Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jamie McLennan: 4 Autographed Cards (Part 2)

(continued from the previous post)
Which brings us to these two terrific cards, showing him in unusual poses:

On the left, perhaps the card with his best signature on it, is from Leaf's 1993-94 Donruss set (card #458), where he seems to be looking up at the scoreboard. On the right, mid-movement after a save - possibly the most smudged card of the four - is from Topps' 1994-95 Premier set (card #143), the first Premier set not to feature the O-Pee-Chee brand.

During the mid-90s, McLennan was proving too good for the minor leagues, but the Isles' net belonged to Ron Hextall. He split the 1995-96 season between the Isles (3-9-1 record), the IHL's Utah Grizzlies (9-2-2, 2.39 GAA and .911%) and the AHL's Worcester Ice Cats (14-7-1, 2.81 GAA and .905%) before contracting bacterial meningitis. As is often the case, the Islanders took the wrong decision and opted nt to renew McLennan's contract at season's end, prompting him to sign with the St. Louis Blues, who sent him to the AHL upon his recovery to regain his game shape. By 1997-98, he was back in the NHL, playing in 30 games (16.8-2, 2.17 GAA and .903%) on his way to earning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

In the 2000 Expansion Draft, he was claimed by the Minnesota Wild.

He looked good in the Wild's uniform, but expansion teams are rarely where one goes to improve on his statistics, so despite a 2.64 GAA and .905% playing in Jacques Lemaire's defensive system, he still went only 5-23-9 in 38 games, which led to his demotion to the AHL the following season. This card, #206 from Topps' 2000-01 Stadium Club set - a great-looking set on ultra-thick cardboard stock - is the only one I have of him as a Wild.

From then on, it was all back-up roles for McLennan, be it for the Calgary Flames (twice), New York Rangers or Florida Panthers - and a stint in Russia, followed by another one in Japan.

Upon retiring in 2008, he went back to Calgary, this time as director of goaltending development and scout; a year later he was named assistant coach to Brent Sutter - which is where we stand currently. In other words, he's now coaching Miikka Kiprusoff, who he has backed up twice.

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