Gary Simmons and Mathieu Corbeil
Simmons took an unconventional route to the NHL, playing 3 full seasons of senior hockey in Newfoundland before going to play over 100 NHL games for California, Cleveland and LA. I like this card because he's pictured in the mask he's probably best known for. Corbeil goes into my 'backup only' binder for now. On October 18 this season the Blue Jackets called him up straight from the QMJHL as an emergency backup for Steve Mason. He's still in the Jackets system, has had a stellar junior career, but is still working on a contract.
Jason Bacashihua and Mike Veisor
Once a top prospect for the Dallas Stars, Bacashihua played 38 NHL games between 2005 and 2007 for the St. Louis Blues. He's since been an AHL goalie. ITG's 11/12 Between the Pipes autograph checklist gave some interesting goalies first time signature cards. Veisor was a career backup goalie, playing for Chicago, Hartford and Winnipeg. He played only 140 games through 10 seasons.
Jake Dowell and Link Gaetz
After 4 full seasons at the University of Wisconsin and another few years in the AHL Dowell finally caught on with the Blackhawks full time in the 10/11 season. He played his second season for the Dallas Stars. In only 65 career NHL games Gaetz scored 6 goals, 14 points and a whopping 412 penalty minutes. He played for the North Stars and Sharks but off ice issues seemed to have derailed his career.
Brad Ralph and Martin Houle
Ralph played 1 NHL game, for the 00/01 Pheonix Coyotes. He's currently a head coach in the SPHL. Houle actually saw even less NHL action, playing a grand total of 2 minutes in his only game for the 06/07 Philadelphia Flyers.
This card came to me straight from Panini. I had bought the redemption a while ago for .99$. He played a couple season in Colorado before being picked up by the Predators this year via waivers. He excelled in Nashville and was a noticeable player during their 10 game playoff run.
The Tough Times inserts, as much as I like them, were a disaster in terms of autograph parallels for Panini. Many missing numbers on the checklist and this one doesn't even have a non-auto version. A Bob McGill 'autograph only' Tough Times exists as well. They were sent out as redemption replacements, not pack inserted. For this reason I was surprised and happy to find this, Gord Donnelly's only autograph to date. Through 10 NHL seasons he played well over 500 games and amassed over 2000 penalty minutes.
Dale Rolfe and Stu McNeill
Moving on to players without certified autographs. Dale Rolfe made his NHL debut for the 1959/60 Boston Bruins. He played 3 games for the B's before being relegated to the AHL for years. The expansion gave new opportunity for Rolfe and would go on to play over 500 games for the Red Wings, Kings and Rangers. Stu McNeill played 10 games for the Red Wings from 1957-60.
Frank "Red" Kane and Lou Marcon
Kane played 2 game for the war ridden 43/44 Red Wings team. Over three years, 1959-62, Marcon saw 60 games of NHL action on the Detroit blue line.
Ron Hutchinson and Tom Colley
Center Ron Hutchinson played 9 games for the 1960/61 Rangers, recording no points. Colley was an AHL star who could only manage 1 NHL game for the 74/75 North Stars.
Ed Beers and Jamie Hislop
Ed Beers played only 250 games between the Flames and Blues but netted 94 goals and 210 points. He only played a couple full seasons and had to retire after only 6 seasons due to injury. Because Calgary traded him half way through his last season, when he still had value, he was a key piece to the deal that brought the Flames Joe Mullen, an integral part of the 89 Cup team. Hislop started his career playing 3 seasons for the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers. He was an original Quebec Nordique, playing with the team from 1979 to 1981. He ended his 350+ game career in 1984 after four seasons with the Flames.
Garry Monahan and Bob Halkidis
Monahan made his NHL debut with the 67/68 Montreal Canadiens and would go onto play over 750 games with the Habs, Red Wings, Kings, Leafs and Canucks. He will forever be a trivia staple as he was the first ever player selected in an NHL draft, being the Habs first overall pick in 1963. Halkidis made his NHL debut in the post season for the 1985 Buffalo Sabres. He would play pro hockey until 2001, totalling 250+ NHL games between the Sabres, Kings, Leafs, Red Wings, Lightning and Islanders.
Jeff Bloemberg and Jim Hrycuik
Bloemberg played 50 games for the Rangers between 1988 and 1992. Hrycuik, who only had a 4 year pro hockey career, appeared in 21 games for the horrid 74/75 Washington Capitals, the franchises first year in the league.
Vern Stenlund and Ron Huston
Stenlund played 4 games for the 76/77 Cleveland Barons. After retiring from hockey he received his doctorate degree, is currently a professor at the University of Windsor and has written numerous books about coaching hockey. Huston played 79 games over two seasons in the mid 70s for the California Golden Seals. He then played 2 seasons in the World Hockey Association.
Bert Marshall and Pete Babando
Marshall was a stay at home defensemen who played 14 full seasons in the NHL with Detroit, Oakland, California and both New York franchises. He went without a Cup in over 900 NHL games but finally got his hands on the trophy when he won it as a scout with the 2006 Hurricanes. Babando is best known for scoring the Game 7, second overtime, 1950 Stanley Cup winning goal while a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
Max Labovitch and Gregg Boddy
Labovitch played 5 games for the 43/44 Rangers, who had lost a number of regulars to war service. Defenseman Gregg Boddy played 276 games over 5 years with the Vancouver Canucks. He played in the WHA for the San Diego Mariners and Edmonton Oilers before ending his career in Japan.
Ron Plumb and Wayne Brown
Plumb was drafted by the Bruins in 1970 but choose to make his pro debut with the newly founded World Hockey Association in 1972. He would play in the league for its whole existence, not making his NHL debut until 1979. He played only 26 NHL games but saw nearly 600 WHA games, scoring well over 300 points and earning a spot on the 76/77 All-Star team. Wayne Brown played only 4 NHL games but oddly they were all in important games during the 53/54 playoffs.
Dave Gagnon and Pierre Plante
Gagnon's lengthy career lasted all of 35 minutes playing for the 90/91 Red Wings. Plante started his career with Philadelphia's broad street bullies of the early 70s. Most of his 600+ games career was spent in St. Louis before playing his last three years in Chicago, Quebec and New York with the Rangers.
Still without a certified autograph, Ward is well known in PEI as he played for the University of Prince Edward Island before moving on to the NHL. He's a mainstay on the fourth line for the Capitals and does a great job in the position.