Saturday, July 26, 2014

Philippe Cornet Autograph Card

I'm a pretty big Edmonton Oilers fan (yes, even to this day) and was surprised this winter when I kept coming up on Philippe Cornet cards in almost every brand I picked up. This guy was either a huge prospect I'd slept on, or the Bob Corkum of his generation. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

He had a semi-distinguished career in Juniors with the LHJMQ's Rimouski Océanic and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, improving every year and going from 21 points to 49 and 77 twice; he was also a point-per-game playoff performer, which probably helped when the Oilers took their 5th-round pick to make him the 133rd draftee of the class of 2008.

His first AHL season with the Oklahoma City Barons wasn't all that spectacular (7 goals and 23 points in 60 games), but his 24 goals in his sophomore year got him both a couple of call-ups to the NHL and an AHL All-Star Game nod.

That year, he showed he could find the back of the net, but also proved he could be a nifty passer against adults at the pro level. It seems every article about Barons games has a mention of his making a perfect pass through three pairs of skates directly on a teammate's stick blade. He also showed some courage and determination, always the first guy to jump in the corner or on the boards to wrestle the puck from much bigger opponents - though not always succeeding.

During his three years with the Barons, he made the playoffs twice, registering 4 goals, 12 assists and 16 points in 31 games - decent numbers, if not star-caliber, which may be why the Oilers chose not to re-sign him last season. Instead, he signed an AHL deal with the San Antonio Rampage (the Florida Panthers' AHL affiliate), who traded him mid-season to the Charlotte Checkers, home to the Carolina Hurricanes' prospects.

The NHL being an Old Boys' country club, though, generally, when a player doesn't make the roster on non-playoff teams, he's soon forgotten about, which may eventually lead to his moving to Europe for a higher level of play, pay, and lifestyle. Cornet arguably has the talent to be very good at a level just one notch below the NHL; where that may be, we'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I can cross #51 off my Oilers Numbers Project with card #MM-42 of Panini's 2013-14 Titanium set (part of the Metallic Marks sub-set, the Bronze variant), with a thin blue-sharpied sticker autograph with his jersey number included:

I'll say this about the product: boxes like this one, where you get 20 cards in total for roughly $100 (sometimes a bit more) are the main reason why I usually stick to $30 boxes like Score, O-Pee-Chee, Victory and the like; there is no way I would have paid $5 for any of the cards I pulled, though I was happy I got to further my Oilers project along, and I got a few jersey cards of players I like, but could have done without.

What I usually do is get in groups, where, say, 10 or 15 of us will get together and split 5, 10 or 15 boxes (whatever divides ok), and keep whatever interests us the most; people like getting into these groups with me because I won't call dibs on the Crosbys (there are never any anyway), though we usually make a deal where if one very valuable card is pulled, we just sell it on Ebay and split the money.

Anyhow, I'd rather get two autographs and a few hundred ''regular'' cards for $30 than five sub-par ''hits'' with already-bent corners (such as the top-right one on this card) for $100, which is a whole day's work for me before taxes.

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