Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jhonas Enroth Autographed Card

I've been sitting on this one for over a year, thinking there might be some truth to the rumours about the Buffalo Sabres trading away Ryan Miller and giving the net to Jhonas Enroth, but the man (Enroth) just won a silver medal with a team missing its top three centers (Henrik Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom) and other key players (Johan Franzen), so as a tip of my hat to Team Sweden, today is the day I dust off this 2009-10 Victory card (#229 in the set, from the Victory Rookie sub-set) by Upper Deck, signed in blue sharpie:
I've had this since before the lock-out, though I can't remember when (i.e. what year!) I got him to sign it at the Bell Centre when the Sabres were visiting the Montréal Canadiens. It features him wearing the Sabres' infamous Buffaslug blue (away) uniform.

Prior to today's silver Olympic medal, Enroth already had a medal of each colour: gold at the 2013 World Championships (where he also made the All-Star team), silver at the 2008 World Juniors, and bronze at the 2005 U-18 championship.

The top-ranked junior European goaltender at the 2006 draft (ahead of Semyon Varlamov and Reto Berra), he was picked 46th overall in the second round by the Sabres, the fourth European goalie to go, behind Riku Helenius (15th, Tampa Bay Lightning), Varlamov (23rd, Washington Capitals) and Michal Neuvirth (34th, also Washington).

The Sabres let him develop with the Portand Pirates for 147 games where he became increasingly more dominating, giving him his first NHL start in the 2010-11 season. He was the first goalie in league history to have his first three wins be shootout wins (though you may recall shootouts were only introduced in the NHL starting with the 2005-06 season).

Having played few games each previous season, he was still considered a rookie in 2011-12, and made the All-Rookie Team with a 8-11-4 record in 26 games, accompanied by a 2.70 GAA and a .916 save percentage. He was even better last year, going 4-4-1 in 12 games, with a 2.60 GAA and .919 save percentage with a worse team.

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