Friday, February 14, 2020

Dean Evason Autographed Card

Bill Guerin, GM of the Minnesota Wild, has made a coaching change with 25 games remaining and the team 3 points out of a playoff Wild Card spot, replacing head coach Bruce Boudreau with Dean Evason on an interim basis until the end of the season.

Boudreau was in the final year of a four-season deal and the fact that he hadn't received an extension was a telling sign that he wasn't going to be Guerin's man going forward. I'm not certain Evason will be either as there are plenty of available other options and he was former GM Paul Fenton's backup plan, but he'll get to interview for the position after the season.

Evason had gotten to know Fenton while both were part of the Nashville Predators organization - Fenton as assistant-GM, Evason as their AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals' head coach - but he had also been a seven-year assistant coach with the Washington Capitals and had been bench boss in the WHL for the Kamloops Blazers, Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen.

As a player, he started and finished his NHL career wearing red (he was drafted 89th overall by the Caps in 1982 and suited up for 67 games with the Calgary Flames in 1995-96), but I remember him mostly wearing green, via his time with the Dallas Stars (1993-95), sure, but even more so with the Hartford Whalers (1985-91).

During his 434 games in Connecticut, he scored 87 goals with 148 assists for 235 points and a -29 rating - the team didn't make the playoffs every year - while playing on the third line.

All of this is still vividly clear in my mind, as is the fact that I liked him because his was one of the first O-Pee-Chee cards I landed out of a pack as a child. What I was surprised to find out was how aggressive the 5'10", 175-pound centre was, with four seasons above the 100-PIM mark and another one at 99, with a high of 170 in 75 games in his final season as a Whaler in 1990-91 (and 29 more in 4 playoff games that year).

This is why I'm choosing to feature him wearing #12 in the Hartford's classic green (away) uniform, which is also perfect for inclusion in my Whalers Numbers Project:
That's card #325 from Topps' flagship 1991-92 Topps set. He signed it in black sharpie last season. I had forgotten the design on this card until today, that his helmet and left elbow go over lines into the white border on one side while the stick doesn't on the other. Topps worked on these more seriously than I remembered.

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