Monday, March 25, 2019

Jarmo Kekalainen Autographed Card

Not everyone agrees, but I really liked most of Jarmo Kekalainen's gamble of going all-in in for these playoffs with a high number of possible unrestricted free agents at year's end, including the ones they already had (Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky) that they didn't trade for (tangible or intangible) "assets" at the deadline, as well as other UFAs-to-be in Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene - although the Columbus Blue Jackets should have read the signs of Duchene's previous trade, which sent him from a team that was near dead-last to a Conference Finalist Ottawa Senators club that was in the playoff picture in December, only to have the Sens miss the playoffs after his acquisition and the Colorado Avalanche squeak in on the Western Conference front.

Some thought Kekalainen paid too steep a price for Dzingel (Anthony Duclair and two second-rounders) while the Duchene deal, who came with Julius Bergman (an AHL offensive defenseman since traded with a fourth-rounder and a seventh rounder for defensive defenseman Adam McQuaid, another pending UFA) for prospects Jonathan Davidsson, Vitaly Abramov, an actual 2019 first-rounder and a conditional 2020 first-rounder, was essentially seen as continuing to empty the 2019 draft cupboard, as the Jackets currently only hold two picks next summer: their own third-rounder, and the Pittsburgh Penguins' seventh, which is almost guaranteed to be a late one.

They also don't have a second or third pick in 2020. You'd think a GM with the drafting pedigree like Kekalainen would value any pick highly; after all, he's responsible for the Sens (!!) drafting the likes of Jason Spezza, Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Antoine Vermette and Ray Emery; he got the St. Louis Blues David Backes, David Perron, T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo; in Columbus, he surprised many observers with the bull's eye surprise selections of Zach Werenski and Pierre-Luc Dubois, and he could very well have scored the same type of home run with Team France member  Alexandre Texier and London Knights skinny center Liam Foudy, both parents of whom were athletes.

Or maybe he's just taking too many risks now.

But he's making the game behind the game very exciting.

I wrote to him nearly two years ago and got this signed card back from him nearly a year ago to the day, before moving into my current digs (April 1st, 2018):
It's #108 from Upper Deck's 1991-92 Series 1 set, showing him attempting a play despite the presence of New York Islanders defenseman Nolan Baumgartner. "KK" may have only scored 5 goals with 8 assists for 13 points in 55 NHL games spread over three seasons in four years, but he did score against the Isles on January 15th, 1991. There's a very good chance this picture came from that game (he was blanked by the Isles in a February 28 game in Boston, where he would've been wearing the B's white - then-home - uniform).

This is a Boston Bruins uniform I have a soft spot for, as it's the one from my youth.

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