Back in the day, say 35 years ago, getting your picture on an O-Pee-Chee hockey card meant you made it to the Big Time. You were, so to speak, “in.”
Today, any player that spends a minute in an NHL lineup is bound to get a rookie card. After a season or two, however, some of those guys simply get forgotten. In light of those NHL players, we’ve crafted a list of 20 players who deserve a second look — or in some cases, a second card.
Typically, an NHL season features more than 900 different players. The annual O-Pee-Chee hockey card set (since 2006-07) features 500 veterans plus 50 or so rookies. As such, players are going to get missed from year to year. This list, however, features players that have never appeared in an O-Pee-Chee hockey card set. (Note, all 20 players have been featured in other NHL brands).
Be sure to check back with us next Friday when we unveil our “Snubbed by Score” top-20 list.
SNUBBED BY O-PEE-CHEE
1. Vladimir SOBOTKA, LW, St. Louis Blues, 272 NHL games (RC Season: 2007-08) • Sobotka played in 73 games for the St. Louis Blues in 2011-12, helping the club win the Central Division title. He scored 20 points and finished fourth on the club with 152 hits. He then co-led the team with 27 hits in the playoffs. The 25-year old forward previously played for the Boston Bruins.
2. Warren PETERS, C, Pittsburgh Penguins, 96 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Peters played in 58 games for the Minnesota Wild in 2011-12. He previously played sparingly for the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames. This summer, the 30-year old centre signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
3. Patrick KALETA, RW, Buffalo Sabres, 267 NHL games (RC Season: 2007-08) • Kaleta played in 63 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12. He scored 10 points and finished second on the team with 139 hits. He has played in 40 or more games in each of the last five seasons. The 26-year old forward grew up in Buffalo.
4. Gabriel BOURQUE, LW, Nashville Predators, 43 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Bourque played in 43 games for the Nashville Predators in 2011-12, scoring 19 points as a 21-year old rookie. He scored five points in the playoffs, including three goals in the opening round against the Red Wings. At the junior level, he won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
5. Anton LANDER, C, Edmonton Oilers, 56 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Lander played in 56 games for the Edmonton Oilers in 2011-12. The 21-year old centre scored six points while averaging just over 10 minutes per game. He previously played for Timrå in Sweden. He won a bronze medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
6. Devante SMITH-PELLY, RW, Anaheim Ducks, 49 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Smith-Pelly played in 49 games for the Anaheim Ducks in 2011-12. He scored 13 points and racked up 104 hits. He was also loaned to Canada’s U-20 team during which time he won a bronze medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship. Before joining the NHL ranks, the 20-year old winger was a 2011 Memorial Cup First Team All-Star.
7. Lennart PETRELL, LW, Edmonton Oilers, 60 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Petrell did not get the same fanfare as other Edmonton rookies in recent years, but then again the 28-year old forward was not eligible for the Calder Trophy. After years of playing pro in Finland, he played in 60 NHL games with the Oilers in 2011-12. He scored nine points and ranked third on the team with 122 hits.
8. Andrew DESJARDINS, C, San Jose Sharks, 93 NHL games (RC Season: 2010-11) • Andrew Desjardins played in 76 games for the San Jose Sharks in 2011-12. He scored 17 points and racked up 93 hits, despite averaging less than 10 minutes per game. The 26-year old forward played in 17 games in 2010-11.
9. Joey CRABB, RW, Washington Capitals, 144 NHL games (RC Season: 2008-09) • Crabb played in 67 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011-12. He managed to score 11 goals and 26 points on a team that failed to make the playoffs for a seventh-consecutive seasons. He previously played for the Atlanta Thrashers. In the summer, the 29-year old winger signed with the Washington Capitals.
10. Ryan RUSSELL, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets, 41 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Russell played in 41 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011-12, scoring two goals as a 25-year old rookie. He made his NHL debut in January, shortly after his twin brother Kris was traded from the Blue Jackets to the Blues. Ryan previously played in the American League with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
11. Jake DOWELL, C, Minnesota Wild, 154 NHL games (RC Season: 2007-08) • Dowell played in 52 games for the Dallas Stars in 2011-12. One year earlier, he played in 79 games for the Chicago Blackhawks. In July 2012, the 27-year old signed a two-year deal with the Minnesota Wild.
12. Dale WEISE, RW, Vancouver Canucks, 78 NHL games (RC Season: 2010-11) • Weise played in 68 games for the Vancouver Canucks in 2011-12, helping the team win the Presidents’ Trophy. He finished fifth on the team with 118 hits, despite averaging just 8:09 minutes per game. The 24-year old winger previously played for the New York Rangers.
13. Jeff PETRY, D, Edmonton Oilers, 108 NHL games (RC Season: 2010-11) • Petry played in 73 games for the Oilers in 2011-12. He scored 25 points from the blueline and ranked second on the team in both hits (126) and blocked shots (126). The 24-year old defenceman is the son of former pitcher and World Series champion Dan Petry.
14. Alexei EMELIN, D, Montréal Canadiens, 67 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Emelin played in 67 games for the Montréal Canadiens in 2011-12, leading the team with 236 hits. The 26-year old rearguard joined the NHL ranks after playing for Ak Bars Kazan in the Kontinental Hockey League. A four-time member of Russia’s national team at the IIHF World Championships, he won a gold medal at the 2012 tournament.
15. Jakub KINDL, D, Detroit Red Wings, 106 NHL games (RC Season: 2009-10) • Kindl played in 55 games for the Detroit Red Wings in 2011-12. He scored 13 points from the blueline while averaging less than 15 minutes per game. The 25-year old defenceman was the Red Wings’ first-round draft pick in 2005.
16. Justin BRAUN, D, San Jose Sharks, 100 NHL games (RC Season: 2010-11) • Braun played in 66 games for the San Jose Sharks in 2011-12. Not to be mistaken with soccer’s Justin Braun of the Impact Montréal, the hockey Braun scored 11 points from the blueline in his second NHL campaign. The 25-year old defenceman finished second on the Sharks with 15 penalty minutes in the playoffs.
17. Roman JOSI, D, Nashville Predators, 52 NHL games (RC Season: 2011-12) • Josi played in 52 games for the Nashville Predators in 2011-12, scoring 16 points from the blueline while finishing fourth on the team with 98 blocked shots. He also played in all 10 games for the Predators in the playoffs. The 22-year old defenceman represented Switzerland at the 2009 IIHF World Championships.
18. Deryk ENGELLAND, D, Pittsburgh Penguins, 151 NHL games (RC Season: 2009-10) • Engelland played 73 games and ranked third on the Penguins with 173 hits. One year earlier, he played 63 games as the Penguins posted their first 50-win campaign in 18 years. The 27-year old defenceman turned pro in 2003-04 and then made his NHL debut in 2009-10.
19. Justin PETERS, G, Carolina Hurricanes, 28 NHL games (RC Season: 2008-09) • That Justin Peters is the top goalie “snub” speaks volumes of the popularity of goalies in our hobby. Peters is the third goalie on the Hurricanes’ depth chart, in fact slotted for another campaign in the American League. The 25-year old goalie played just seven NHL games last season, albeit he was an AHL Goaltender of the Month in November with the Charlotte Checkers.
20. Kevin POULIN, G, New York Islanders, 16 NHL games (RC Season: 2010-11) • Kevin Poulin was one of five goalies that played for the Islanders in 2011-12. The 22-year old goalie played only six games at the top level. Like Peters, he is included on our list to ensure we have two goalies on the “all-snub” team. Also like Peters, he was an AHL Goaltender of the Month in 2011-12 (January with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers).
Two players have yet to be featured in the O-Pee-Chee base set, although they have been featured in the O-Pee-Chee brand. Both Kaspars Daugavins and Nicklas Grossman have been included in the O-Pee-Chee Signatures insert – Daugavins in 2011-12 and Grossman in 2007-08 and 2012-13. Daugavins played in 65 games last season with the Senators while Grossman played in 74 games for the Stars and Flyers (with 355 games since 2006-07). Maybe next year, both will make the cut in the unsigned base set.