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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.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Erik Christensen

This is the tale of another in a long line of talented prospects that the Pens just couldn't fit into their mix because of deep roster talent in the late 2000s.

Erik was drafted in the 3rd round in 2002 by the Pens.  He was a dynamo on the ice in the WHL, putting up 108 points for Kamloops in 67 games in 2002-03.

The Pens quickly moved him up to their AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the lockout season to see what he could do on a team that was loaded with budding stars.  He didn't disappoint, putting up 27 points, followed by 19 points in the first 9 games of 2005-06.  That's what got him a gig in the big leagues.

Playing alongside fellow rookies Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, and another up and comer...Sidney Crosby, he put up 13 points in 33 games.  But with so much talent on the Pens roster, there wasn't a whole lot of room on the bench.  With a deep talent pool in WBS and marquee players in front of him, plus a surging push to the playoffs Crusher's days were numbered.

At the trade deadline in 2008, Erik, along with Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito, and a 1st round pick became Cup contender casualties and were sent packing to Atlanta in exchange for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.  These two players would help the Pens reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in over 15 years.

Christensen never saw the opportunities after that.  In 2009 he was traded to Anaheim for Eric O'Dell.  The following season, he was pulled from the waiver wire by the Rangers.  While playing in New York, he injured a ligament in his knee, causing him to miss some significant time.  In 2012 he was dealt to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Casey Wellman.  The last two seasons, he has been seen playing in the KHL and the Swedish Hockey League.

This card comes from the 2007-08 Upper Deck Artifacts Auto-Facts set.  It is a sticker auto signed in blue ink.  Erik doesn't have the best signature out there.  It's very lazy like a lot of players in the modern era.  You can only really make out E. Cit and the number 16.

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