Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Craig Conroy: Two Autographed Cards

Originally a Montréal Canadiens draft pick (sixth round, 123rd overall, 1990), Craig Conroy remained at Clarkson University until 1993-94, at which time the Habs had a bit of a logjam at centre, with Vincent Damphousse, Pierre Turgeon, Kirk Muller and Saku Koivu there during his first two seasons trying to make the team.

Ironically, the Réjean Houle regime would solve that problem by sending both Conroy and Turgeon to the St. Louis Blues, along with Rory Fitzpatrick, for middle-six forward and bad influence Shayne Corson, defensive defenseman Murray Baron and a fifth-round pick. Turgeon would be a better-than-point-per-game player with the Blues (355 points in 327 regular-season games - with an 85-point output to begin his five-year run in St. Louis and an 82-point season to end it with in 2000-01, as well as 45 points in 50 playoff games in the heart of the Dead Puck Era) and continued his run of Selke and Lady Byng Trophy-level play while Conroy also had Selke-worthy seasons (he was actually a finalist in 1997-98 and fifth in votes the following season), but produced a little less offensively, with 151 points in 359 games.

Where Conroy became an offensive force was in his first three seasons with the Calgary Flames, playing alongside Jarome Iginla, where he posted 75-, 59- and 47-point seasons - the latter in just 63 games in 2003-04, where he also collected17 points in 26 games as the team made its way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

He then spent parts of two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings before this happened:

He was thus once again a member of the Flames, with whom he retired in the middle of the 2010-11 season, after being a healthy scratch for many games and going unclaimed on the waiver wire and opting to not report to the AHL. He did play his 1000th game that year, however.

Upon retiring, he was named Special Assistant to the General Manager and has officially had his title changed to Assistant-GM under Brad Treliving in 2014. Many believe he's next in line for the actual position unless a "huge name" comes along to take over.

Here he is wearing Calgary's white (the-home) uniform right after he was acquired from the Blues, on card #41 from Upper Deck's 2001-02 Vintage collection, one that strongly resembles old Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets:
He was named co-captain in his second year with the team and held the title by himself the following year, as can be attested by card #47 from Pacific's 2003-04 Pacific set, showing him wearing the team's then-away "Flaming Horse" black jersey:
He stepped down from the position himself so that Iginla could lead the team, which he did, straight to the Final, that very first year.

Conroy signed both cards while scouting the Habs on behalf of the Flames in 2016 or 2017.

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