Wednesday, April 23, 2014

R.J. Umberger Jersey Card

Looks like the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to make this a series... good, because I chose them to win in seven games, mostly because R.J. Umberger has proven to be a clutch playoff performer in the past while with the Philadelphia Flyers. He hasn't been as big of a factor thus far, but did assist on the overtime winner tonight to tie the series at 2 apiece.

Chosen 16th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2001, he has had a better career so far than anyone chosen after him in the first round, though later picks Mike Cammalleri (49th), Jason Pominville (55th), Craig Anderson (73rd), Patrick Sharp (95th) and Cristobal Huet (214th) would likely have been earlier first-rounders with the benefit of retrospect.

The Pittsburgh native never did play in Vancouver, as they traded his rights before he played a single NHL game - in their defense, he did sit out an entire season to avoid having to play in the Canucks organization - and though he was sent to the New York Rangers, he elected to sign with the Flyers as a free agent instead.

Apart from his sophomore season, he can be counted upon to provide 40-50 points each year, and as I previously mentioned, he loves the post-season, with 21 points in 30 playoff games so far, highlighted by his 10 goals and 15 points in 17 games in 2007-08 with Philadelphia, and 3 goals in 4 games with Columbus the next year.

Here he is wearing the (fortunately) short-lived, mostly-orange uniform the Flyers wore in the mid-00s, from Upper Deck's 2006-07 Be A Player Portraits card (#FE-RU in the First Exposures sub-set), featuring a photo-shoot-worn piece of jersey:

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