Sunday, July 26, 2015

Boyd Devereaux Autograph Card

Boyd Devereaux was the Edmonton Oilers' first-round pick (6th overall) in 1996 ahead of Ruslan Salei (9th), Marco Sturm (21st), Daniel Brière (24th), Matt Cullen (35th), Steve Bégin (40th), Zdeno Chara (56th), Tom Poti (59th), Mark Parrish (79th), Toni Lydman (89th), Michal Rozsival (105th), Andreas Dackell (136th), Pavel Kubina (179th), Willie Mitchell (199th), Tomas Kaberle (204th), and Sami Salo (239th).

All things considered, he was definitely worth selecting in the first round (as would have been those I mentioned, though not in the same order), and he must have made the Oilers proud after scoring the game-winning goals in both the semi-finals (against Russia) and Finals (against Team USA) at the 1997 World Juniors, to lead Team Canada to gold. He was going to be clutch, and the Oilers were going to need that.

Also, keep in mind every Edmonton first-round selection between Jason Arnott (1993, 7th overall) and Ales Hemsky (2001, 13th overall):
1994: Jason Bonsignore (4th overall)
1994: Ryan Smyth (6th)
1995: Steve Kelly (6th)
1996: Devereaux (6th)
1996: Matthieu Descoteaux (19th)
1997: Michel Riesen (14th)
1998: Michael Henrich (13th)
1999: Jani Rita (13th)
2000: Alexei Mikhnov (17th)
Not exactly generational talents, save for Smyth, who was captain material. Which also makes Devereaux stand out as an NHL-caliber player, playing in 627 regular-season games (67 goals, 112 assists, 179 points) and winning the Stanley Cup in 2002 with the Detroit Red Wings. It probably would have been much more had his first AHL game not garnered him a concussion, and had he not suffered another one on a Dallas Drake hit that left him in convulsions.

And, to top it all off, after two seasons spent shuttling between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies in 2007-08 and 2008-09, he moved to the Swiss League's famed HC Lugano, which is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary; unfortunately for both the team and himself, as the season was paused and the team participated in the Spengler Cup, he was on the wrong side of a check that left him with fractured vertebrae. His career was over.

But he's always had an interest in artistic endeavors, having started his record label Elevation Records while still in the NHL, and now operating a video production company called Waking Sound Productions. Full disclosure: Elevation released a record by Thisquietarmy, who have ties to my UnPop Montréal festival via the Montreal Nintendo Orkestar/Symbiose family.

That being said, of course I was going to feature Devereaux as an Oiler, and he also counts as #19 in my Oilers Numbers Project with this card showing him in the team's late-1990s blue (away) uniform, with the ''oil driller'' shoulder patch:
It's the signed insert version of card #237 from Pinnacle Brands' 1997-98 Be A Player set, signed on-card in thin black sharpie.

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