Saturday, April 6, 2019

Nicolas Deslauriers Autograph Card

When the Montréal Canadiens traded for Nicolas Deslauriers, they expected to receive a hometown boy who would hover between the fourth line and the AHL - which is essentially what they got.

They were also lucky enough to get a career-high 10 goals from him in 2017-18 (in just 58 games), as well as a points-collecting pace (14 points) that was unseen in his three-plus seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, and a steady array of fighting majors and tough guy penalties that was expected from the 6'1", 220-pounder.

This year, after starting out on injured reserve following a tough preseason fight against the New Jersey Devils' Brandon Baddock, he came back to a changed team, one that was surprisingly fighting for a playoff spot instead of draft lottery placement as many pundits had predicted.

That meant he no longer had leeway to make defensive mistakes under head coach Claude Julien, but also that Julien would likely scratch him altogether from time to time to instead dress two centers on the fourth line. Julien's one of those old-school unforgiving coaches who thinks he'll outsmart the opposing coach using baseball relief pitching tactics instead of the best possible lineup.

So, in 2018-19, Deslauriers only dressed in 48 games, all told, with 2 goals and 3 assists (5 points) and 22 penalty minutes to show for it, after going 10-4-15 with 55 PIMs last year. Oddly enough, when his mind was at ease, he was a +7 playing on a bottom-feeder last year yet is -12 playing for a team that'll finish in ninth-place in the Eastern Conference this year.

I'll try to get him to sign stuff in a Habs uniform next year, but for now, let's contemplate what he looked like wearing the Sabres' white (away) uniform, on the signed insert version of card #275 from Upper Deck's 2014-15 SP Authentic set and Future Watch sub-set:
It features a blue-sharpied on-card autograph. It's numbered #483/999.

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