Friday, May 13, 2016

Mail - A pile of TTM, 65 New Graphs

65 New NHL autographs and 72 total new hockey autographs to show since the last post. The grand total of unique NHL autographs in the collection is now 4,995 autographs. That accounts for 67% of the 7,446 different people who have played in the NHL between 1917 and 2016. 

The first three autographs here come from a trade and the many signed cards following my TTM responses all came from another trade, a big one with another NHL autograph collector. Unfortunatetly I haven't had the stamp money to send out more TTM requests lately but evidently I'm still reaping the rewards from all the letters I sent this past winter and before. 

Brendan Gallagher
Good Montreal Canadien players always command a premium so it took me a little while to get my hands on this Brendan Gallagher autograph. Gallagher finished in second place for the 2012/13 Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. Since then his been a vital member of the Habs, scoring over 150 points and recently being named an assistant captain.

Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad was a born star, granted exception status as a junior, he was drafted 1st overall in 2014 and in 2015 took home the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. In 2015 the young star also helped Canada win Gold at the World Hockey Championships.

Jori Lehtera
Finnish centerman Jori Lehtera was drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Blues. He spent a number of years in the KHL and in 2014 finally made his NHL debut with St. Louis. Since then he's played over 150 NHL games and has been a solid contributor, netting 23 goals and 78 points.

Tim Sestito
This is an ebay purchase and it was bought because it was had for very cheap, less than the cost of its shipping. I'd likely add a few more of these certified KHL autos if so many of them didn't have ridiculously high asking prices by a couple sellers. Sestito didn't get a certified autograph during his brief NHL career. From 2009 to 2015 he played just over 100 games in the NHL, his first with the Oilers and the rest with the New Jersey Devils. He did play 1 playoff game in the Devils improbable 2012 run to the Cup finals. His brother, Tom, also played in the NHL.

Connor Knapp
Connor Knapp has spent the majority of his pro hockey career toiling in the ECHL but when a string of goalie injuries struck the 2013/14 Buffalo Sabres he got the opportunity to see action in 2 NHL games. The Miami University alumni is unlikely to make it back to the show as the Sabres didn't resigned him.

Jordan Hendry
Defenceman Jordan Hendry will best be remembered for his small role on the Stanley Cup winning 2010 Chicago Blackhawks. Hendry was acquired by Chicago as an undrafted defenceman who had played for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. From 2007 to 2011 Hendry played 129 regular season NHL games with the Hawks. He also played 2 NHL games with the 2012/13 Anaheim Ducks.

Cody McLeod
Since 2007 grinder Cody McLeod has played well over 600 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche. He was an undrafted free agent signing who worked his way up from the ECHL. McLeod has been assistant captain of the Avalanche since 2013.

Aaron MacKenzie
An undrafted defenceman who graduated from the University of Denver in 2003, Aaron MacKenzie played 5 NHL games with the 2008/09 Colorado Avalanche.

Derek Peltier
From 2008 to 2010 defenceman Derek Peltier played 14 career NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche. The University of Michigan grad has since left hockey and is now working in the insurance business.

Zack Smith
The two protective index cards and even the return envelope all have the same identification #15-101 yellow sticker on them, which is somewhat interesting. It seems likely to be the team's system of autograph requests. Shout out to the Sens for taking care of their fans unlike some such as Detroit who refuse fan mail. Since 2009 Zack Smith has played 400 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators. He recently had a career year, scoring 25 goals for the 2015/16 Senators.

Chad Billins
I sent this letter to Chad Billins in Sweden where he's been playing but he must have sent it when he returned home to America and he added the extra postage so many thanks Chad! Billins played 10 games in the NHL with the 2013/14 Calgary Flames. The defenceman was an undrafted Ferris State alumni.

Karl Stollery
Karl Stollery played his way into an NHL contract after graduating from Merrimack College as a free agent in 2012. The defenceman has since played 12 NHL games between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks.

Kellan Lain
An undrafted forward, Kellan Lain played 9 NHL games with the 2013/14 Vancouver Canucks, scoring 1 goal and recording 21 penalty minutes. He actually holds the NHL record for fastest fight in an NHL career, dropping the gloves just 2 seconds into his big league debut.

Joe Jensen
Originally drafted by the Penguins in 2003, St. Cloud State alumni Joe Jensen scored 1 goal in 6 career NHL games with the 2007/08 Carolina Hurricanes.

Andy Roach
Andy Roach made his NHL debut with the 2005/06 St. Louis Blues as a grizzled 32 year old NHL rookie. To say he took the path less travelled would be an understatement. The defenceman graduated from Ferris State undrafted in 1997. After three seasons of North American pro hockey in the IHL he moved to Germany in 1999. He played pro in the German DEL leagues until 2004, when he moved to Switzerland for a year. It was from there that he finally got his shot at the NHL with St. Louis. Roach recorded 1 goal and 3 points in 5 career NHL games with the 2005/06 Blues.

Lee Goren
From 2000 to 2007 Lee Goren played 67 regular season games and 5 playoff games in the NHL. He scored 5 goals and 9 points while dressing with the Bruins, Panthers and Canucks.

Kirk Nielsen
A Harvard alumni, Kirk Nielsen played 6 career NHL games with the 1997/98 Boston Bruins. He retried from hockey relatively young in 1999 at 24, the decision likely aided by his Harvard degree. His younger brother, Jeff, also played in the NHL. 

Brian Felsner
Brian Felsner scored 1 goal and 4 points in 12 career NHL games with the 1997/98 Chicago Blackhawks. His brother, Denny, also had a brief stint in the NHL.

Nick Vachon
Nick Vachon's lone game in the NHL came in 1996 with the New York Islanders. Outside of that brief stint in the NHL, he's most notable for being the son of legendary LA Kings goalie Rogie Vachon. He actually became an actor for a some time after his hockey career and even had a minor role in the 2003 Samuel L. Jackson blockbuster S.W.A.T. 

Stephane Richer
There were two Stephane Richers who played in the NHL in the 1990s that both happen to be born in 1966 and I now have both of them in the collection. From 1992 to 1995 this particular Stephane Richer  played 27 career games in the NHL, scoring 1 goal and 6 points. The defenceman was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers. He's been in Germany since 2003 playing, coaching and now managing in his adopted nation.

Mike Stothers
From 1984 to 1988 defenceman Mike Stothers played 30 NHL games between the Flyers and Maple Leafs. He returned to the NHL as an assistant coach with Philly from 2000 to 2002 and the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010/11. Stothers is currently head coach of the AHL's Ontario Reign. 

Brandy Semchuk
Brandy Semchuk wrote me back a great little note, "Thanks for the interest in my signaure. Its nice to know I am not completely forgotten lol. My best memory was the one and only regular season game I played against the Flames." That game was with the 1992/93 Los Angeles Kings.

Don Biggs
Don Biggs played 1 NHL game with the 1984/85 Minnesota North Stars and another 11 with the 1989/90 Philadelphia Flyers. The centerman scored 2 goals with Philly. His son, Tyler, was a 2011 first round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Patrick Lebeau
Between 1990 and 1999 Patrick Lebeau scored 3 goals and 5 points in 15 career NHL games. His brief NHL career still saw him dress for four different teams; the Canadiens, Flames, Panthers and Penguins. He's most notable for helping Canada win a Silver medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics. His brother, Stephane, also played in the NHL.

Jim Pettie
Pettie apologized for signing "John" instead of "Jay." I found it rather comical because oddly enough my father's name is John and it genuinely doesn't bother me. He wrote me back a wonderful note about playing with Gerry Cheevers and being coached by Don Cherry. Jim Pettie played in 21 NHL games with the Boston Bruins in the late 1970s.

Alex Pirus
From 1976 to 1980 Alex Pirus scored 30 goals and 58 points in 159 regular season games in the NHL. Most of that time was spent with the Minnesota North Stars but Pirus did play a handful of games for the Detroit Red Wings. 

Dave Richter
From 1981 to 1990 tough defenceman Dave Richter played 365 regular season games in the NHL as a member of the North Stars, Flyers, Canucks and Blues. The University of Michigan grad recorded over 1000 penalty minutes in his NHL career.

Dean Turner
From 1978 to 1983 defenceman Dean Turner played 35 games in the NHL. He dressed with the New York Rangers, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Kings.

John Taft
John Taft played 15 NHL games with the 1978/79 Detroit Red Wings. Taft spent a number of years on the US National team and in 1976 captained team USA at the Winter Olympics, finishing in fifth place. 

Bob Bodak
Bob Bodak played 3 NHL games with the 1987/88 Calgary Flames and 1 game with the 1989/90 Hartford Whalers. The tough forward didn't record a point in his 4 career NHL games but did get 29 penalty minutes. 

Warren Miller
From 1975 to 1983 Warren Miller played over 200 games in both the WHA and NHL. In the NHL he scored 40 goals and 90 points between the Rangers and Whalers. The Minnesota native represented America at the 1981 Canada Cup and 2 World Hockey Championships.

Don Nachbauer
From 1980 to 1990 Dan Nachbaur played well over 200 games in the NHL as a member of the Whalers, Oilers and Flyers. Since hanging up his skates in 1994, he's spent a couple decades coaching, mostly in the WHL.

John Blum
An undrafted University of Michigan alumni, defenceman John Blum played 250 regular season games in the NHL between 1982 and 1990. He spent time with the Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings.

Bob Joyce
Bob Joyce scored 52 goals in his last year of NCAA hockey with North Dakota. The next season he played for Canada at the 1988 Olympics, finishing fourth. From 1988 to 1993 Joyce played over 150 NHL games between the Bruins, Capitals and Jets. He's also notable for playing 23 playoff games in 1988, helping the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Hannu Virta
From 1982 to 1986 defenceman Hannu Virta played 245 regular season NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres. In 1994 he helped Finland with a Bronze at the Olympics. He also won a Gold at the 1995 World Championships with Finland. 

Mark Kumpel
From 1984 to 1991 Mark Kumpel played well over 300 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He was a member of the Nordiques, Red Wings and Jets. Kumpel also represented America at the 1984 Olympics. 

Gord Hampson
An undrafted University of Michigan alumni, Gord Hampson played 4 career NHL games with the 1982/83 Calgary Flames. His father, Ted, was a long time NHLer and he wrote me a great note about how his father managed to make the trip to see Gord's first NHL game.

Dave Fortier
From 1972 to 1977 defenceman Dave Fortier played over 200 games in the NHL. He was a member of the Maple Leafs, Islanders and Canucks. Fortier also spent a season in the WHA with the 1977/78 Indianapolis Racers. The request took a couple years to get back to me but Fortier actually took to the time to add a wonderful letter about his career that was a joy to read. 

Jim Niekamp
In the early 1970s defenceman Jim Niekamp played 29 games in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings. From 1972 to 1977 Niekamp played nearly 400 games in the WHA between the LA Sharks and Phoenix Roadrunners.

Al McLeod
Al McLeod spent one season in the NHL, playing 26 games with the 1973/74 Detroit Red Wings. He then spent the next 6 years in the WHA, playing 342 regular season games in the great rebel league. 

Ron Boehm
Ron Boehm scored 2 goals and 3 points in 16 career NHL games with the 1967/68 Oakland Seals. He had two stints in the New York Rangers organization but was never able to crack their NHL roster.

George Konik
Big thanks to his relative or nurse who returned the request with a little heartbreaking note. Whomever said George have it the best signature he could but he's currently suffering from Parkinson's and dementia. They also said George's favourite memories are playing against some of the famous guys like Bobby Orr. Konik played 52 games in the NHL with the 1967/68 Pittsburgh Penguins and 54 games in the WHA with the 1972/73 Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Ron Buchanan
Ron "Bucky" Buchanan played 3 games with the 1966/67 Boston Bruins and later 2 more NHL games with the 1969/70 St. Louis Blues. He's better known for playing over 200 games in the WHA during the 1970s, dressing with the Cleveland Crusaders, Edmonton Oilers and Indianapolis Racers. He father, Ralph "Bucky" Buchanan, also had a short NHL career.

Dan Gratton
Maybe Dan liked the picture on the card I sent or for whatever reason he kept the index and sent me a card in its place. No problem with that on my end as this card serves the same purpose. In 7 career NHL games with the 1987/88 Los Angeles Kings Gratton recorded 1 goal and a fight with Minnesota's Bob Brooke. Gratton had been drafted 10th overall by the Kings in 1985.

Chad Wiseman
Chad Wiseman played 9 career games in the NHL, 4 with the San Jose Sharks and 5 with the New York Rangers. He's currently head coach and GM of the NWHL's New York Riveters.

Darren Reid
Darren Reid played 7 NHL games with the 2005/06 Tampa Bay Lightning and 14 games with the 2006/07 Philadelphia Flyers.

Kris Vernarsky
From 2002 to 2004 forward Kris Vernarsky played 17 games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins and recorded 1 goal. Originally a second round Toronto Maple Leafs pick in 2000, Vernarsky was traded to the Bruins in 2002.

Matt Walker
From 2002 to 2012 defenceman Matt Walker played over 300 games in the NHL. He was a member of the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philly Flyers.

Matt Cooke
I've written to Matt Cooke a number of times but have had the misfortune of never getting a return from him. Its actually amazing to me that the guy has never gotten a certified autograph. What other modern day NHLer who's won a Stanley Cup and played over 1,000 games doesn't have a certified signature? Perhaps he refused to sign for the card companies. Cooke won a Gold at the 2004 World Hockey Championships with Canada and a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Penguins. 

Daniel Corso
From 2000 to 2004 Daniel Corso scored 14 goals and 25 points in 77 regular season NHL games. Most of that was with the St. Louis Blues but he did spend some time with the 03/04 Atlanta Thrashers.

Brennan Evans
Brennan Evans' NHL career lasted just 2 games and they came in the 2004 playoffs with the Calgary Flames. Unlike the statistics websites, I organize my year of debuts slightly different, including guys with playoff debuts in the year they played in the playoffs., for example, has a great list of NHL debuts by year but list guys with playoff debuts in the following season, when they played in the regular season for the first time. A guy like Evans, who only played in the playoffs, justifies my OCD about organization and including a 2004 playoff debut in the 2003/04 season. 

David Cullen
From 2000 to 2002 David Cullen played 16 NHL games with the Phoenix Coyotes and another 3 with the Minnesota Wild. The defenceman was help pointless in his short NHL career. The University of Maine alumni has received his Masters in Education since retiring from hockey in 2010.

Mitch Fritz
This might by my favourite autograph of the entire post. I've wanted a Mitch Fritz autograph ever since he and the Islanders came to PEI in 2008 for some training camp games and a preseason contest against the Florida Panthers. I say this because we got such a kick out of watching Fritz in particular. The tough guy looked comically out of place, obvisouly there for his fighting skills and not scoring abilities. I also remember him towering above the other players at 6.7' and almost 250 he was force. Fritz played 20 NHL games with the 2008/09 NY Islanders. He didn't record a single point but accumulated a few fights and 42 penalty minutes. He retired in 2011 and I hadn't been able to located him for a TTM request. 

Jason Morgan
Jason Morgan bounced around the North American pro hockey scene for a long time. Between 1996 and 2007 he played 44 regular season games in the NHL. Morgan played for the LA Kings, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild. 

Kyle Freadrich
From 1999 to 2001 Kyle Freadrich played 23 games in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He recorded 1 assist and 8 fights in his short NHL career.

Greg Classen
From 2000 to 2003 Greg Classen scored 7 goals and 17 points in 90 career NHL games with the Nashville Predators. He's still playing pro hockey in Germany.

Zdenek Kutlak
From 2000 to 2004 Czech defenceman Zdenek Kutlak played 16 games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. He's helped the Czech Republic capture Silver at the 2006 World Championships and Bronze at the 2012 World Championships.

Dmitry Afanasenkov
From 2000 to 2007 Dmitry Afanasenkov played over 200 games in the NHL as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers. He's most notable for helping the Lightning win the 2004 Stanley Cup. He retired in 2013 after a few seasons in his native Russia. Retired Russians are nearly impossible to find TTM so I'm happy to add this signature. 

Dieter Kochan
From 1999 to 2002 Dieter Kochan appeared in 20 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He also appeared in 1 NHL game with the 2002/03 Minnesota Wild and dressed as a backup with the NY Islanders during the 2003/04 season. Kochan was originally drafted by the Canucks in 1993 and then spent four years at Northern Michigan University.

Gregg Naumenko
Gregg Naumenko appeared in 2 NHL games with the 2000/01 Anaheim Mighty Ducks. The Chicago native played for America at the 2002 World Hockey Championships.

Todd Richards
From 1990 to 1992 Todd Richards played 8 regular season and 11 playoff games with the Hartford Whalers. He's had more success in the NHL as a head coach, from 2009 to 2011 he was bench boss of the Minnesota Wild and from 2011 to 2015 was head coach of the Blue Jackets.

Peter White
I still have the elusive Peter White 01/02 Signature Series autograph on my want list but for now this Peter White autograph will due just fine for the collection. From 1993 to 2004 Peter White bounced around the North American pro hockey scene. He appeared in over 200 NHL games and was a member of the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Russell Romaniuk
From 1991 to 1996 Russell Romaniuk played over 100 games in the NHL. He was a member of the Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers.

Erich "Rick" Goldmann
German defenceman Rick Goldmann played 1 game in the NHL with the 1999/00 Ottawa Senators. He represented Germany in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

Jason Lafreniere
From 1986 to 1994 Jason Lafreniere scored 34 goals and 87 points in 146 regular season NHL games. The skilled forward suited up with the Quebec Nordiques, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. His father, Roger, also played in the NHL.


Hockey autographs #66-72 of the post fall outside of my NHL player collection.

Pete Donnelly
Pete Donnelly appeared between the net in 100 WHA games. He played for the New York Raiders, Vancouver Blazers and Quebec Nordiques.

Ron Hansis
From 1976 to 1978 Ron Hansis scored 17 goals and 29 points in 100 career games in the WHA with the Houston Aeros. He wrote back to me that his highlight was playing with the great Gordie Howe.

John French
I had sent my request to French's Canadian address but he must have been in the USA when he returned, not a problem because French was such a gentleman he added the US postage! Thanks Mr. French! From 1972 to 1978 John French played over 400 games in the WHA. He scored over 100 goals and 300 points while dressing for the New England Whalers, San Diego Mariners and Indianapolis Racers.

Bill Gilligan
A Brown University alumni, Bill Gilligan played well over 100 games in the WHA with the Cincinnati Stingers from 1977 to 1979. He scored 27 goals and 67 points in his 2 seasons with the Stingers. He also represented America at the 1978 World Hockey Championships. Gilligan wrote back to me noting his highlight in the WHA was playing against the likes of Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Wayne Gretzky.

Mike Valley
Mike Valley only appeared in the NHL but only as a backup goalie. He appeared on the bench with the Vancouver Canucks once during the 1998/99 season. He was backup to Corey Hirsch in a loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Since retiring in 2004 Valley has spend almost a decade in the NHL as a goalie coach with the Nashville Predators and then the Dallas Stars.

Wayne Bonney
Wayne Bonney officiated over 1,600 NHL games and 700 WHA games during his lengthy career that started in the 1970s and lasted until 2004. He also officiated over 200 NHL playoff games including five Stanley Cup finals.

Blane Comstock
Blane Comstock goes into my growing collecting of hockey Olympians who never played in the NHL. Comstock was America's second goalie at the 1976 Olympics. The team finished the tournament in 5th place and outside of the medals. Comstock also represented the USA at the 1975 World Championships.

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