Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Jean-Pierre Dumont Autographed Team Canada Card

Jean-Pierre Dumont was drafted third-overall by the New York Islanders in 1996 following a 105-point season (48 goals and 57 assists in 66 games) with the LHJMQ's Val d'Or Foreurs. He was part of a stable of high-end talent that was traded away by "Mad" Mike Milbury, then team's GM. Imagine this roster from 1996 to 2001 (assuming All-Star Zigmund Palffy would still get traded because of his contract demands):

Todd Bertuzzi - Jason Spezza (2nd-overall draft pick) - J.P. Dumont
Derek King - Olli Jokinen - Tim Connolly / Robert Reichel
Jan Hlavac - Mike Rupp - Bryan Smolinski
Taylor Pyatt - Claude Lapointe - Raffi Torres

Zdeno Chara - Bryan McCabe
Wade Redden - Darius Kasparaitis
Bryan Berard - Eric Brewer / Kenny Jonsson
Radek Martinek - Scott Lachance

Olympians Roberto Luongo and Tommy Salo in nets

With eventual turnover (2001-2006, when he was fired) from the likes of: Sean Bergenheim (grinder), Frans Nielsen (middle-six forward), Robert Nilsson (middle-six forward), Bruno Gervais (third-pair D), Petteri Nokelainen (middle-six forward), Blake Comeau (sandpaper second-liner), Chris Campoli (third-paid D), Kyle Okposo (first-line forward), Andrew MacDonald (third-pair D), Mariusz Czerkawski (top-sic forward), Rick DiPietro (goalie) and three dozen prospects who could have panned out in a better environment.

That has the makings of a consistent playoff team, and one can argue that different draft choices (Zach Parise, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Patrice Bergeron, Corey Crawford, Shea Weber, and Joe Pavelski were still available when Nilsson was chosen 15th overall in 2003, for instance) would also have made a huge difference as well.

Instead, the Isles were perpetually in the bottom of the NHL standings while Dumont carved himself a nice NHL career, ending with over 500 points on the strength of 214 goals, 309 assists and 364 penalty minutes in 822 regular-season games and another 34 points (17 goals and 17 assists) in 51 playoff games, including a deep run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2005-06 with the Buffalo Sabres (14 points in 18 games).

He was bought out by the Nashville Predators following the 2010-11 season and played the 2011-12 season overseas with SC Bern in Switzerland, finishing his playing career with solid numbers: 8 goals, 23 assists and 31 points (with 26 penalty minutes and a +6 rating) in 31 regular-season games - good for fourth on the team despite playing 16 to 19 games fewer than those ahead of him, none of whom had more than 10 points more tahn he did - and another (team-leading) 5 goals, 8 assists and 13 points in 12 playoff games as the team made its way to the league final, losing to Bob Hartley's Zurich Lions.

In honour of Canada Day, I wanted to include Dumont as #18 in my Team Canada Numbers Project, with card #271 from Upper Deck's 1998-99 Collector's Choice set and World Junior Showcase sub-set, where he is shown battling for the puck with a Finnish player:
He actually went pointless in 7 games with Team Canada at the World Juniors in 1998, as the team finished eighth in the standings - Finland won gold, ahead of Russia and Switzerland - under disgraced head coach Réal Paiement (now a Toronto Maple Leafs scout). The team's leading scorers were Josh Holden (4 points), Alex Tanguay, Daniel Tkaczuk and Daniel Corso (3 apiece), and the top defensemen were Brewer, Sean Blanchard, Brad Ference and Corey Sarich. Other notable forwards were Vincent Lecavalier, Matt Cooke, Jason Ward, Manny Malhotra and Steve Bégin, while goaltending duties were handled by the Québec duo of Mathieu Garon (1.91 GAA in 5 games) and Luongo (2.89 in 3 games).

Dumont signed this card for me roughly five years ago, at a Foreurs event; the team had retired his #96 nearly a decade earlier.

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