Monday, May 4, 2015

Erik Condra: 3 Autographed Cards

Erik Condra is one of two Ottawa Senators who are the most likely to end up with the puck no matter what zone they're in if the puck carrier is in front of them, with Calder Trophy nominee Mark Stone; they force turnovers like a McDonald's Employee Of The Month, with the sole difference being that Stone converts many of his chances while Condra has just posted his career-best numbers with 9 goals.

Still, most coaches will agree it's better to have possession of the puck than surrender it, and there are no real bad shots in today's NHL, where all goalies are capable of playing in the Olympics as well as surrender a goal from behind the goal line or beyond center ice. And perhaps Condra just hasn't found his niche as a set-up man yet, and maybe he'd be better suited to rack up 30 assists than score 20 goals.

After all, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish alumnus who was a seventh-round draft pick (211st overall in 2006) not only was a point-per-game in College, even earning All-Rookie Team (first year) and Second Team All-Star (fourth year) nods, but never scored more than 15 goals in the NCAA/CCHA, so maybe he was always meant to pass it more than shoot.

The 28-year-old American is due for a nice raise in his last RFA summer, and will probably earn close to $3M per year, perhaps for as many as three seasons (up from his current $1.25M cap hit). Should the Sens not be willing to pony up that amount, I'm fairly certain his hometown Detroit Red Wings - a possession and positioning team if there ever was one - would.

For now, though, his Hockey IQ is important to the Senators, as they try to keep building towards a championship-level team game around a promising group of youngsters. And he's got some sweet moves, as this breakaway goal that left Carey Price dumbfounded proves:

And so it is with great pleasure that I add Condra to my Sens Numbers Project, and though Shaun Van Allen was already in for #22, Condra can take sole possession of the #38 spot with at least one of the cards.

Speaking of which, here they are, first with a couple from Panini's 2011-12 Score set:

The card on the left is his Rookie Card (#524 of the regular set, part of the Hot Rookies sub-set), showing him in the Sens' white (away) uniform, while the card on the right, showing him in his post-game ''gym clothes'' is card #3 of the First Goal sub-set; he actually scored two goals that night.

I also have one of him in the Sens' red (home) uniform, from Panini's 2012-13 Score set (card #339 in the collection), battling for puck possession with two Boston Bruins players:
I had sent him four cards on March 17th, 2014, and got these three back - signed in black sharpie - on May 4th, 2015, a mere 47 days later, after the Sens were eliminated by my hometown Montréal Canadiens.

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