Thursday, February 4, 2016

Adam Hauser Autograph Card

I wanted to get back to a few of my passions tonight, namely goalies (particularly non-stars and journeymen), and defunct teams. Today, I get to do that with this card of Adam Hauser's with the Manchester Monarchs from In The Game's 2005-06 Heroes And Prospects set (it's the signed insert version of his card, #A-AH instead of the usual #47 card, featuring an on-sticker black sharpie autograph):
Hauser was originally an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, 81st overall in 1999, ahead of other goalies Sébastien Caron (86th), Cory Campbell (92nd), Rob Zepp (99th), Evan Lindsay (109th), Jean-François Nogue (133rd), Ryan Miller (138th), Matthew Kinch (146th), Seamus Kotyk (147th), Martin Prusek (164th), Michael Leighton (165th), Matt Underhill (170th), Don Choulakos (179th), Kevin Swanson (189th), Vadim Tarasov (196th), Phil Osaer (203rd), Kyle Kettles (205th), Vladimir Kulkov (211th), Jonathan Charron (227th), and Antti Jokela (237th).

Oh, and regular NHLers Niclas Havelid (83rd), Mike Comrie (91st), Chris Kelly (94th), Brian McGrattan (104th), Ryan Malone (115th), Fedor Fedorov (182nd), Ivan Rachunek (187th), Martin Erat (191st), Tom Kostopoulos (204th), Henrik Zetterberg (210th), and Radim Vrbata (212th).

And it was pretty much his rightful position, considering he was viewed as the best Minnesota Golden Gophers goalie of all time. Yet he didn't stick with the Oilers, instead signing with the Los Angeles Kings prior to the 2004-05 season. In the Kings' system, he set Monarchs' season records for best GAA (1.93), best save percentage (.933), and most shutouts (7). He also holds the team's career shutouts mark, with 15. Martin Jones now owns the career wins total, with 84.

He just played one game with the Kings in 2005-06, letting in 6 goals on 24 shots in 51 minutes, for a .750 save percentage and 7.08 GAA.

He then plied his trade in Europe from 2006 until 2012, until he retired to join the Gophers' alumni and coaching teams. He also spent time as the Iowa Wild's goaltending coach in 2014-15.

The Monarchs' story is a whole other beast. They were the Kings' AHL affiliate from 2001 until last season (2015), but were part of the re-alignment/folding/restructuring that went down in the minor leagues where the Pacific Division teams relocated their AHL teams to California and (for the most part) kept their past AHL cities as their ECHL teams, meaning the name Manchester Monarchs is now that of the Kings' ECHL affiliate, while the Ontario Reign now serves as their AHL affiliate. In their final season as L.A.'s main affiliate, the Monarchs won their only Calder Cup.

In an even odder twist, the California division of the AHL plays fewer games than their counterparts from the other divisions this year, so not only do they travel less for games, but they also have a less strenuous schedule.

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