Here's a cool return I wasn't expecting when I got home (late) yesterday, over two years in the making, as I'd sent Bryan Allen these two cards when the Montréal Canadiens assigned him to the Hamilton Bulldogs in January 2015:
While he hasn't officially retired yet, he did not play during the 2015-16 season. The former fourth-overall pick of the 1998 draft - behind Vincent Lecavalier, David Legwand and Brad Stuart and ahead of the likes of Vitali Vishnevski (5th), Rico Fata (6th), Manny Malhotra (7th), Nikolai Antropov (10th), Alex Tanguay (12th), Martin Skoula (17th), Dmitri Kalinin (18th), Robyn Regehr (19th), Simon Gagné (22nd), Jiri Fischer (25th), Scott Gomez (27th), Ramzi Abid (28th), Jonathan Cheechoo (29th), Andrew Peters (34th), Mike Fisher (44th), Mike Ribeiro (45th), Brad Richards (64th), Jason LaBarbera (66th), Erik Cole (71st), François Beauchemin (75th), Brian Gionta (82nd), Josef Vasicek (91st), Shawn Horcoff (99th), Jaroslav Spacek (117th), Andrew Raycroft (135th), Chris Neil (161st), Andrei Markov (162nd), Pavel Datsyuk (171st), Michael Ryder (216th), and Karlis Skrastins (230th) - played for parts of five seasons with the Vancouver Canucks before being part of the first Roberto Luongo trade, sending Allen, Alex Auld, and Todd Bertuzzi to the Florida Panthers for Luongo, the draft pick that became Sergei Shirokov and Lukas Krajicek.
It was with the Panthers that he would crack the 20-point barrier (25, in 2006-07), but the 6'5", 220-pound defender was mostly known as a stay-at-home defenseman, often cracking or nearing the 100-PIM mark.
After most of five seasons with the Panthers, he spent a year and a half with the Carolina Hurricanes before signing his final contract, a three-season deal with the Anaheim Ducks, who sent him to the Habs in his last year for oft-maligned forward Rene Bourque.
It therefore made sense to send him cards of his first and almost-last teams; here he is in the Canucks' 1990s dark (away) orca logo uniform, on card #298 from Topps' 2002-03 O-Pee-Chee set and Prospects sub-set, allowing me to use him as #5 in my Canucks Numbers Project: