Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mike Condon Autographed Card

It's been a hard couple of years for Mike Condon, what with sub-.890 save percentages and over-4.00 GAA for five teams from three organizations in three separate leagues since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.

One could forget he had strong showings both as a rookie with the Montréal Canadiens - highlighted by a Winter Classic win over his hometown Boston Bruins in Boston - as well as his first season with the Ottawa Senators in 2016-17 when he had a .914 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average in 40 games.

The common thread between the two is that both times, he came in as the unexpected saviour, filling in for the injured Carey Price and Craig Anderson staying with his wife through her fight with cancer, respectively, with no fear of getting glued to the bench after a poor performance and no real pressure.

The same can be said for his one-game stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he made 7 saves and didn't allow a single goal in an full period after being claimed off waivers from the Habs in early 2016-17, with starter Marc-André Fleury pulled, having surrendered five goals to the Nashville Predators.

It's when he's come into a season as the official backup for the Sens that things didn't end so well. Then again, Ottawa's problems are much larger than just the backup goalie, with owner Eugene Melnyk taking up more media space than his players - usually for the wrong reasons - and with bad influences in the room like Matt Duchene leading a putsch to remove demanding head coach Guy Boucher and his staff.

At 30 years of age, there is still time for Condon to pull off a Dominik Hasek/Tim Thomas and shine for a few years, but I see his future more like that of Mike Leighton: an experienced veteran who would be better served playing a 1B role and 30 games per year at the NHL level but will instead be relegated to a "silent leader" role as a #3-4 in the AHL. He even spent some time in the ECHL this year, with unconvincing results, after being sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan's dead cap space:
from HockeyDB
I do not foresee him moving to Europe and having to adapt to different ice dimensions; he'll just need to regroup this summer and come back stronger next year, as most goalies will be affected by the Covid-19-related pause and will be rusty.

Here's a look at his Canadiens mask on card #P-85 from Upper Deck's 2015-16 Series 2 collection and UD Portraits sub-set, with the team,s logo on the side - a staple since the days of Patrick Roy in the late 1980s - and a red shamrock near the neck:
The scan shows the foil well except for the word "Rookies" on the left of the card. He signed it in blue sharpie as a member of the Sens, in 2017-18.

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