Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota on this date in 1984, Ryan Potulny played two seasons for the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in 2001-02 and 2002-03 before being drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
He would spend the next three seasons with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). He would play 15 games his first season, recording 6 goals and 8 assists in 15 games. His next season would see him play in 44 games, raising his point totals to 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points. In his third and final season with Minnesota, he would lead not only the Gophers in scoring, but the nation as well, with 38 goals and 63 points in 41 games.
Potulny was named the Gophers MVP, First Team All WCHA, a Hobey Baker Award Finalist and an All-American, earning himself a prestigious place on one of the murals at the Gophers home rink, Mariucci Arena.
Potulny made his NHL debut on April 7th, 2006 and scored a point during his first game. The following season of 2006-07 would see him skate in 35 games for the Flyers, totaling 12 points from 7 goals and 5 assists. 2007-08 would see him play seven NHL games with one assist.
He was traded by the Flyers to the Edmonton Oliers and spent the majority of the 2008-09 season with Springfield of the American Hockey League (AHL), where he would score 62 points in 70 games and participate in the AHL All-Star Game in Worcester, MA. He would also make eight appearances for the Oliers, raising his career NHL totals to 52 games, 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points.
The 2009-10 season would be the reverse, with the center spending 64 games with Edmonton, scoring 15 goals and 32 points, and 14 games with Springfield in the AHL.
He would sign with the Chicago Blackhawks organization as a free agent for the 2010-11 season and spend the majority of the year with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, scoring 41 points while scoring 18 goals. He would see action with the Blackhawks in 3 games, but would be traded on the last day of February to the Ottawa Senators. Potulny played 7 games for Ottawa and 13 with their primary AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators, with whom he would have a fine postseason, scoring 14 goals and 26 points in 23 games to lead Binghamton in playoff scoring as they would capture the 2011 Calder Cup.
While this was not enough to earn him a return to the NHL, he did sign with the Washington Capitals organization, which assigned him to the Hershey Bears where he came third in team scoring with 33 goals and 65 points in 61 games played in 2011-12.
Today's featured jersey is a 2004-05 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Ryan Potulny jersey. This jersey has a definite throwback feeling to it, with the lace up collar, vintage Goldy Gopher logo on the front and diagonal "GOPHERS" lettering, reminiscent of the styles worn by the Gophers from 1954 to 1969.
We can't help but think that the University must have been influenced by the die-hard Gopher fans who produced their own throwback jerseys of the 1950's and 60's for a few years prior to the introduction of this alternate style.
Poltulny has become known for scoring the winning goal at 2:58 of the fifth overtime in Game 5 of the East Division Semi-Finals after 142:58 of game time, an American Hockey League record for the longest game.