Monday, July 30, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Sam St. Laurent

Though this week's AGM definitely has a niche for keeping his fashion from going out of style; his style itself was something that was more of shuttling back and forth from the minors to the NHL. Even so, he got success here and there, but nothing truly lasting. This week, the profile of Sam St. Laurent.

It all started for St. Laurent with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL in the 1975-76 season, where he would play in 17 games and finish with a 4-8-2 record. The 1976-77 season got St. Laurent more time in the cage, finishing with a 5-9-0 record in 21 appearances. Chicoutimi gave St. Laurent the starting job in the 1977-78 season, playing in 60 games and compiling a disappointing 12-35-10 record. In his final junior season, St. Laurent played 70 games in the 1978-79 and would finish with a 23-31-9 record.

St. Laurent would sign with the Philadelphia Flyers before the 1979-80 and would be put into their system. St. Laurent would play parts of four seasons with the IHL's Toledo Goaldiggers, playing in 85 games in that span, but no record to be recorded. However, St. Laurent would move his way into the AHL with the Maine Mariners for a few seasons to start with seven games in the 1980-81 season (3-3-0), 25 games in the 1981-82 season (15-7-1), and 30 games in the 1982-83 season (12-12-4), while also appearing in 17 playoff games with an 8-9 record.

Due to the playoff success, St. Laurent would stay the full 1983-84 season with the Mariners, appearing in 38 games, finishing with a 14-18-4 record and then in the playoffs posting a 9-2 record in 12 games. St. Laurent stepped into a bigger role in the 1984-85 season with Maine, posting a 26-22-7 record in 55 appearances and going 5-5 in 10 playoff games.

Before the 1985-86 season, St. Laurent was shipped to the New Jersey Devils for future considerations, but he would spend most of that season back in Maine, where he would play in 50 games and finish with a 24-20-4 record. St. Laurent would go on to win the Harry "Hap" Holmes Award for fewest goals-against in the season, as well as the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Award for Most Outstanding Goaltender in the AHL. St. Laurent would also play in four games for New Jersey and finishing with a 2-1-0 record.

The Devils would trade St. Laurent to the Detroit Red Wings for Steve Richmond in the summer of 1986, which would land St. Laurent with the Adirondack Red Wings for the 1986-87 season, playing 25 games and posting a 7-13-0 record; then going 1-2-2 in six games with Detroit. It was another split season for St. Laurent in the 1987-88 season, playing in 32 games in Adirondack (12-14-4) and six games in Detroit (2-2-0), but have his season end in the first playoff game he played in. While the split season of 1988-89 happened, it was a good year for St. Laurent in the AHL, as he would go 20-11-3 in 34 games with Adirondack and then 11-5 in 16 playoff games, helping them win the Calder Cup and giving St. Laurent the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy for Playoff MVP. That same year with Detroit, St. Laurent went 0-1-1 in four games.

The 1989-90 season was a big split season for St. Laurent, as he would spend 13 games in Adirondack with a 10-2-1 record and then get called up to Detroit and play 14 games there with a 2-6-1 record.

During the summer of 1990, St. Laurent was traded to the New York Rangers for cash going to Detroit, but the 1990-91 season, St. Laurent would play with the Binghamton Rangers, where he would go 19-16-4 record in 45 games. It was a short 1991-92 season for St. Laurent, who would play only one game for the Canadian National Team (a loss), be an extra for the Canadian Olympic team (which he got a silver medal), and then one games with Binghamton-- a no decision. He would retired following that season.

St. Laurent has the eternal distinction of being the last goalie to wear a full fiberglass mask in North American professional hockey-- NHL and AHL.

Post playing career, St. Laurent was retained by the Rangers a goalie coach and consultant from 1993 until 2004, where he was credited with developing the likes of Mike Richter, Dan Cloutier, and Jason Labarbera. After a year of consulting in Germany, St. Laurent started to do private consultations via appointment only.

A last of as dying breed, literally, St. Laurent didn't have the best teams in front of him, but he was able to hit his groove later on his tenures with teams. Though the team success and personal success came, it seemed that he was never cut out for the NHL for a length of time, due to one thing or another. Even so, he'll always have a space in goalie history for his facial protection.

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