  After scoring 86 points in 70 games with the Regina St. Pats of the WHL, he won the Bill Hunter Trophy as the league's best  Defenceman and was a 1st Team All-star.  After the WHL season ended for the St. Pats, Leeman made his NHL debut, playing two games in the 1983 play-offs in the first round against the Minnesota North Stars.

1982-83 OPC Gary Leeman (pre-RC)

  Gary broke camp as a member of the Maple Leafs for the 1983-84 season.  Leeman scored his first career NHL goal on December 10th, 1983, against Reggie Lemelin of the Calgary Flames.  Since was still under 20, the Leafs loaned him to Team Canada to play in the World Junior Hockey Championships.  Canada finished 4th.  Leeman finished his rookie season with 4 goals and 8 assists in 52 games.  It earned him a rookie card in the 1984-85 OPC set

  During the 1984-85 season, Leeman began to spend more time as a forward and eventually made the transition to a full-time.  Gary struggled through the injury bug during his first three NHL seasons, playing in 52, 53 and 53 games during his first three NHL seasons.  

1985-86 OPC Gary Leeman

  Gary started to show signs of breaking out during the 1985-86 season.  He had 32 points in 53 games during the regular season .  A turning point was a two month trip to the AHL in January.  He scored 28 points in 23 games with the St. Catherine's Saints.  Upon being recalled,  Leeman scored five points in the last five regular season games and then added 12 points in 10 play-off games.  Leeman did not make either the 85-86 or 86-87 OPC sets.

1986-87 OPC Gary Leeman

  Gary built on his late season success during the following season.  He had 52 points in 80 games, including 20 goals, during the 1986-87 season.  Gary followed that up with back-to-back 30 goal seasons.  It was all a lead-up to a career season in 1989-90.  Leeman led the Leafs with 51 goals and 95 Points.  He became only the second player in Toronto Maple Leafs history to score 50+ goals in a a season.  Leeman and the Leafs ended the 1980's as a team on the rise.  The Leafs had a solid youth core, including players like Leeman who had improved on his point total in each of his seven NHL seasons.  As a team, the Leafs finished 3rd in the league in goals.  
  It all came crashing down in the 1990-91 season.  The Leafs dropped to 18th in the leagues for goals scored, and Leeman regressed to scoring only 17 goals and 29 points in 52 games.  Leeman missed two months of the season with a shoulder injury.  Although before the injury Leeman only had 5 goals and 10 points in 19 games.  Leeman did shows signs of life near the end of the season, netting 6 goals and an assist in the final 10 games.  There was also discord in the dressing room.  Teammate Al Iafrate was going through a rough divorce and Leeman was dating his ex-wife.  Iafrate requested a trade due to personal reasons.  He was traded in January, while Leeman was injured.
  The following season was no better for Leeman.  He was suspended for four games for hitting Minnesota North Stars player Mark Tinordi across the jaw with his stick.  His goal total continued to nose-dive.  He had 7 goals in 34 games before the Leafs traded him to the Calgary Flames, in one of the all-time bad trades in NHL history.  It was a ten-player deal, which is the largest in NHL history, and the one in which the Leafs received Doug Gilmour.  
  Leeman was buried on the depth chart of the Flames, behind Theo Fleury and Sergei Makarov.  Over parts of two seasons with the Flames, Leeman had 11 goals and 23 points in 59 games.  During the 1992-93 season, Leeman again asked to be traded and was sent to the Montreal Canadiens for Brian Skrudlund.  The trade put some spring back in Leeman's stride, as he netting 13 points in his first 9 games as a Canadien.  He slowed down as the season came to an end, finishing with a total of 18 points in 20 games as a Hab in 92-93.  Leeman suffered an ankle injury on April 2nd and missed the final five games of the regular season and first two of the play-offs.  Leeman was nagged by injuries throughout the play-offs and only played in 11 of the Canadiens 20 play-off games, scoring 3 points.  He did dress for the entire Stanley Cup Finals and got to lift Lord Stanley's Mug as NHL champion. 

1993-94 Score Gary Leeman

  While writing up this post, I decided I should try to make a card out of the picture of Leeman hoisting the Cup.  I went with 1993-94 Score since I figured I could create a template quickly and I like the simplicity of it.  Unfortunately, the font wasn't that simple.  The font I used was the closest font I could find, but it's still a bit off.  I almost went against posting this.
  Injuries continued to nag Leeman.  Leeman played only 31 games, scoring 15 points, during the 1993-94 season.  He missed time due to shoulder and forearm injuries.  Leeman also played 23 games with the Canadiens; farm team in the AHL.  Leeman was a free agent for the 1994-95 season, which was a lock-out shortened season.  Leeman signed on with the Vancouver Canucks.  In ten games, he scored goals.  He didn't play in the final two months or play-offs for the Canucks, or their farm team.  I am not sure if there was another injury or a healthy scratch.
  After playing in Europe for the 1995-96 season, Leeman took another crack at the NHL.  He played two games for the St. Louis Blues, scoring one assist, while spending the rest of the season in the minor leagues.  Leeman returned to Europe for the 1996-97 and played there until he retired in 1999.
  Leeman finished his career with 199 goals and 466 points in 667 games.  After scoring 51 goals in 80 games during the 1989-90 season, he finished his career scoring 47 goals in his last 208 games.
  Leeman's last NHL card was an autograph insert from the 1994-95 BAP set.  Which is arguably not a NHL set, since it was only authorized by the NHLPA and not the NHL.  All the players were either featured in street clothes or NHLPA jerseys from the 4-on-4 NHLPA charity games they played during the lock-out.  So while it was a Vancouver card of Leeman, it was not a Vancouver Canucks card.  I couldn't find a picture of Leeman from his two game stint as a Blues, so instead Leeman's career capper is a 1995-96 Upper Deck Collector's Choice.  

1995-96 Collector's Choice Gary Leeman

1995-96 Collector's Choice Gary Leeman

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lost Cards: 1990-91 OPC Bob Froese

  The tale of  Bob Froese is a Tale of  Two Cities.  In Philadelphia, he was one of the best goalies in the NHL.  In New York, he was a middling back-up.  In both cities, he played in the shadows of former Vezina winners.
  Froese was originally drafted in the 10th round of the 1978 NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues.  Froese never signed a contract with the Blues.  Instead he played three seasons with the Saginaw Generals in the IHL, culminating with the league championship, the Turner Cup in 1981.
  The Philadelphia Flyers signed Froese to a contract during the 1981 offseason.  Bob was sent to play with the Maine Mariners and to back-up International star Pelle Lindbergh.  Lindbergh was called up to the NHL late in the 1981-82 season and Froese followed him with a midseason call-up during the 1982-83 season.
  Lindbergh was injured during an mid-season exhibition game against the Soviet Union on January 6th, 1983.  Froese was recalled and made an immediate impact.  He set a record, since broken*, by winning his first 8 career starts.  He began his career with a 13 game unbeaten streak, which included 3 shutouts.  He was named player of the week for January 23, 1983 and co-player of the Month.  Once Lindbergh was full healthy, Froese was regulated to back-up goalie.  Froese was 9th in Calder voting, while Pelle finished 5th.  Froese finished his rookie season going 17-4-2, .896 and 2.52.  His 2.52 GAA was second best in league.  Both Lindbergh and Froese had rookie cards in the 1983-84 OPC set.  It's the only year they both made the OPC set.
  Froese outplayed Pelle during the 1983-84 season.  Froese's number slipped a bit but he still finished top 5 in GAA, 3.15, and Wins, 28. as well as top ten in save percentage, .887.  Froese started the play-offs, but the Flyers were swept in three game by the Washington Capitals.  It was the third consecutive year the Flyer lost in the 1st round of play-offs, going a combined 1-9 in those years.
  Froese found him playing back-up with the 1984-85 season began.  Although Froese played great, it was Lindbergh who got the majority of the starts.  Froese was played sparingly and against the lesser teams.  Before getting injured in December, Froese was 7-1-0, .920 and 2.09.  A knee injury against the Winnipeg Jets cost Froese two months of the season.  Lindbergh started 28 out of the next 29 games before Froese returned to the crease.  Froese played back-up the rest of the season, finishing with a 13-2-0, .909, and 2.39 GAA.  His Save Percentage and GAA would have led the league if had played enough games.  Lindbergh won the Vezina trophy that season, on the strength of wining 40 games.  The Flyers finished first overall during the NHL regular season and finally made it out of the first round.  The Flyer, with Lindbergh between the pipes, went to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Edmonton Oilers.  His only start was the Flyer's last game in the play-offs, after Pelle was injured in Game four.  The Flyers lost 8-3 in Game Five of the Finals.  Froese gave up all eight goals.
  Froese did not get a card in the 1985-86 set.  With OPC cutting back its set from 396 cards to 264, as well as Lindbergh's breakout season, Froese was a easy choice for the cutting room, floor.  Originally was going to use a different picture for this card, but how could I pass up a Brad Marsh cameo.

1985-86 OPC Bob Froese

  The Flyers regular season success continued early on during the 1985-86 season.  To start the season Lindbergh was 6-2, while Froese went 5-0.  Tragedy struck the team in the early morning of November 10, 1985.  The evening before, the Flyers were having a team party.  Pelle Lindbergh had a few too many drinks and drove his Porsche into a pole.  He was hospitalized and taken off life support on November 11th.  One of the first things Bobby Flyers GM had to do was cancel a pending trade.  There was already a deal in place to trade Bob Froese to the Los Angeles Kings for defenceman Jay Wells.  
  Froese was to start the next game, but suffered a groin injury during practice when a shot broke his protective cup.  He returned a week later to post a 3-0 shutout against the Hartford Whalers.  Froese had a career year in 1985-86.  He led the league in wins, 31, GAA, 2.55, Save Percentage, .909 and shutouts, 5.  Froese, and teammate, Darren Jensen, won the William Kennings trophy.  He finished 2nd in Vezina voting, by 2 points to winner John Vanbiesbrouck, and was voted 2nd Team All-Star.  While Froese had another great regular season, the Flyers lost in the first round of the play-offs against John Vanbiesbrouck and the New York Rangers.  Froese was outplayed by Vanbiesbrouck and took the brunt of the blame for the early play-off exit.
  Even as the runner-up for the Vezina trophy, Froese found himself starting the season as the back-up goalie for the Flyers, to rookie Ron Hextall.  Hextall got off to a blistering start and Froese only played in three games, and winning all three, before the Flyers traded him to the New York Rangers for Kjell Samuelsson and a 2nd round draft pick on December 18, 1986.  Frustrated by lack of playing time, and tension with Mike Keenan, Froese had requested to be traded.  The prior season, Froese was the runner-up to Vanbiesbrouck in the Vezina voting, now he was runner-up to him in the Ranger's depth chart.  Hextall went on to win the Vezina trophy, while Froese finished 5th, one spot ahead of Vanbiesbrouck.  The Flyer and Rangers had a first round rematch.  This time the heavily favored Flyers won in 6 games.  Froese started two games, winning one and losing one, but Vanbiesbrouck was still the #1 goalie with the Rangers, as he started four games.  Froese finished the season 17-11-0, .885, and 3.64.  It was his last winning season in the NHL.
  Froese spent the next three seasons playing behind John Vanbiesbrouck.  He went 22-32-8, .874, and 3.59 during those three seasons.  One of the almost highlights came on November 29, 1987 when Froese was credited with scoring a NHL goal.  He was, temporally, the second goalie in history to score a goal.   Temporarily, since after video review, the goal was later changed to David Shaw.  OPC gave him a card during the 1987-88 set, but he was left out of subsequent sets.   

1988-89 OPC Bob Froese

 So I made up a 1988-89 OPC, as well as a 1989-90 OPC.  

1989-90 OPC Bob Froese

  Froese entered the 1989-90 season again as the back-up but found himself as the odd man out by January.  Rookie Mike Richter was recalled due to an injury to John Vanbiesbrouck.  Richter, who was also Froese's new roommate and student,  quickly jumped over Froese and began to challenge Vanbiesbrouck for the starting job.  Froese played his last NHL game on January 25, 1990.  He was saddled with the loss, after coming in of relief of Richter in a 8-5 loss to the Calgary Flames.  
  Froese reaggravated a shoulder injury during the 1990 Rangers training camp and he would eventually be forced to retire due to the injury.  Froese became a goalie coach for the Rangers and later the New York Islanders before answering the call of a higher power.  Froese became a pastor.  When he informed Islanders GM Mike Milbury of his decision, Milbury asked how much the church was offering him.  Froese always felt a calling to cloth.  Although he put it aside to play hockey, it became stronger after Lindbergh's death, and inevitable once he was retired.
  Froese never did get a card after the 1987-88 OPC set.  With the emergence of Mike Richter, Froese was bumped down the depth chart and wasn't included in the 1990 Junk Wax boom.  So here is a 1990-91 OPC career capper of Froese.

1990-91 OPC #532 Bob Froese

1990-91 OPC #532 Bob Froese

  Bonus:  Froese did kinda have a card made of him.  Upper Deck used to make commentative sheets for hockey.  From what I can gather, these were giveaways at the game.   A version of a Bob Froese Upper Deck made one of those sheets.  What is interesting is that Froese was featured on a sheet released in February 18, 1991, although he had not played a single game that season.   So although I couldn't find the same picture, I mocked up a 1990-91 Upper Deck Bob Froese. 

1990-91 Upper Deck Bob Froese

* Froese's record of 8 straight career wins to begin a career was bested by Ray Emery of the Ottawa Senators.  A big difference is that Froese won his eight games in 8 starts appearances over a three week span.  It took Emery 3 season, plus a lockout, and 12 games, including three in relief, to win his first 9 career decisions.  

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Lost Cards: 1990-91 OPC Dan Daoust

 Dan Daoust was born in Montreal, Quebec, but grew up in Ontario.  He played with the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL.  Daoust and the Royals won the highly controversial 1980 Memorial Cup.    Even though he had back-to-back 40 goals seasons, Dan was not drafted by any NHL team.  There were concerns about Daoust's size, which was generously listed as 5'10" and 160lbs.  Unable to get a NHL contract, Daoust signed on with the Nova Scotia Voyagers of the AHL, the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate.  In his first professional season, Daoust led the team, and finished second in the league, with 98 points.  His play earned him a contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
  Daoust spent another season in the AHL before making his NH debut on October 6, 1982.  The next night, he notched his first career point, an assist, against the the Boston Bruins.  He played again on October 9th, but then only played one more game as a Canadien, on November 23rd, before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 3rd round pick on December 17th.  I am not sure if he was injured or a healthy scratch during that time. The Canadiens were deep at the Center position, including fellow rookie, Guy Carbonneau, and Daoust did not fit in the team's plan.
  Daoust never had a card with the Canadiens.  He did get a rookie card in the 1983-84 OPC set as a Maple Leaf.  Since I found a neat picture of him as a Hab, I decided to make a rookie card of him as a Hab in the 1982-83 set.  Daoust sported quite the afro early in his playing days.  In the 1970s, OPC would sometime include players who had no NHL experience in their sets.  I don't remember them doing it for any player during the 1980s.  I wonder who was the last player OPC/Topps put on a card without any NHL experience, prior to the Junk Wax boom.

1982-83 OPC #401 OPC Dan Daoust (RC)

1982-83 OPC #401 Dan Daoust (RC)

  Dan was given more opportunity to play in Toronto and he took full advantage of it.  He scored 51 points in 48 games as a Leaf during the 1982-83 season and made the 1983 All-Rookie Team.  The following season, he set career highs with 18 goals, 56 assists and 74 points.  The following season, 1984-85 was a disaster for the Maple Leafs as they continued their downward spiral.  The team finished last in the NHL and last in goals scored.  As a team they scored 50 less goals than the previous season.  Daoust point total dropped to 54 points.  Although the Leafs team goal total would bounce back the follow season, it was a sign of things to come for Daoust.
  Daoust was bumped down the depth chart in 1985-86.  The Leafs had acquired Tom Fergus, and top prospect Russ Courtnall was finally fulfilling his high draft pick status.  That left the former top two Leafs centers, Daoust and Peter Ihnacak fighting for ice time on the bottom two lines.  Daoust was asked to take on a more defensive role.  Although Daoust thrived in that role, his point total basically fell of the side of the earth.  His 20 points in 1985-86 was the highest season total for the rest of his career.  OPC made a card for Daoust in 86-87 but he would not make the set again until 89-90.  So here is a 1987-88 card of Daoust.

1987-88 OPC Dan Daoust

And now a 1988-89 OPC of Daoust for the Danny Doooo mega-collectors out there.

1988-89 OPC Dan Daoust

  Daoust played for the Maple Leafs until the 1989-90 season.  In his final season as a Leaf, Daoust led the team with 4 shorthanded goals and 8 short handed points.  After the season, he signed overseas with the Swiss league.  He played professionally overseas until he retired in 1997.
  Daoust never received any cards in 1990-91 Junk Wax boom.  I assume he announced his intentions early to sign over seas, well before the card companies finalized their checklists.  Dan returned to the Toronto area after his stint in Europe.  He still lives in the Greater Toronto Area and is active in Alumni hockey.
  So for the first timer ever, two Lost Cards in one post, I present a 1990-91 OPC Dan Daoust career capper.

1990-91 OPC #531 Dan Daoust

1990-91 OPC #531 Dan Daoust

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Lost Rookies; 1983-84 OPC Jacques Cloutier

  The diminutive Jacques Cloutier, who is 5'7', played 12 NHL seasons but didn't get a rookie card until into his ninth season, when Junk Wax exploded.  He spent the majority of his career with the Buffalo Sabres, but never had a card while with them.
  Cloutier was star goalie in the QMJHL and the top underage goalie prospect in the draft.  In the two seasons leading up to the draft, Cloutier had 46 wins and 58(!!) wins for the Trios-Rivieres Draveurs.  He ranks 1st and 2nd in for most Wins in a QMJHL season by a goalie.  He is also the QMJHL career leader in wins with 142The Buffalo Sabres drafted Jacques in the 3rd round, 55th overall in the 1979 draft.  He was the fourth goalie drafted and the first underage.  (Fun Fact: Every goalie drafted in 1979 played at least a dozen games.) 
  Cloutier had a disappointing 1979-80 season in the QMJHL, only winning 27 games. After back-to-back 1st team All-Star selections, he was demoted to the 3rd team All-Star.  Cloutier turned pro in 1980-81 but did not make the NHL until the 1981-82 season.  He was called up after Bob Sauve was traded to Detroit.  Cloutier made the most of his opportunity while backing up Don Edwards.  He won his first start on December 20, 1981 against the Hartford Whalers.  Jacques went 5-1-0, .916, and 2.52 before a shot during practice broke his collarbone, causing him to miss the rest of the season.

1982-83 OPC Jacques Cloutier

  Cloutier started the 1982-83 season as the Sabres back-up but digressed from his hot start the previous season.  He finished the season in the minors after going 10-7-6, .858, and 3.50.  On the brightside, Cloutier backstopped the Rochester Americans to a Calder Cup championship in 1983.  On the downside, the Sabres drafted goalie Tom Barrasso fourth overall in the 1983 draft.  The 18 year old Barrasso made the team and became an instant star.  Cloutier played a single NHL over the next two seasons.  During the 1984-85 season, a season-ending injury forced Cloutier to the bench, were he acted as an Assistant Coach for the Rochester Americans.
  Cloutier began the 1985-86 season in the minors was was called up in December.  He earned his first career shutout on March 23, 1986, stopping 30 shots against the Philadelphia Flyers.  The following season he broke camp as the back-up but briefly overcame Barrasso as the starter.  Barrasso struggled early in the season, but eventually got his game together as Cloutier struggled later in the season.  Cloutier played 40 games that season.  His highest single season total as a Sabre. He went 11-19-5, .869 and 3.72.

1989-90 OPC Jacques Cloutier

  Cloutier lost his back-up gig on the Sabres during the 1987-88 season to Darren Puppa.  Although it was Puppa who bounced back and forth between the NHL and AHL, it was Puppa who took over when Barraso was injured in the play-offs. 

1988-89 OPC Jacques Cloutier

  Cloutier started the 1988-89 season in the minors.  He was called up in November after the Sabres traded Barrasso to the Penguins.  Cloutier was once again the Sabres back-up.  That was until starter Darren Puppa went down with a season-ending injury in January.  Cloutier became the starter and held off challenges from Darren Eliot, Darcy Wakaluk, before the Sabres acquired Clint Malarchuk from the Washington Capitals.  Cloutier was the goalie who had to come off the bench to play after Malachuk had his neck cut by a skate.  In his first career play-off start, Cloutier shutout the Boston Bruins.  The Sabres gave him a rest the following night, but he returned to play the final three games of the series.  The Bruins won 4 games to 1.

1989-90 OPC Jacques Cloutier

    With the return of Puppa, and now with Malarchuk also in the fold, Cloutier was the odd man out.  Near the end of the 1989 training camp, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks to be reunited wth his AHL coach, Mike Keenan.  He set career bests across the board during the 1989-90 season with 43 games played, 18 wins, 3.09 GAA and two shutouts.  His season was cut short with a knee injury in March.  The Blackhawks made the Campbell Conference final but lost the Edmonton Oilers.  Cloutier did return to play a few games but was already pushed down the depth chart by rookie Eddie Belfour. 
  Cloutier was finally noticed by the card companies, as set sized ballooned with the start of the Junk Wax era.  He had four rookie cards in 1990-91. 
  Seldom used by the Blackhawks during the 90-91 season, Cloutier was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for Tony McKegney at the end of January, 1991.  The Nordiques finished last overall and won the Eric Lindros sweepstakes. Perhaps the trade was too late, but Cloutier did not appear in any of the update sets as Nordique.  I always like OPC Premier so I mocked up a card of Cloutier.

1990-91 OPC Premier Jacques Cloutier

  Cloutier played the next three seasons with the Nordiques but frequently battles injuries.  He retired after the 1993-94 season.  Upon retiring, Cloutier took a job as the Nordiques goalie coach.  He was a coach with the Quebec/Colorado franchise from 1994 to 2009.  He won Two Stanley Cups with the team, in 1996 and 2001.  He is now coaching in the KHL.
  I made Jacques a 1983-84 Lost Rookie.  You may have noticed above, there was a 1982-83 one done as well.  The reason I went with the 1983-84 design was that I was already mostly finished the back when I realized, I could have easily made him a 1982-83 instead.  I stuck with the 83-84 since it was basically done and out of the 1980s sets, this is the one I have made the least of.

1982-83 OPC #399 Jacques Cloutier (RC)

1982-83 OPC #399 Jacques Cloutier (RC)

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Lost Cards: 1990-91 OPC Reed Larson

  After winning heaps of accolades, and a National Championship, while playing for his home state,  Minnesota University, in the NCAA, Reed Larson was drafted 22nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2nd round of 1976 NHL Amateur Draft.  A tough defenseman with a cannon for a shot, Larson was the top ranked American in the draft.
  Larson's university career came to an unceremonious end as he was suspended for assaulting an official during a regular season game during the 1976-77 season.  He turned pro shortly after and joined the Red Wings for the end of the 76-77 season, netting one assist in 14 games.  Larson fared much better in the 1977-78 season.  He scored his first career goal against Denis Herron of the Pittsburgh Penguin, on October 26, 1977.  It was the game-winning goal.  He finished the season with 60 points in 75 games.  At the time, 60 points was a season record for rookie defencemen.  
  As a member of the Red Wings, Larson was an incredibly consistent player.  From 1978 to 1986, Larson scored between 17 to 27 goals per season, and 58 to 74 points.  During his time with the Red Wings, he set franchise single season records for Defencemen in goals, 27 (still a team record), assists, and points.  During the 1983-84 season, he became the All-Time American-born career points leader.  The following season, he became the All-Time American-born Career Goal leader.  He has since been bumped down to 35th for points and 50th for goals.  Larson appeared in three All-Star games for the Red Wings, scoring a goal during the 1980 All-Star game that was held in Detroit.
  The Red Wings had little team success during Larson's time with them.  The Red Wings were nicknamed the Dead Wings during the 1970s and consistently one of the leagues worst teams until the late 1980s.  During the 1985-86 season, Larson was traded to the Boston Bruins for Mike O'Connell.  At the time of the trade, Larson was leading the Red Wings in points.  The change of scenery did not work for Larson.  He was no longer the top defenceman, as the Bruins already had Ray Bourque.  Larson had 36 and 34 points in his two seasons as a Bruin, as injuries hampered his play.  He missed the end of the 1988 regular season with an injury and was in and out of the line-up during the play-offs, including the finals against the Edmonton Oilers.  He was in the line-up for the Game Four tie against the Oilers, the night the lights went out.  The last time game in play-offs history.
  Larson was a free agent after the 1988 season, but suffered nerve damage in serious car crash during the off-season.  The injury raised questions regarding his health.  He was able to sign with the Oilers near the end of training camp.  He played exactly ten games with the Oilers, scoring nine points.  Four of those points, came in a single game.  He was traded to the New York Islanders for future consideration in December.  With the Islanders, he scored 20 points in 33 games.  The Islanders were sellers at the trade deadline and Larson was traded to the North Stars for a 7th round daft pick.  Larson netting 9 points in 11 games as a North Star.  So for the season, Larson played on three teams, scoring 38 points in 58 games. 

1989-90 OPC Reed Larson - Oilers - Islanders - North Stars
  Larson was a free agent during the 1989 off-season.  With interest dwindling in the former All-Star, Larson signed to play with HC Allege overseas in Italy.  Larson did return to the NHL one last time.  He was signed by the Buffalo Sabres in March of 1990 and played a single game.  After the season he returned to Italy to play professionally until 1994.  At 38 years old, Larson returned to Morth America and played 9 games in the IHL with the Minnesota Moose during the 1994-95 season.  He was elected to the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.
  Larson's last NHL card with in the 1988-89 set as a Boston Bruin.  After playing for three teams during the 1988-89 season, he did not get a OPC card and his one game stint with the Sabres did not draw any interest from any manufacturer.  Surprisingly, there is a high quality picture of Laron's brief stint with the Sabres.  So here is a career capper of Larson.

1990-91 OPC #530 Reed Larson
1990-91 OPC #530 Reed Larson

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1988-89 OPC Glenn Healy

  Glenn Healy has become more known as a hockey personality than as a hockey player.  Let's look a closer look at Glenn Healy the hockey player.  Healy attended Western Michigan University in the early 80s and went undrafted by the NHL.  He signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings in 1985.  Healy was called up to the Kings in November of 1985, as starter Bob Janecyk was out with injuries.  Healy played his first NHL game on Novermber 25, 1985, when entered the game in relief of Darren Eliot.  The Kings were down 3-0 to the Hartford Whalers when Healy entered the game during the 1st period.  The game ended 9-0.  Shortly after the Kings made a trade for new starter Roland Melanson and Healy was buried on the depth chart.
  Healy spent the majority of his first two professional seasons in the AHL.  In 1987, Healy broke camp as the back-up goalie for the Kings.  He won his first NHL game on October 28, 1987, a 5-2 victory against the New York Rangers.  His first career shutout was against the Vancouver Canucks on February 28th, 1987.  Healy was used sparingly down the stretch, playing 3 of the teams last 13 games, but took over the starting gig in the play-offs after Melanson gave up 9 goals in the play-offs opener against Calgary.  Healy went 1-3 during four play-off games as the Kings were eliminated in the first round.
  Healy began the 1988 season as the back-up but became the starter after Melanson gave up 11 goals to the Calgary Flames on October 16th.  The 1988-89 season was Wayne Gretzky's first season as a King.  As the season progress, there became a glaring weakness with the Kings - the goaltending.  On February 22nd, the Kings traded a package of players, including back-up Mark Fitzpatrick, to the New York Islanders for Kelly Hrudey.  Healy's days as the #1 in LA were over.

1989-90 OPC Glenn Healy

  And so were his days in LA.  Healy was a free agent in the 1989 off-season and was signed by the New York Islanders, who had to give up a 4th round pick as compensation.  The Islanders now had the Kings duo of goalies from the previous season.  Healy and Fitzpatrick, barring injuries, split the crease with the Islanders over the next four seasons.  Both goalies got rookie cards with the Islanders during the 1990 junk wax boom.  Although neither made the premier set of OPC Premier, who instead included Islanders rookie goalie prospect Jeff Hackett.  So I figure I will add an OPC Premier rookie of Healy for the high-end 1990 junk wax collectors.  Healy set a NHL record, since surpassed, by saving 51 shots in a shutout, against the Vancouver Canucks on January 16, 1990.

1990-91 OPC Premier Glenn Healy

  Healy was a key performer in my favourite all-time hockey moment - David Volek's 1993 game 7 overtime winner.  Healy was the Islanders starting goalie during their surprising run in the 1993 play-offs.  The Islanders 1993 Game 7 series win over the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champs Pittsburgh penguins is one of hockey's greatest play-off upsets. 
  Healy was a impending free agent in the 1993 off-season and was unlikely to resign with the Islanders.  Healy was left unprotected in the 1993 expansion draft was selected as the 3rd goalie overall by the Anahiem Mighty Ducks.  Then the next day there was another phase of the expansion draft.  This time, the three older expansion teams, the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators, were able to pick players from the the two new expansion teams, Anaheim and the Florida Panthers.  This phase was added since the three older expansion teams were historical bad, and were somewhat screwed over in the previous expansion drafts compared to the Ducks and Panthers.  Healy was not protected by the Ducks and was picked up by the Lightning, who then immediately traded him to the New York Rangers, who had lost goalie John Vanbiesbrouck in the expansion draft.  That's four teams in two days for Healy.  He went East coast to West Coast to South Coast to East coast, and in the end just moved across town.
  It was a good move for Healy.  Although he returned to being a back-up goalie, he won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994.  Healy spent four seasons with the Rangers.  He received his lone career Vezina vote in 1995, in a season he only played 17 games.  Healy signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1997 to serve as the team's back-up.  In 2000, Healy became a frivolity as he became the first known NHL player to be injured by bagpipes.  He was attempting to mend his bagpipes when he cut himself with a pair of scissors.  Healy retired after the 2000-01 season.  Healy was featured sparingly during his last few seasons with the Leafs.  He did get a career capper with Pacific, who were solid in giving players career cappers, in the 2001 set.  I figured I'd do a 2000-01 UD Vintage for Healy since it's a set I really like, and already have a template for.  Not the most flattering picture (someone must be winding up for a slapshot), but surprisingly there was not an abundance of full-body pictures of Healy as a Leaf.

2000-01 UD Vintage Glenn Healy 

  After retiring, Healy was a director in the NHLPA and then a colour commentator for Hockey Night in Canada with CBC.  I would say as a commentator, he was not beloved, but his opinions kept viewers tuned in and kept his career going.  As mentioned earlier, Healy never had a Kings card, so it's fitting that I made him a  Lost Rookie, and in the purple and gold no less.

1988-89 OPC Glenn Healy (RC)

1988-89 OPC Glenn Healy

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1986-87 OPC Jay Miller

  When I think of 1980s enforcers, I think of Jay Miller.  Miller and Bruins had legendary battles against Chris Nilan and John Kordic of the Montreal Canadiens.  So I was surprised when I learned Miller never had a rookie card until the 1990 Junk Wax boom, after he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.  And even then, only Upper Deck was the only set that included Miller in 1990.  So that makes Jay a perfect candidate for the Lost Cards and Lost Rookies.
  Miller was originally drafted 66th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1980 NHL Entry draft. Three picks later, the Oilers draft Jarri Kurri at 69th overall.  Miller was attending the University of New Hampshire and continued to play there until he graduated in 1983.  He played a handful of games with the Fredicton Express, the Nordiques AJL affiliate, before being traded to the Minnesota North Stars.  After a season in the North Stars minor league system, he was released.
  Miller, who was born near Boston, attended the Boston Bruins 1985 training camp and impressed the team with his toughness.  He was signed to a contract on October 1st, 1985 was sent to the minors to begin the season.  After notching 10 points and 113 PIM in 18 games, he was called up to the NHL.  In his first NHL game, on November 23, 1985, Miller fights Dave Brown.  He scores his first career goal against Tom Barrasso of the Buffalo Sabres on December 2nd, 1985.  Miller finishes his rookie season with 3 goals, 0 assists and 178 PIM in 46 games.

1987-88 OPC Jay Miller

  Miller played 3 and half seasons with the Bruins. He was at the forefront of many Adam division battles.  During his his three full seasons with the Bruins, he had 436 PIM in 79 games, for 5.5 PIM per game, against Adam division opponents.  Against all other divisions, he had 254 PIM in 100 games or 2.5 PIM per game.  Divisional play was fierce during the late 1980s.  Miller was on the ice for the NHL's last in-game bench clearing brawl, Bruins versus the Quebec Nordiques on February 26, 1987.
  Miller set a career high with 304 PIM during the 1987-88 season.  Good for 6th highest in the NHL that season.  The Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup finals, but lost in 1988.  Miller was injured in the first round but returned in the third round.  He still managed to accumulate 124 PIM in 12 games, which led all players.

1988-89 OPC Jay Miller 

  Miller was traded to the Los Angeles Kings during the 1988-89 season.  He was the future considerations in a Bobby Carpenter for Steve Kasper deal.  Miller finished the season 6th in PIM, with 301.

1989-90 OPC Jay Miller

  Playing as Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard came with perks.  Miller set a career high with 10 goals in 1989-90 and then with 20 points in 1990-91.  Miller, now 32, was battling a bacterial infection during the 1992 training camp was cut by the Los Angeles Kings.  Unable to get signed by another team, Miller retired.

1992-93 OPC Jay Miller

  Over his seven year career, Miller only got seven NHL cards.  None as a Bruin, and none during the 1992-93 sets.  His 1990-91 Upper Deck is his lone rookie card, which is odd for a player during the junk wax boom.  So he has a career capper above, but below is his 1986-87 OPC Lost Rookie.

1986-87 OPC #277 Jay Miller (RC)

1986-87 OPC #277 Jay Miller (RC)