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Welcome to The Real DFG's Pittsburgh Penguin Autograph Project. My goal is to eventually try and get at least one autograph of every player to lace up the skates in an NHL game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. It could have been for one game or 700 games, I will add them. Occasionally I may post cards of former players in their new team uniforms. While the goal is to get autos in Pens uni's, it isn't always possible. Since the team has been in existence since 1967, the list is pretty large. Last I checked, it was somewhere in the range of 624 different players. Currently, I sit at about 100 autographs (with some duplication). Enjoy the posts.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nick Johnson

This card came to me in a trade at some point either last year or the year before, I don't really remember.  By trade, I mean a blog writer/collector's trade where inevitably someone gets screwed from a marketability standpoint but no one cares because they eliminated cards they don't like for cards they do.

At any rate, we have an autograph card of former Penguins forward, Nick Johnson.  Johnson was picked 67th overall by the Penguins in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.  Right out of the draft, Nick went to Dartmouth and played 4 years while getting his education.  He was signed to a two-way deal in Pittsburgh in March of 2008 after finishing his college career as a solid, versatile, scoring winger.

After two years of playing mostly for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Johnson appeared in only 6 NHL games, getting 1 goal and 2 points.  In WBS, he was fifth in scoring with 16 goals and 43 assists.  He led the team in plus/minus with a +19.  As a reward, the Pens signed him to another 1-year extention.

But the Pens patience began to run out on Nick (as well as many of the other young prospects from that year) and after only 4 games and 3 points, they let him go to the waiver wire at the end of the 2010-11 season.  It was hard for him to crack the lineup on a permanent basis to show what he could do since the Pens were so deep in the forward positions.  I would have like to see him hang on for a year or two more as a third or fourth liner but he was picked up by the Wild.

He played 77 games that next season, scoring 8 goals 18 assists (his best season in the NHL).  But even that wasn't enough to get invited back to Minnesota and he was signed to the Coyotes during last years lock-out shortened season.  He played in 17 games, splitting time with the Portland Pirates.  Finally, just two weeks ago, the Boston Bruins picked him up in a flurry of deals that also included the signing of former Calgary superstar and most recently Penguin, Jerome Iginla.

This card is from the 2010-11 SP Authentic set and is his Future Watch rookie/auto card #/999.  Nick has kind of a scribble auto with lots of ups and downs...kind of like his career.  He signs with his number which is probably the only way you could figure out this signature out of context.  Use your imagination a little and you might be able to notice what looks like "Mr. Jr 42"

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