I thought it was time to update my Habs Numbers Project by including #75, Yann Danis, properly, with this 2005-06 Rookie Class card from Upper Deck (#39 in the set), signed in blue sharpie when he was with the New York Islanders:
Case in point: he's currently with the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, on a professional try-out contract, where he has a shutout to go with his 4-1-0 record, .912 save percentage and 2.56 GAA in 5 games, this after spending the first part of the season with the Norfolk Admirals, getting released when John Gibson was sent down from the Anaheim Ducks after Ilya Bryzgalov signed as a free agent when the Ducks' goalies all fell to injury. And yet, in 11 games with the Admirals, he'd stopped nearly as many shots as Jason LaBarbera's total, who'd played 16.
It seems that no matter the awards won in the NCAA, the fact that he hadn't been drafted made his way to the NHL that much harder, constantly having to prove himself even to the teams who agreed to sign him to contracts. Since graduating from Brown University in 2003-04, Danis has played for 4 NHL teams (the Habs, Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers), six AHL teams (three in the past 12 months), and one year in the KHL.
I didn't follow him for the whole time, but I did try to keep updated when he was with the Oilers' AHL affiliate Oklahoma City Barons, and there were many times where he was simply the best player on the ice, particularly in the playoffs (as can be attested here and here).
Assuming the NHL currently employs 65 of the world's 80 best goalies in the world, and that Europe is home to another 10 and that a few kids in Juniors are already that good, I think Danis still ranks among the top-100. Yes, in the world. It's an aberration to me that he isn't at least a backup on the type of team that would waive Evgeni Nabokov but yet isn't ready to bring up one of their kids to warm the bench for the rest of the season.
Hopefully this latest PTO will give him the chance he deserves - or at the very least a more stable contract offer.