Monday, May 09, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Mike Dunham

After weeks of some old-school types, we go forth with a more recent goalie who keeps dabbling in the game today. From a solid NCAA career to a great international career, to a dependable NHL career; this week's goalie has been through it all and still has his work cut out from him, even though he's been retired for a few seasons now. This week, the profile of Mike Dunham.

Dunham started out at The Canterbury School, a prep school in Connecticut, playing there for three seasons. He would be drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the third round of the 1990 Draft, but Dunham had committed to the University of Maine and would honor his commitment to the Black Bears. Starting in the 1990-91 season, Dunham would start out playing behind Garth Snow at Maine, playing 23 games with a 14-5-2 on the season. Also that season, Dunham went to the World Juniors for the US, going 1-2-0 in three games. Dunham would see limited amount of time in the Maine net, as he played only seven games with a 6-0-0 record to show for it.

However, in the 1991-92 season, Dunham mostly spent time with USA hockey's program, playing in the World Juniors and going 5-0-1 in six games, leading the US to a bronze medal performance and getting Top Goaltender honors from the tournament. Dunham also spent time with the National Team touring squad, going 0-1-1 in three games, while going 0-1-0 in three games at the World Championships and being a spare goalie for the 1992 Olympic team.

The 1992-93 season had Dunham playing a huge role with the Maine Black Bears, playing in 25 games with a 21-1-1 record, then helping the Bears get to the NCAA Tournaments-- winning the title over Lake Superior State. Dunham would be Hockey East First Team All-Star and NCAA First Team All-American. Dunham would join the US team for the World Championships, going 1-0-0 in his only game. Dunham would stick with the US National Team in the 1993-94 season, playing on tour with them going 22-9-2 in 33 games, then 0-1-2 in three games during the Olympics.

Post Olympics, Dunham started his pro career by joining the Albany River Rats of the AHL, where he would play five games at the end of the '93-'94 season and going 2-2-1. In his first full season in Albany in the 1994-95 season, Dunham came into his own, playing in 35 games with a 20-7-8 record, then going 6-1 in seven playoff games, as the River Rats won the Calder Cup. Along with Corey Schwab, Dunham would collect the Hap Holmes Memorial Award for fewest goals-against and shared Playoff MVP honors with Schwab. Dunham's role expanded in the 1995-96 season, going 30-10-2 in 44 games, but wouldn't be able to repeat the playoff heroics, going 1-2 in three games.

The 1996-97 season had Dunham move up to the New Jersey Devils to back-up Martin Brodeur. Dunham would get in 26 games with a 8-7-1 record, including two shutouts, which allowed him to share the William Jennings Trophy for fewest goals-against with Brodeur. Dunham also spent three games in Albany, going 1-1-1 in three games. The 1997-98 season saw Dunham play only 15 games with a 5-5-3 record to show for it. Dunham would head to the the World Championships again with the USA with an 0-1-0 record in two games.

The Devils left Dunham unprotected, which allowed the Nashville Predators to claim him in the Expansion Draft. Dunham would split time with Tomas Vokoun, mostly because Dunham missed 26 games due to a reoccurring groin injury. Dunham still go into 44 games with a 16-23-3 record. The 1999-2000 season was better for Dunham, as he played in 52 games witha 19-27-6 record for the Preds, then spending a game in the IHL with the Milwaukee Admirals-- which was a win. Injuries plagued Dunham in the 2000-01 season, as he missed 15 games due to a knee injury, but it was a solid season after all-- sporting a 21-21-4 record in 48 games. Back on the mend in 2001-02, Dunham would put together a 23-24-9 record in 58 games, but Dunham would take home some hardware, as he would go to the Olympics; winning the only game he played in and captured a Silver Medal for the US. Dunham would start the 2002-03 campaign with the Predators, but would only play 15 games; going a dismal 2-9-2 before he was sent out.

Dunham was sent to the New York Rangers for Rem Murray, Tomas Kloucek and Marek Zidlicky. Dunham would have to take over for the injured Mike Richter, as Dunham would play 43 games in the Big Apple going 19-17-5 with five shutouts. Back in the Big Apple, Dunham would have another rough season-- finishing 16-30-6 in 57 games.

With the lockout in 2004-05, Dunham went to Sweden to play 13 games with Skelleftea AIK HK in the Swedish Division II league.

Once the lockout was over, Dunham was signed by the Atlanta Thrahsers for the 2005-06 season, but had to deal with his share of groin issues again, playing only 17 games with a 8-5-2 record. While rehabbing, Dunham spent time in the ECHL with the Gwinnett Gladiators, winning both his games he played in.

Dunham then signed with the New York Islanders for the 2006-07 season, playing only 19 games with a 4-10-3 record, mostly using his time as a mentor to the young Islanders goalies coming up through the ranks. However, after that year-- Dunham retired from the NHL.

Post retirement, Dunham would stay with the Islanders as their goalie coach, a spot he holds today. Many thought he would suit up again this past season, as the Islanders had issues with keep goaltenders healthy.

Though he had a solid college career, his NHL years were less than stellar. Even with that, he always answered the call for his country, which allowed him for a decorated career with Team USA. From those experiences, he's now able to try and mentor the younger goalies through the Islanders system.

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