Sunday, September 24, 2017

Jason Zucker Autograph Card

I didn't go about writing all 31 of my NHL 2017-18 Standing Predictions posts going in with the idea that the Minnesota Wild would finish first overall; as a matter of fact, I wasn't even sure they'd win their division until I analyzed each team's strength, weaknesses, number of off-season moves and first week of training camp injuries list. Then I predicted they would. Then I looked at all four teams I thought would finish atop their respective divisions (Minnesota, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Edmonton Oilers), thought the Pens might feel the effects of two straight Stanley Cup wins, the Bolts will have fought a deep Eastern Conference, and the OIlers will have fought hard within their division all year as well, so the Wild stood out.

Just like Jason Zucker's $2M cap hit stands out, after piling up 22 goals, 25 assists and 47 points in 79 points last year and looking to build on that total as he's entering his prime years (he's 25 years old).

Of course, he's also entering his contract year in his final RFA season, so if he reaches anywhere between 50 and 60 points, he might be looking at more than doubling his current salary for the next 5, 6, 7 or 8 years.

So far, the 2010 59th-overall pick (second round) has 110 career points, which ranks him 21st of his draft class, way behind Tyler Seguin (428) and Taylor Hall (382), but ahead of forwards Brett Connolly (6th, 83 points), Alexander Burmistrov (8th, 95 points), Joey Hishon (17th, 2 points), Austin Watson (18th, 28 points), Beau Bennett (20th, 64 points), Riley Sheahan (21th, 98 points), Quinton Howden (25th, 17 points), Emerson Etem (29th, 46 points), Tyler Pitlick (31st, 14 points), Brett Bulmer (39th, 3 points), Christian Thomas (40th, 3 points), Devante Smith-Pelly (42nd, 78 points), Curtis Hamilton (48th, no points, 5 penalty minutes), Connor Brickley (50th, 7 points), Calle Jarnkrok (51st, 89 points), Petr Straka (55th, 2 points), Johan Larsson (56th, 48 ponts), and Oscar Lindberg (57th, 48 points), defensemen Erik Gudbranson (3rd, 49 points), Dylan McIlrath (10th, 5 points), Brandon Gormley (13th, 5 points), Derek Forbort (15th, 20 points), Jarred Tinordi (22nd, 6 points), Mark Pysyk (23rd, 44 points), Alex Petrovic (36th, 36 points), Jon Merrill (38th, 36 points), Patrik Nemeth (41st, 15 points), and Martin Marincin (46th, 25 points), goalies Jack Campbell (11th, AHL), Mark Visentin (27th, Austria), and Calvin Pickard (49th), and non-NHLers Jared Knight (32nd), John Mcfarland (33rd), Dalton Smith (34th), Ludvig Rensfeldt (35th), Brad Ross (43rd), Sebastian Wannstrom (44th), Phil Lane (52nd), Mark Alt (53rd), Justin Holl (54th), and Kent Simpson (58th).

I think he's among the Wild's good, young building blocks, along with Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Joel Eriksson Ek, Matt Dumba, Jared Spurgeon, and Jonas Brodin.

Here he is wearing their old red (then-home) uniform, on the signed insert card #SS-JZ from Panini's 2013-14 Score set and Signature sub-set:
I features a blue-sharpied on-sticker autograph that consists of a big "J", an uncomfortable "Z" and his uniform number (16) in some sort of a cloud/bubble.

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