Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brandon Bochenski Rookie Jersey Autograph Card

Like a Braydon Coburn card I featured a while back, this particular card, from the 2005-06 SPx series by Upper Deck (Rookie Jersey sub-set, card #179, numbered 203/1499) sports a jersey worn in a photo shoot and an autograph on a sticker that was apposed to the card later - so it's ''all fake'' if you're looking for a game-worn jersey or a card that the player actually touched with his hands. I think it's still pretty cool, though:

It shows Brandon Bochenski wearing the Ottawa Senators' red uniform, with a pretty big red swatch to go along with it. The Senators' 7th-round pick in 2001, Bochenski had a tremendous season in the USHL in 2000-01 scoring nearly a goal per game (47 in 55, for 80 points), after which he was a point-and-a-half player for three seasons with the NCAA's University Of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

He turned pro in 2004-05, and accumulated 70 points in 75 AHL games with the Binghamton Senators before starting a 5-season cycle of temporary NHL recalls and mid-season trades where he would be a point-per-game player in the minors and half that in the NHL, suiting up for 6 NHL teams and 3 AHL teams (two different stints with the Norfolk Admirals who had changed their NHL affiliation). All told, he has 68 points (28 goals) in 156 NHL games, but for some reason - possibly because he was a late-round draft pick - the minute he went pointless in two straight games at the NHL level, he'd be relegated to fourth-line duties with less ice time and playing with linemates who didn't have his offensive flair.

Tired of the situation, he has spent the last 4 seasons with the KHL's Astana Barys, in Kazakhstan, where he is a point-producing machine, scoring 97 goals and accumulating 201 points in 191 games; his team was just eliminated in their playoffs, and he had 9 points in 10 games with 14 penalty minutes of post-season play. He even played in their All-Star Game.

At 32 years of age, he still has a few good seasons in front of him; if I managed a goal-deprived team like the Nashville Predators, I'd definitely give the Minnesota native a second chance on a one- or two-season deal at a million and a half per with the promise of doubling it if the production is worth it, and a few local sponsorship deals to sweeten the pot.

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