Sunday, October 19, 2014

Xavier Ouellet -
2013-14 Panini Totally Certified RC

The Grand Rapids Griffins are currently blessed with a good handful of top-prospect defensemen who are just waiting for their chance with the Red Wings. Second-year pro Xavier Ouellet is considered one of the top prospects in Detroit's system, and Red Wings coach was less than thrilled to see him sent to the AHL to start this season. Last season Ouellet had four goals and 17 points for the Griffins, and he also appeared in four games for Detroit. I got a chance to have him sign a couple of his Totally Certified rookie cards before the Griffins' home opener on Oct. 10. The links below will lead to my previous signed cards and other items from Ouellet:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Andreas Athanasiou

One of the Detroit Red Wings' prospects I'm excited to watch play for the Grand Rapids Griffins this season is speedy winger Andreas Athanasiou. A fourth round pick in 2011, Athanasiou was a 22-goal scorer for the London Knights in 2011-12 and he scored 29 goals the following season for the Barrie Colts. The 2013-14 season was his best yet, as he led the way for the Colts with 49 goals and 95 points. He appeared in two games for the Griffins last season, scoring a goal and adding two assists. I got this 2012-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects Memorial Cup insert card (also featuring Shawnigan Cataractes goaltender Gabriel Girard) signed before the Griffins home opener on Oct. 10.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ryan Sproul

A little while ago I posted some pictures of the four Red Wings prospects featured in 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee hockey. Last Friday before the Grand Rapids Griffins' first game of the season, I was able to get two of those cards signed. Defenseman Ryan Sproul signed his OPC rookie (above) as well as the retro parallel version. Last season Sproul became the 145th Griffins player to reach the NHL, and he'll likely get another chance to play for Detroit soon. I have a couple extras of the card on the left available for trade.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Alexey Marchenko

I managed to get a handful of cards signed before Friday night's Grand Rapids Griffins home opener, including these three cards from defenseman Alexey Marchenko. I not only needed Marchenko for my team set from last season, I also needed one of his cards signed for my Griffins NHL alumni project - he made his debut with the Red Wings on January 4th. Above from left are Marchenko's 2013-14 Grand Rapids Griffins team set card, a 2013-14 Upper Deck AHL card and a 2013-14 Flair Showcase Rookie Duos card (with former Griffin Adam Almquist). A signed card from Marchenko is also my Red Wings collection to 203 players. I really like how the Upper Deck AHL card turned out and look forward to working on that set this season.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Andrej Nestrasil -
Grand Rapids Griffins NHL Alumni #146

Last season was a memorable one for my Grand Rapids Griffins alumni project, as fourteen players made the jump from the AHL to the NHL. When the Red Wings begin the 2014-15 season tonight, one more player will be added - Andrej Nestrasil is set to become player #146 to be added to the list. A third-round pick in 2009, Nestrasil played two seasons in the QMJHL with the Victoriaville Tigres and one with the PEI Rocket before turning pro. His first two professional seasons were split between the Griffins and the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, but last season was when he really started to show some promise. The Czech winger had 16 goals and 36 points for the Griffins during the 2013-14 campaign (fifth on the team), and after a strong training camp and impressive pre-season (and an injury to Pavel Datsyuk) the path was clear for him to finally don the winged wheel during a regular season campaign. Pictured above is my signed card of Nestrasil from last season's team set, and the other four cards I have are pictured below.
2008-09 and 2009-10 ITG Heroes and Prospects
2009-10 ITG Heroes and Prospects Jersey Card
2010-11 ITG Heroes and Prospects "National Pride"
Game-Used Jersey

Saturday, October 4, 2014

TTM: Michel Goulet (again!)

Mailed: 1/10/12
Received: 9/22/14

I posted my TTM return from Hall of Famer Michel Goulet not that long ago, and let's just say I was surprised to see this one show up shortly after that one did. Mr. Goulet must be cleaning out his mailbox, as these cards found their way back to me 986 (!) days after I sent them. I now have a second signed copy of the 01-02 Fleer Greats of the Game card, as well as a 91-92 O-Pee-Chee card and a 92-93 Topps Season Highlight card commemorating his 500th NHL goal. All three look great signed in blue sharpie. If anyone's working on the GOTG set and wants to trade for this extra, let me know.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Aaron Ekblad and David Savard -
2011-12 ITG Heroes and Prospects

This post gets me caught up for the moment on all outstanding autograph additions that I haven't posted, so let's hope some more start rolling in soon! I picked up these two signed cards of Aaron Ekblad and David Savard from the 2011-12 ITG Heroes and Prospects set on ebay, spending $1.98 for both. Shortly after that Ekblad was drafted first overall by the Florida Panthers, and anticipation continues to grow for his NHL debut. Savard made it to full-time blueline duty with the Blue Jackets last season, after bouncing between Columbus and Springfield of the AHL the two seasons prior. I sent both players these same cards when I got my H/P set in 2012, but never got anything back.