One of the more up and coming teams in the league this season has been the Atlanta Thrashers. Their youth movement is paying off in spades. With the emergence of Ondrej Pavelec in-goal, Zach Bogosian on defense and guys like Evander Kane, Bryan Little and Rich Peverley emerging on the offensive side, this is going to be a solid team in the next few years and could even start surprising better teams this season.
One of their prospects who has had very little luck over the past few seasons, Angelo Esposito, suffered yet another setback over the weekend as he tore his ACL in his right knee. Last year he did nearly the same in his left knee. If the name doesn’t ring a bell it should. He was the 20th overall pick in the 2007 draft and at one point was one of the best rated players in that draft. He was traded by the Penguins to the Thrashers for Marian Hossa.
After registering 98 points for Quebec of the QMJHL, his production has steadily decreased. Also his total games played has also gone down. This season for the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the Trashers) in only 12 games, he has registered just 4 assists. A player who was once expected to play alongside Malkin and Crosby in Pittsburgh, is nearly an afterthought in his own franchise’s future plans.
There was a time that Angelo’s In The Game cards (autographs and relics) were going for top dollar. I remember seeing his autograph consistently sell for $50+. Those days are gone and with him now possibly having two bad knees, his chances of being an impact player in the NHL are dwindling as well. I really do want him to succeed, I even did a through the mail with him last season, while he was in Montreal of the QMJHL <link>.
His autographed and game used cards are routinely selling for under $25 now. Even the card listed below out of ITG’s Superlative product line limited to just 9 copies, only sold for $28 on eBay. That particular card was one of his priciest cards at one point. Last year it fetched close to $70. Until he can prove that he can play a full season, I think his cards are doomed, but if you want a card of an outstanding junior player who may or may not play in the NHL, there are some real bargains out there with respect to his cards.