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Friday, March 27, 2020

Lost Cards: 1985-86 OPC Steve Shutt

  Steve Shutt was inducted into the HHOF in 1993.  Drafted 4th overall in the 1972 draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Steve was one of four first round draft picks by the Canadiens that year, and was easily the most successful.  The Canadiens acquired the draft pick used on Shutt, back in June of 1968.  They traded minor league goalie Gerry Desjardins to the Los Angeles Kings for a 1969 1st rounder and a 1972 1st rounder.  They used the 1972 pick on Shutt.  The Montreal Canadiens GM Sam Pollock helped craft the Canadiens dominance during the 1970s by trading away aging role players for high draft picks to the expansion teams of the late 60s.
  One of the drawbacks of being selected by the Montreal Canadiens was the depth of that team.  Like other prospects, Shutt was brought along slowly.  He scored his first goal against Phil Myre of the Atlanta Flames in a 4-4 tie on December 2, 1972.  For his rookie season, Shutt would often be a healthy scratch and scored only 8 goals and 16 points in 50 games.  He followed it up with 35 points in 70 games the next season.
  1973-74 was a big season for the future of the Montreal Canadiens.  Young star, and future HHOFer, Guy Lafleur finally broke out and scored 119 points, which was more than his past two seasons combined.  Shutt earned a spot on the top line with Lafleur and had the first of his 9 consecutive 30 goal seasons.  Shutt and Lafleur would be linemates for the next decade.  Shutt had his best season a few years later in 1975-76, setting a then record by a left winger, 60 goals, as well as 105 points.  This was in the midst of the Montreal Canadiens winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979.  During the four straight Cups, Shutt had 61 points in 53 play-off games.
  The end of the Canadiens dynasty coincided with the retirement of goalie Ken Dryden in 1979 and the pieces started falling away.  Shutt's production began to slip as linemate Guy Lafleur battled injuries.  Shutt scored 35 goals in 1982-83, the last of his nine consecutive 30 goal seasons.
  Early in the 1984-85 season, frustrated by his ice time being cut and his reduced role with the Canadiens, Shutt requested a trade.  He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for future considerations in November of 1985.  Shutt tallied 41 points in 59 games as a King, but did not fit into the Kings future plans.  At age 32, he was the second oldest player on the roster.  The Kings had an option to return his contract to the Canadiens and did so.  Shutt didn't suit up for the Canadiens but was able to retire as one.  Which was nice for Shutt since the Canadiens at that time gave a retirement bonus worth one year's salary to its veterans.
  Although Shutt grew up a Toronto Maple Leafs fans, and enjoyed lack of pressure while playing for the Kings in Los Angeles, he will always be best remembered as a Montreal Canadien.  Which makes seeing him in the yellow and gold a bit jarring.  His solo season with the Kings, and subsequent retirement, did not make the cut of the slimmed down 1986-86 OPC set.  So here is his 1985-86 OPC Lost card.

1985-86 OPC #277 Steve Shutt

1985-86 OPC #277 Steve Shutt

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1988-89 OPC Adam Graves

  For some reason I always group  Adam Graves  and Ray Sheppard together as the same type of player and career.  They both debuted in the NHL in 1987-88.  They both played for the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers early in their careers.  In 1993-94, they both set a career high with 52 goals.  Their second best total was 38 goals each.  Both were goal scorers who had more goals then assists.  Both signed as free agents in 1991 to the teams they had their most success with during their career.
  Graves did have a longer career, 1124 GP vs 817 GP to Sheppard.  Was a grittier player, earning 1224 PIM to Ray's 212.  Graves also was a 2nd Team All-Star in 1994 and is a two time Stanley Cup Champion.  Still, the similarities are close enough to give credence as to why I associate the two so closely.
  One difference I didn't mention was that Sheppard made an immediate splash in the NHL, as a runner-up for the Calder trophy in 1988, and earning himself cards in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 OPC sets.  On the other hand, Graves's career started out much slower and he didn't get a rookie card until the 1990 card boom.  So to try to even up the scorecard on the Graves-Sheppard similarities, here's a 1988-89 OPC Lost Card of Adam Graves, as well as a 89-90 OPC.

1988-89 OPC #269 OPC Adam Graves (RC)

1988-89 OPC #269 Adam Graves (RC)

1989-90 OPC Adam Graves