Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nigel Dawes Autograph Card

There are countless examples of players who had an average shot at making the NHL but, when put in a position to succeed on a first or second line, delivered results that were better than expected: Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Christopher Higgins and Brendan Gallagher rank among them.

There are others who showed promise later on but were forced by circumstances to apply to another role than they'd originally been groomed for, scoring forwards who were asked to become grinders or shut-down players, for example, such as Guillaume Latendresse, or Nigel Dawes.

Eventually, those players retire or move to Europe, where their skill set is better recognized; Dawes has not only been playing with the KHL's Astana Barys, based in Kazakhstan, for the past five years and for the next two, but has enjoyed his experience so much that he actually applied for citizenship there. And as soon as it was granted, the diminutive winger from Winnipeg who played in two World Juniors Championships for Team Canada (silver in 2004, gold in 2005 alongside Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron) started representing his new country at the World Championships, along with fellow former Canadians and Astana teammates Dustin Boyd and Brandon Bochenski.

Despite Kazakhstan being relegated to Group 1A with a 1-6 record, Dawes had 3 goals, 4 assists and 7 points in 7 games at the 2016 Worlds, plus a shootout goal against Switzerland's Reto Berra in a 3-2 win in the only game where he didn't register an official point.

He is quickly establishing himself as one of the most dependable professional hockey players outside the NHL.

Here's a card from when he was a New York Rangers prospect, as an alternate captain for the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, wearing their white (home) uniform:
That's the signed insert version of card #78 (herein called #A-ND, featuring a black-sharpied on-sticker autograph) from In The Game's 2006-07 Heroes And Prospects set (and Prospect sub-set).

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