(Photo Credits: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff

John Grahame, former Bruins alumni player, will be turning 46-years-old on August 31st. Grahame was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the ninth round in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Before coming up to play within the Bruins organization, Grahame elected to play three years of collegiate hockey with the Superior State Lakers of the CCHA. After playing for the Superior State Lakers for three years, Grahame would play hockey professionally in the 1997-1998 season. After that, Grahame was assigned to start for the AHL Providence Bruins, and Grahame’s career was underway.

Professional Career Underway

In Grahame’s second season with the Providence Bruins, he led them to the Calder Cup as they triumphed over the Rochester Americans in five games. Grahame began the season in Providence the following season but would eventually be called up to Boston mid-season to backup goaltender Byron Dafoe. Grahame played fairly well to earn himself second in balloting to the league’s all-rookie team.

In the ’99-’00 season, Grahame was 7-10 and averaged a 2.46 GAA. Unfortunately, during the 2000 NHL offseason, Grahame suffered a broken ankle and would miss most of the ’00-’01 season. A broken ankle injury for Grahame would make it hard to get back to his normal form. Grahame would play three more seasons for Boston, and during the 2003 season, Grahame was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In Boston, Grahame went 29-30, averaged a 2.78 GAA, and posted four shutouts.

Grahame’s Career Winding Down

In his first season with Tampa, it appeared that Grahame returned to standard. In the ’03-’04 season, Grahame was a backup for the Lightning, but he had his best season yet, going 18-9 and posting a 2.06 GAA. The Lightning would later continue their dominance and defeat the Calgary Flames in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. After the NHL lockout in ’04-’05, Grahame was promoted to be the Lightning’s starting goalie for the ’05-’06 season. However, Grahame’s starting status didn’t necessarily ride well with the Lightning organization, including head coach John Tortorella who publicly criticized Grahame after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

During the 2006 offseason, Grahame signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, and his stint with the Lightning was over. In the 103 games he played for Tampa, Grahame went 53-36, posted a 2.61 GAA, and had eight shutouts. However, Grahame wasn’t viewed as a quality starting goaltender in the Hurricanes front office eyes and was called down to the Albany River Cats for Michael Leighton. Grahame started the season with a 4-6-1 record. On January 21st, 2008, Grahame played his final game in the NHL. However, Grahame continued to bounce around in the AHL and KHL before officially retiring from hockey during the 2011 offseason.

A couple of months after retiring from hockey, Grahame decided to pick up the whiteboard and begin coaching. During the 2011-2012 season, Grahame was announced as the goaltending coach for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. That was the only season that Grahame was a coach. While Grahame wasn’t an elite goaltender, it didn’t mean that he didn’t do his part. From being a Calder Cup winner with the Providence Bruins to a Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Grahame showed that he could be a great leader when his team needed someone to step up. So, on behalf of myself and the BNG Hockey Organization, we wish you a Happy 46th Birthday, John Grahame!