Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lennart Petrell Autograph Card

The Edmonton Oilers are winning some games to end the season on a positive note, so I thought I'd come up with another installment of my Oilers Numbers Project, this time checking off my #37 with Lennart Petrell.

Petrell didn't last very long with the Oilers - parts of two seasons - after spending 8 seasons in the Finnish Elite League with the Helsinki HIFK, and it's mostly because for all he brought to the ice (hard checks, relentless energy, a never-say-die attitude, and a nearly flawless defensive game made of shot-blocking, pass interceptions and perfect positioning), he never could translate his attributes into tangible statistics, as can be attested by his 7 goals and 18 points in 95 games.

He could bat the puck out of thin air to save a perfect one-timer pass on the penalty kill but for some reason couldn't do it to redirect pucks in the opposition's net.

Then again, the 2011-12 and 2012-13 Oilers were far from All-Star-caliber teams, but the fact that he couldn't force the team to play him more than 11 minutes per game on such weak line-ups speaks volumes.

That's not to say the 6'3'', 215-pound Finnish heavyweight had an awful career; he hit the 30-point mark twice in Finland, had 5 goals and 21 points in 50 games in Switzerland last year, and 5 goals and 10 points in the very strong (and very defensive-minded) Swedish League this season. There's nothing wrong with playing pro hockey just below the elite level, and now that the NHL has over-specialized and the Art Ross winner will finish with the lowest points total in 53 years (and lowest points-per-game average in 65), perhaps there's room for the type of services he can offer a team, should he even want to come back to North America.

Last year I participated in a large number of online group box breaks, and in one of them, I got cards of players I care little for, and another participant traded this card for one of those I had ''hit'' with, knowing I had put bids on Habs and Oilers cards hits as well as what I ended up getting:

It's card #280 from Upper Deck's 2011-12 SP Authentic set (part of the Future Watch sub-set, numbered 839/999), showing him in the Oilers' classic blue (now-home) uniform. It's signed on-card, in blue sharpie.

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