Saturday, January 4, 2020

Robert Kron: Three Autographed Cards

There was a piece of news that flew a little under the radar last summer, a few days after the Carolina Hurricanes matched the Montréal Canadiens' offer sheet to Sebastian Aho, and it involved the man who was most responsible for drafting Aho, Robert Kron, an amateur scout when the young star was drafted in the second round (35th overall) in 2015, and for the past two years "Head European Scout": he is now Director of European Scouting.

I know a lot about hockey, but the only difference I can see between "Head" and "Director" is that there is also a "Head" of North American Scouting (Mike Dawson) on the Canes' staff, but no "Director", so Kron's probably got the last word in case of a difference of opinion.

Although I mostly think of him as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, he only played 144 games in British Columbia versus 272 with the Hartford Whalers and 237 with the Hurricanes for a total of 509 with the organization; he finished his NHL career by suiting up for 118 games over two injury-filled seasons with the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets, so it's no surprise that when he looked at option after his playing career, he would revert back to Carolina.

Here he is rocking my favourite Canucks uniform, the 1985-97 black (away) one that replaced the "Flying V" of the early 1980s:
These are both considered "Rookie" cards; on the left is #52 from O-Pee-Chee's 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier collection; while the card on the right is from Upper Deck's 1990-91 Series 2 set and Young Guns sub-set.

And here he is sporting the white (home) version of that uniform on card #239 from Pro Set's 1991-92 Series 2 collection:
It's my second-favourite pale Canucks uniform, after the Markus Naslund-era ones from 1997-2007.

He signed all three cards in blue sharpie at the Bell Centre around the 2009 amateur draft, where John Tavares was selected first-overall. It was his first draft as a scout, and only two of the Canes' six picks taht summer played in the NHL: Brian Dumoulin (51st overall, second round, 81 points in 342 games) and Rasmus Rissanen (sixth round, 178th overall, 6 games). First-rounder Philippe Paradis, a bruising 6'2", 205-pound forward, mostly played in the AHL and is currently in Québec's LNAH - perhaps the most physical league in the world these days - where he has 8 goals, 5 assist, 13 points in 19 penalty minutes in 12 games with the Jonquiere Marquis so far this season.

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