Monday, April 6, 2015

J.P. Dumont Autograph Card

It looks more and more like the Buffalo Sabres will finish last in the NHL to ''gain'' a 20% chance of winning the draft lottery and pick first; at the very worst, the last-place team can pick second overall, and there are allegedly at least two ''generational'' players available in this year's crop (Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel).

But the same was also said of Pat Falloon at some point, and Alexandre Daigle was another ''can't-miss'' sure shot. The point being: it's not just about raw talent; luck, development and environment also comes into play, as does character.

I hope the Sabres or Edmonton Oilers win the lottery, because I'd like the talented guys who can potentially turn a team around go to a loyal fanbase who deserves it, not build one from scratch. But ideally, I'd go back to how it used to be - and how it remains in the NFL - which is, the team that finishes last picks first. It's the best way to ensure parity, that the rich don't keep getting richer, and that there's a rotation of potential talent.

Representing the Sabres today is Jean-Pierre Dumont, seen here from behind in the team's turn-of-the-millennium white (home) uniform:
It's card #4 of In The Game's 2001-02 Be A Player Signature Series (signed insert of the ''gold'' variant variety, though the scan looks greenish), signed on-card in black sharpie.

Originally a first-round pick (third overall in 1996) of the New York Islanders, he is one of the many blunders of then-GM Mike Milbury, he who traded away an entire Stanley Cup-contending roster of players during his tenure on Long Island, with a stud two-time gold medalist Olympian, former captain and perennial Vezina-nominated goalie (Roberto Luongo), Olympian goalie Tommy Salo, a Norris-winning defenseman and NHL captain (Zdeno Chara), other top-line defensemen (Vladimir Malakhov, Bryan Berard and/or Wade Redden, and Bryan McCabe), another two former first-round pick defensemen (Scott Lachance and Canadian Olympian Eric Brewer), an All-Star 100-point center and former NHL captain (the draft pick that became Jason Spezza), an Olympic medalist center who was an NHL captain (Olli Jokinen), the biggest brawns-for-pounds power forward of the 1990s (Todd Bertuzzi), and known pests Jarko Ruutu and Raffi Torres, in addition to Dumont.

Dumont is a six-time 20-goal scorer (with a high of 29 in 2007-08 with the Nashville Predators), eight-time 40-point producer and three of those being 65 or over, with a high of 72 in 2007-08. He got Lady Byng votes four times in his career (though he's only had 20 or less PIMs five times in his career) and retired having surpassed the 800-game, 200-goal, 300-assist and 500-point milestones.

He also has 17 goals, 17 assists, and 34 points in 51 playoff games, including 14 points in 18 games in a fine run by the Sabres in 2005-06.

I played with him in Midget AAA with the Montréal-Bourassa / Collège Français Canadiens in 1994-95, and he went on to play with my high school teammate (with the Notre-Dame Sabres) Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre both in the LHJMQ's Val D'Or Foreurs and the (NHL) Sabres. He also played with Steve Bégin, Luongo, and Francis Lessard on the Foreurs. (My rights belonged to the Laval / Collège Français Titans in 1995-96 and Halifax Mooseheads the following year, but I never officially played in regulation, I was a goon who was tapped to pretend to play goal but instead started a fight; somehow HockeyDB doesn't acknowledge my 100-plus PIMs because I didn't register a complete minute of play for the Titan).

He also played with another of my high school teammates, Ben Guité, with the Preds in 2009-10. His is a small world.

He had started his career with two seasons playing for the Chicago Blackhawks as a complement to sniper Éric Dazé, but was ultimately sent to Buffalo with an aging Doug Gilmour for Michal Grosek, essentially.

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