Tag: John Grahame

Tim Thomas

A look back at the now-defunct ninth round


An impressive amount of NHL players have made an impact on the league even if they never cost a draft pick, but there’s a pretty staggering group of guys who became stars in rounds that wouldn’t exist today. NHL.com’s John Kreiser took an interesting look back at the ninth round, which went away as a part of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement eight years ago.

To me, the most stunning part was the dizzying crop of goalies who were picked in the ninth round in 1994:

Of the nine goaltenders taken in the ninth round, seven made it to the NHL — and five were still active this past season. In a span of three straight picks (Nos. 217, 218 and 219), Quebec took a college kid named Tim Thomas from Vermont, Philadelphia picked Johan Hedberg, a Swede, and San Jose selected Evgeni Nabokov from the U.S.S.R. Seven picks later, Montreal took Tomas Vokoun from the Czech Republic, and four picks later, Boston nabbed John Grahame from the USHL. All five dressed for at least one game this past season.

There are plenty of ways to reveal how difficult it is to gauge high-school age goalies, but that paragraph might be one of the best. You could anchor a team’s goaltending with solid work for a decade-plus with the likes of Thomas, Nabokov and Vokoun. While Grahame seems to be the subject of mockery, it’s impressive that he’s made as much of his career as he did.

Kreiser points out that Nikolai Khabibulin was drafted in the ninth round two years later while 2011 All-Star Brian Elliott was a ninth-rounder, too.

While goalies stand out the most in Kreiser’s study, there are some useful forwards and defensemen who were taken with such low picks. Blueliners such at Mark Streit and Jonathan Ericsson were drafted that late while Steve Sullivan and Matt Moulson represent some of the best forwards to fall asleep next to their phones on draft day.

It’s an interesting study of how difficult scouting can be and how much players can progress from draft day to their hockey-playing primes.

Anders Lindback will try and fix Tampa’s long-running goalie problem

Anders Lindback

When the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Nikolai Khabibulin in net, things were looking good in goal. Following the lockout, however, things have been nothing short of ugly for Tampa Bay in goal.

When you run down the list of guys who have taken up residence in the Lightning net since then you can understand why GM Steve Yzerman ponied up big for Nashville’s Anders Lindback.

Take a look at this list of failed goalies since the Cup-winning year: , Gerald Coleman, Brian Eklund, John Grahame, Sean Burke, Marc Denis, Johan Holmqvist, Karri Ramo, Mike McKenna, Olaf Kolzig, Riku Helenius, Mike Smith, Dan Ellis, Antero Niittymaki, Dustin Tokarski, Cedrick Desjardins, Dwayne Roloson, Sebastien Caron, and Mathieu Garon.

Yikes. Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune hears from Yzerman about what he’s hoping Lindback can provide the Lightning next season.

“It’s an important position, I can’t deny that,” said Yzerman, entering his third season at the Lightning helm. “Ultimately, you want to find that starter that you can put in there for 65 games, under two goals against (average) and in the .930 (save percentage) range – and that’s a priority.

“There aren’t many of them out there and it’s a tough position. The consistently elite guys, you just don’t get those guys.”

Can Lindback be the new stud to bring Tampa Bay to glory or is he just another name to add to the list? Lindback hasn’t gotten to prove much in the NHL and his future could be great or mediocre. Who knew Yzerman was such a gambler?

Ray Bourque’s son on becoming a Bruin: “A dream come true for me”

Chris Bourque

On Saturday, the Boston Bruins raised a few eyebrows by trading former first-round pick Zach Hamill to Washington in exchange for 26-year-old UFA with 33 games of NHL experience.

More eyebrows were raised upon learning who the 26-year-old UFA was — Chris Bourque, son of Bruins legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.

Chris, who led the American League in scoring this season (27G-66A-93PTS), hasn’t played in the NHL since 2009-10 but is relishing the opportunity to play for the Bruins organization — and hopefully make the big club.

“It’s the first time I’ve been traded and to get traded to the Bruins was obviously a dream come true for me,” he told the New England Hockey Journal. “It’s where my dad spent most of his career. To be traded to the organization he played in so long, it’s an honor.”

Ray spent 21 of his 22 years in Boston and has his No. 77 hanging from The Garden rafters. He was shocked to hear his kid was joining the Bruins organization.

“I got to tell him the news,” Chris said. “He was obviously stunned. I didn’t really expect to get traded because I’m going to be a free agent soon. I didn’t know it was a possibility.

“Then, to get a call was shocking and to hear it was the Bruins was incredible. I think the whole family kind of feels that way.”

If Chris signs with the Bruins and manages to crack the lineup, the Bourques will join the likes of Harvey and Bill Bennett, Ron and John Grahame and Ken and Ken Hodge Jr. as father-son combos to play for Boston — a city Chris is extremely familiar with.

“I’m from Boston, I’ve lived here, I’ve grown up here and this is where I call home in the summers and, hopefully, in the near future,” he said. “It’s not really weird to get traded here. When I got the phone call and they told me I was going to Boston, I almost feel like it’s not really real. It feels like a dream. I’m very happy.”

Poll results: PHT readers on Kings’ playoff hopes, Stamkos’ quest for 60 and more

Steven Stamkos

With the luxury/horror* of a rare night off from the 2012 playoffs on Saturday, it seems like it might be a good time to share some poll results from the last few months. Consider this a clearing house of sorts where we give ourselves “report cards” with the advantage of hindsight.

Will Steven Stamkos score 60 regular season goals? (post)

On March 28, we asked PHT readers if Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos would reach the 60-goal mark. A stunning majority (76 percent, or 233 voters) said “Yes” and they were correct.

Will the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs? (post)

On the heels of Brian Burke firing Ron Wilson in favor of Randy Carlyle, we decided to poll PHT readers about Carlyle’s chances of turning things around. Sure, it wasn’t that hard to make the call at that (March 2) point, but kudos to PHT readers who said “No.” That would be 82 percent, or 228 voters who were correct.

Will Jeff Carter propel the Kings into the playoffs? (post)

Dean Lombardi made a series of last-ditch efforts with his Los Angeles Kings in a tooth-and-nail struggle to make the playoffs (which might be easy to forget right now). One of those moves was to trade Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter. While Carter wasn’t the driving force of a whole lot of the success, it’s still solid that a small majority (53 percent or 176 to 156) were right.

Which team will win the Southeast Division? (post)

OK, they can’t all be gold records. Back on Feb. 19, PHT took a look at how sad the Southeast was and asked voters to name a winner. The Capitals and Jets tied with 35 percent of the votes (The Jets technically won 199-198) while the eventual division winners Florida only received 98 votes (17 percent). So, like just about everyone, PHT readers were wrong about the Panthers.


There are more polls floating around, but that’s a neat little survey of some of the more intriguing ones. PHT readers went three for four, which would make you all superhuman MLB players or John Grahame, if you abide by John Tortorella’s harsh 25 percent rule.

* – Depending upon how many social bridges you’ve burned watching playoff hockey.

Another blast from the past: David Aebischer receives training camp tryout with Winnipeg


There are several former NHL goalies who would provide fodder for a few “where are they now?” features. While I assume he retired by default/because of injuries, I’ll always wonder what happened to Manny Fernandez; he wasn’t a star caliber goalie, but Fernandez was above average as a backup in his final season with the Boston Bruins (16-8-3 with a .910 save percentage and 2.59 GAA behind Tim Thomas during his first Vezina Trophy winning campaign). Fernandez, John Grahame and Cristobal Huet are just a few examples of once-prominent goalies who have fallen off the map once they left the NHL.

One name many of us haven’t discussed in ages is former Colorado Avalanche goalie David Aebischer. The Swiss-born goalie faced the difficult task of inheriting the No. 1 job in Colorado during the 2003-04 season after Patrick Roy retired. Aebischer actually ran with that job for one season, earning 32 wins with a sparkling .924 save percentage and 2.09 GAA in 62 games played. Whether you can blame the lockout or just call him a one-hit wonder, Aebischer’s NHL career quickly plummeted after that season, leading him to take his game to Switzerland.

He’s been there for four years, but the Winnipeg Jets handed him a training camp tryout, much like the Chicago Blackhawks did with Ray Emery. Unfortunately for Aebischer, he doesn’t have Emery’s reasonable chance to earn a job at the NHL level; the Jets are likely set in net with Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason (at least for this season). Then again, that goalie duo represents leftovers from the Atlanta Thrashers regime, so you never know how new GM Kevin Cheveldayoff actually feels about Pavelec or Mason.

Ed Tait discusses the long odds that Aebischer faces.

Technically, it’s true – the Jets confirm Aebischer will be in their training camp on a ‘try-out’ contract. Essentially, he is on loan from his club team in the Swiss league, Lugano, but is a real long-shot to unseat either Ondrej Pavelec or Chris Mason or even to be considered for a spot with the St. John’s IceCaps.

The 33-year-old product of Fribourg, Switzerland was drafted by the Avs in 1997 and played for the Swiss at the 1998 World Junior championships when they shocked the international hockey world by grabbing the bronze (the year Canada completely collapsed and finished eighth). Aebischer was named the all-star goaltender in that tournament; Canada had Roberto Luongo and Mathieu Garon between the pipes, just FYI.

In all likelihood Aebischer will be headed back to Lugano. If he was to stick, the Jets would have to come to a financial agreement with the Swiss club to get him signed to an NHL deal.

If nothing else, it will make the Jets’ training camp a bit more interesting to follow.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)