Thursday, April 1, 2021

Chandler Stephenson: Two Autographed Cards

(team and set links go to sponsored Amazon products, player links go to related pages on my blog, news links go to source pages)
Chandler Stephenson had decent statistics in Juniors, nearly a point per game going into the 2012 draft, a point per in 2012-13 after the Washington Capitals made him their third-round pick (77th overall) and 89 points in 69 games in 2013-14, before making the leap to the AHL with the Hershey Bears, where he also improved yearly from 14 to 28 to 38 points, but it was still a toss-up whether he'd end up being a third-liner or on one of the offensive lines, and whether he'd be a winger or a center. He was a full-time NHL rookie in 2017-18 (18 points in 67 regular-season games and 7 points in 24 playoff games) when the Caps won the Stanley Cup.

The Capitals were disappointed with his next season and a half, and he was moved to the Vegas Golden Knights - ironically the team they beat in the Cup Final - midway through last season, and his performance to close out the 2019-20 campaign (8 goals, 14 assists, 22 points and a +19 rating in 41 games) was obviously part of the decision-making process when it was decided the Knights would trade Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets to make room under the salary cap to sign Alex Pietrangelo. With 20 points in 32 games, he's well worth the $2.75M cap hit.

The 2012 draft featured a terrific crop of hardware collectors; among those selected before Stephenson are Tom Wilson (16th, Stanley Cup), Teuvo Teravainen (18th, Cup), Andrei Vasilevskiy (19th, Cup and Vezina Trophy), Olli Maatta (22nd, two Cups), and Tanner Pearson (30th, Cup), and among those selected after him are Oskar Sundqvist (81st, Cup), Matt Murray (83rd, two Cups), Colton Parayko (86th, Cup), Cédric Paquette (101st, Cup), Connor Hellebuyck (130th, Vezina) and Christian Djoos (195th, Cup), as well as a bunch of Cup finalists in Filip Forsberg (11th), Malcolm Subban (24th), Pontus Aberg (37th), Colton Sissons (50th), Chris Tierney (55th), Esa Lindell (74th), Matt Grzelcyk (85th) and Colin Miller (151st), and a dominant Jaccob Slavin (120th).

But the Golden Knights will have to make do without their seventh-leading scorer for the next three games after he was suspended for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot. This punishment comes on the heels of fines to Connor McDavid (for elbowing forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi of the Montréal Canadiens) and Nathan MacKinnon (throwing a helmet at Conor Garland of the Arizona Coyotes), signaling that star players have started retaliating to the myriad of uncalled questionable shots they themselves have received for the past few years.

Here he is from his Juniors days with the WHL's Regina Pats, first with the white (home) uniform on card #236 from In The Game's 2011-12 Heroes And Prospects Update boxed set:
And here he is wearing their blue (away) uniform, on card #138 from ITG's 2012-13 Heroes And Prospects collection:
He signed them in black sharpie while playing with the Bears in the Capitals organization, adding his jersey number (22) and trying to blend it in with the uniforms.

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