Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mike Dunham Autograph Card

Mike Dunham was a winner for pretty much his entire life.

Sharing goaltending duties with Garth Snow for the University of Maine Black Bears, Dunham went 6-0-0 in his second season in 1991-92, and an incredible 21-1-1 the next as the team won the NCAA championship, justifying the New Jersey Devils selecting him 53rd overall at the 1990 draft, the same year they chose Martin Brodeur with the 20th pick; the pair would share the William Jennings Trophy as the tandem with the league's lowest goals-against average in 1996-97.

As the 1993-94 came to a close, he suited up for the Devils' AHL farm team, the Albany River Rats, following a Team USA eighth-place finish at the 1994 Winter Games in which he shared the net with Snow again.

He won the 1995 Calder Cup with the River Rats and sharing the Playoff MVP award (the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy) with Corey Schwabb, forcing the parent team to give him a legitimate shot at making the NHL. He was left unprotected at the 1998 Expansion Draft, however, and the Nashville Predators made him one of the five (!!!) goalies they selected, along with Frédéric Chabot (Los Angeles Kings), Mike Richter (New York Rangers, although he was on the verge of becoming a free agent and chose to re-sign with NY), Tomas Vokoun (Montréal Canadiens) and Mikhail Shtalenkov (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim).

He would share the net with All-Star Vokoun for four solid seasons before an injury to Richter forced the Rangers to acquire his services in exchange for third-line forward Rem Murray.

Snow, who had just been named the New York Islanders' GM, signed Dunham to his final NHL contract, a one-year pact with the Isles for the 2006-07 season, to help guide (and in case of injuries to) Rick DiPietro.

Internationally, Dunham won silver with the American team at the 2002 Olympics and bronze at the 1992 World Juniors and the 2004 World Championships.

Here he is with the River Rats, on a card from Classic's 1993-94 4 Sport set, signed in thin blue sharpie, that is numbered #1449/2960:
Yes, he should have used Brian's gear instead of the brand's second-tier Heaton equipment, but he enjoyed a decent career regardless.

He has been the Isles' goaltending coach since 2008-09, adding the same duties to their AHL counterpart Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the past two seasons as well.

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