This is my first mail post since moving to Canada's capital city, Ottawa. I've been busy with my graduate program but always seem to find some time for the hobby. If there are any other collectors from the Ottawa area reading this, feel free to send me a message.
Many of these, the custom cards included, come from a big trade with a Slovakian collector. Thank-you Radovan for the great trade! Therefore, you'll see lots of great signatures from Slovakian hockey players. I also got a package from a Russian seller with some KHL signatures, a couple ebay purchases, a number of TTM returns and even a gift from an NHL equipment manager.
With 60 new NHL signatures, the grand total of unique NHL signatures now stands at 4,650 autographs for 64% of everyone (7,278 people) who has played in the league since its creation in 1917.
This autograph is a good example of why I tell anyone in the hobby to buy things for enjoyment and never for profit/investment. The value of the Ryan Nugent Hopkins cards, the 2011 1st overall draft pick, have steadily dropped to the point where I won this card for just over $2.
From 2008 to 2011 Anssi Salmela played 112 NHL games between the New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers. With Finland, the defeceman won a Gold medal at the 2011 World Championships and Bronze medal at the 2008 World Championships.
An undrafted defenceman, Shaun Heshka played 8 NHL games with the 2009/2010 Phoenix Coyotes.
Russian defeceman Nikita Nesterov is entering his second season as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
From 2001 to 2004 goalie Pasi Nurminen appeared between the pipes in over 100 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers. Since 2005 the Finnish native has been coaching hockey in Europe.
From 2007 to 2012 defenceman Sami Lepisto played 176 regular season games in the NHL. He was a member of the Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks. With Finland, he won Bronze medals at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
From 1993 to 2006 Russian tough guy Andrei Nazarov played nearly 600 games in the NHL. He suited up for the Sharks, Lightning, Flames, Mighty Ducks, Bruins, Coyotes and Wild. He's spent the last decade coaching in Russia.
From 1986 to 1995 Christian Ruuttu played well over 600 games in the NHL. He was a solid contributor who recorded 432 career regular season points. He represented the Buffalo Sabres at the 1988 NHL All-Star game. With Sweden, he won Silver medals at the 1992 and 1994 World Championships. Since 2004 he's worked as scout for both the Phoenix Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings.
From 1988 to 1994 Dominic Lavoie scored 5 goals and 13 points in 38 career NHL games. He dressed briefly with the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings.
From 1995 to 1999 J-F Jomphe played 111 games in the NHL. He scored 10 goals and 39 points between the Mighty Ducks, Canadiens and Coyotes. Greatest Hockey Legends did a great interview with him about his career that you can read here.
Since 2003 Cody McCormick has played well over 400 games in the NHL. He's been a member of the Avalanche, Sabres and Wild.
Since 2003 defenceman Rob Scuderi has played well over 700 games in the NHL. He won a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and a second Cup with the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.
Like Rob Scuderi, its hard to believe Matt Greene has never gotten a certified autograph. Since 2005 defenceman Matt Greene has played almost 600 regular season and 80 playoff games in the NHL. He won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014 with the Los Angeles Kings.
From 1993 to 1995 defenceman Ilya Byakin recorded 33 points in 57 career NHL games. He was a member of the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks. The Ukrainian won an Olympic Gold Medal with the Soviet Union in 1988.
Although I don't mind these custom cards, and the signature is ultimately what I'm after, the getty images watermark bugs me so much that I may have to take the knife to some of these and convert them into my standard index design. Slovakian forward Peter Olvecky played 31 NHL games with the 2008/09 Minnesota Wild and 1 NHL game with the 2009/10 Nashville Predators.
From 2009 to 2011 Mario Bliznak played 6 career NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks. The Slovakian centre recorded 1 goal. He won the 2007 Memorial Cup with the WHL's Vancouver Giants. In 2012 he helped Slovakia win a Silver Medal at the World Hockey Championships.
There are a few of these customs cards that don't have pictures that I'll likely cut up in the future and convert into my standard index design with a player picture. Forward Janne Pesonen played 7 career NHL games with the 2008/09 Pittsburgh Penguins. He won a World Championship Gold Medal with Finland in 2011.
Since 2006 defenceman Andrej Sekera has played over 500 games in the NHL. He helped Slovakia win a Silver at the 2012 World Championships.
From 2000 to 2013 long time Toronto Maple Leaf Alexei Ponikarovsky played 678 regular season games in the NHL. He was a three time 20 goal scorer with Toronto who also spent time with the Penguins, Kings, Hurricanes, Devils and Jets. The Ukrainian helped the Devils reach the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.
Between 1997 and 2000 Slovakian forward Lubomir Vaic played 9 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks. He's won a Bronze (2003) and Silver (2000) medal at the World Championships with Slovakia.
Milan Novy spent one season in North America playing with the Washington Capitals. He scored 18 goals and 48 points in 73 career NHL games with the 1982/83 Caps. Internationally, he had great success and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2011. He helped Czechoslovakia win a Silver Medal at the Olympics in 1976. In 1980, although he's team didn't win a medal, Novy lead the Olympics in scoring with 15 points in just 6 games. He won 7 medals at the World Championships, including two Gold medals from 1976 and 1977.
Slovakian forward Stanislav Gron played one game in the NHL with the 2000/2001 New Jersey Devils.
From 1982 to 1990 Slovakian Peter Ihnacak played over 400 games in the NHL with the Maple Leafs and scored over 100 goals. He's been a Maple Leafs European scout since 2005. His brother, Miroslav, also played in the NHL.
From 2001 to 2006 Jaroslav Svoboda played 159 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars. The Czech native is notable for helping the Hurricanes reach the 2002 Stanley Cup finals.
From 1990 to 1992 Slovakian defenceman Jergus Baca played 10 games in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers.
Tony Martensson played 6 NHL games with the 2003/04 Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He won a Gold Medal with Sweden at the 2006 World Championships.
Slovakian Peter Bartos scored 4 goals and 6 points in 13 career NHL games with the 2000/01 Minnesota Wild. He's still playing pro hockey in Slovakia at 42.
From 2001 to 2003 goalie Jan Lasak played 6 NHL games with the Nashville Predators. Over his career he's helped Slovakia win a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal at the World Championships.
Czech Tomas Srsen played 2 career NHL games with the 1990/91 Edmonton Oilers.
From 1999 to 2001 Latvian defenceman Kaspars Astasenko played 23 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2012 he died young from a drug overdose.
From 2001 to 2004 Slovakian Andrej Nedorost played 28 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Russian defenceman Ruslan Batyrshin played 2 career NHL games with the 1995/96 Los Angeles Kings.
In 1974 Finnish forward Veli-Pekka Ketola was lured to North America by the WHA's Winnipeg Jets. He scored over 20 goals in all three of his seasons with the Jets and in 1976 helped them claim the Avco Cup as WHA champions. Ketola went back to Finland for another 4 years before finally making his NHL debut with the 1981/82 Colorado Rockies. He's a member of the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame.
Defenceman Floyd Hillman played 6 NHL games with the 1956/57 Boston Bruins. His brothers, Larry and Wayne, had long NHL careers.
From 1983 to 1990 Peter Sundstrom played well over 300 games in the NHL. He was a member of the Rangers, Capitals and Devils. He won a Gold Medal at the 1987 World Championships with Sweden. His twin brother, Patrik, also played in the NHL.
Defenceman Radoslav Hecl played 14 career games in the NHL with the 2002/03 Buffalo Sabres. In 2002 he won a Gold Medal at the World Championships with Slovakia.
From 2002 to 2004 Radovan Somik played over 100 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers. In 2002 he won a World Championship Gold Medal as a member of Slovakia.
Igor Liba spent one season in North America. He scored 7 goals and 25 points in 37 career NHL games between the 1988/89 New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. He won an Olympic Silver (1984) and Bronze (1992) with Czechoslovakia.
Defenceman Tom Manastersky played 6 career NHL games with the 1950/51 Montreal Canadiens. Manastersky was a two sport athlete. He's also notable for being a long time CFL player and helped the Montreal Alouettes win the 1949 Grey Cup, their first in franchise history. He passed away in 2012.
The first of my recent through the mail (TTM) returns. Jim Watt's extremely short NHL career consisted of one appearance between the pipes in just one period, 20 minutes, of a single NHL game with the 1973/74 St. Louis Blues. The Blues had signed him as a free agent after playing for Michigan State.
Leo Thiffault only played 5 games in the NHL, and they all came in the playoffs with the 1968 Minnesota North Stars.
This was a bittersweet return since it was likely one of the last autographs Rick Foley signed. He passed away this september. A tough defenceman, Rick Foley played 67 career NHL games, seeing time with the Blackhawks, Flyers and Red Wings. He also spent some time in the WHA with the Toronto Toros.
From 1972 to 1982 defenceman John Marks played over 700 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He's spent over 30 years as a coach, twice serving as bench boss to ECHL champions. In 2012 he was inducted into the ECHL's Hall of Fame.
Between 1982 and 1988 forward Leigh Verstraete played 8 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
From 1977 to 1982 defenceman Trevor Johansen played just under 300 career NHL games. A first round pick by the Maple Leafs in 1977, Johansen also spent time with the Colorado Rockies and LA Kings. His father, Bill, played 1 game in the NHL for the 1949/50 Maple Leafs.
Between 1985 and 1995 Mikko Makela scored 118 goals and 265 points in 423 regular season NHL games. His best season was in 1987/88 with the Islanders when he recorded 36 goals and 76 points in just 73 games. He won a Bronze Medal at the 1994 Olympics with Finland.
From 1987 to 1989 forward Magnus Roupe played 40 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers. He won a World Championship Silver Medal with Sweden in 1989/90.
From 1985 to 1995 Brian Benning played over 600 regular season+playoff games in the NHL as a member of the Blues, Kings, Flyers, Oilers and Panthers. I actually sent this request in 2012 so it took over 3 years to get back to me!
From 1986 to 1995 John LeBlanc played just over 80 games in the NHL. He was a member of the Canucks, Oilers and Jets.
From 1981 to 1988 Lindsay Carson played 422 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He spent most of his time with the Philadelphia Flyers but ended his career with the Hartford Whalers.
From 1999 to 2003 defenceman Jesse Wallin played 49 career NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings. He played 15 regular season games for the 2002 Stanley Cup winning Red Wings. It was enough to get a Cup ring but not his name on the trophy. He's currently an amateur scout with the St. Louis Blues.
From 2009 to 2011 Swedish forward Andreas Thuresson scored 1 goal and 3 assists in 25 career NHL games with the Nashville Predators.
From 1994 to 1996 Zac Boyer played in 5 career NHL games with the Dallas Stars (3 in the regular season and 2 in the 1995 playoffs). He scored the game wining goal in the 1992 Memorial Cup finals to give his Kamloops Blazers the championship.
This Judza and the next four customs come from signed index cards I acquired from a trade with a another collector, thanks Fred! Bill Juzda played nearly 400 regular season NHL games between 1940 and 1952. He helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup in 1948 and 1951. Juzda passed away in 2008.
From 1973 to 1981 Hartland Monahan played 334 regular season NHL games as a member of the Golden Seals, Rangers, Capitals, Kings, Penguins and Blues. His son, Shane, was a pro baseball player who spent some time in the MLB.
Swedish defenceman Stefan Persson played over 700 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He's most notable for being a member of all four New York Islanders Stanley Cup Championship teams.
From 1987 to 1992 Ken Priestlay scored 27 goals and 61 points in 168 career regular season NHL games. He's most notable for winning the Stanley Cup in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Czechoslovakian Vladimir Sobotka spent seven years in the NHL before signing in the KHL for big money. He had turned down an NHL contract from the St. Louis Blues.
This is one of three signed nameplates featured in this mail post (the other two at the below). They have a great story to go with them. This summer I received an email from none other than the Pittsburgh Penguins' equipment manager. I was more than happy to help him find a few retired Pens goalies for a goalie mask they're putting together. He knew I collected signatures and sent me a bundle of signed nameplates! Three go into my autograph binders but the rest will decorate my study. Phil Bourque played well over 500 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He's most notable for winning the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992 with the Penguins.
I'll end with a nice vintage signature. Jack Toupin played 8 NHL games with the 1943/44 Chicago Blackhawks. He passed away in 1987 so I found his autograph on an old minor league hockey contract he had signed.
Autographs 60-69 in this post don't go in my NHL debuts collection, but into my other hockey related autograph collections of GMs, coaches, NHL backup goalies and referees.
Three time Stanley Cup champion and long time New Jersey Devils GM, Lou Lamoriello has contributed so much to the game of hockey that he's already been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He's currently GM of the Maple Leafs.
Video expert Andrew Brewer is entering his first season as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He followed Mike Babcock to Toronto from Detroit. He was a member of Team Canada's 2014 Olympic Gold Medal winning team staff.
From 1982 to 1995 David Poile served as General Manager of the Washington Capitals and since 1997 he's been GM of the Nashville Predators.
Charles Thiffault spent time as an assistant coach with the Quebec Nordiques, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. He won the Stanley Cup in 1993 as Montreal's assistant bench boss.
Todd Lumbard dressed as a backup goalie in 6 regular season NHL games with the 1984/85 New York Islanders.
Andrew Verner dressed as an NHL backup goalie for 2 games with the 1992/93 Edmonton Oilers. Like Todd Lumbard, dressing as a backup was the closest Verner came to playing in the NHL.
Bill Friday was a long time NHL and WHA referee who officiated over 1400 games.