Born: August 31, 1975
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Weight: 210 lbs
By now, John Grahame is tired of being reminded of the fact that he is linked to one of the greatest players in Boston Bruins history, the incomparable Raymond Bourque. John’s father, Ron, played 40 games in goal for Boston before getting traded to the Los Angeles Kings for their 1979 first round draft choice. Bruin GM Harry Sinden selected Bourque who, 20 years later, is still playing all-star hockey in the National Hockey League. Ron Grahame played a few forgettable seasons with the Kings and Quebec Nordiques before retiring in 1981.
John hopes that he and his father can become the answer to a future trivia question: who is the only father-son combination to play goal for the Boston Bruins? Based on John’s performance with Boston’s top affiliate Providence of the American Hockey League over two seasons, his NHL debut seems imminent. In two years at the minor pro level, Grahame has established himself as a dependable stopper, capable of making important saves when called upon. At the age of 23, his future looks promising despite the Bruins’ 30 years of draft futility at the goaltender position.
Since the institution of the amateur draft in 1969, Boston has had its troubles selecting and developing young netminders. The majority of successful Bruins goaltenders have come to Boston via trades from other organizations, while the players Boston has drafted and attempted to bring up through their own system have been largely unsuccessful in the NHL. The littany of failures is long: Curt Ridley, Peter Crosbie, Jim Pettie, Peter Waselovich, Gary Carr, Kevin Nugent, Dave Parro, Murray Skinner, Mike Moffat, Joe Mantione, Don Sylvestri, Bruno Campese, Alain Larochelle, Terry Taillefer, Norm Foster, Mike Bishop, Matt Delguidice, Mike Parson, Mike Bales, Marcel Cousineau, Scott Bailey, Joakim Persson, Evgeni Ryabchikov, Neil Savary and Paxton Schafer have all combined to play fewer than 100 games for the Boston Bruins. Grahame hopes that he can become a rare exception and win a permanent job helping to guard the nets in Boston.
Grahame played one season in Sioux City of the USHL before Boston took him with their 7th pick, 224th overall in 1994. That year, Boston had used its top selection on a goaltender, a Bruin first in that regard, on Russian Evgeni Ryabchikov. Five years later, Ryabchikov is no longer in the organization and is considered one of the team’s biggest draft busts in history, while Grahame is a solid third on the Bruin depth chart. Grahame played 3 seasons of college hockey at Lake Superior State University, where he compiled a 47-24-9 record in 94 appearances.
Grahame decided to forgo his senior year of eligibility to turn pro with the Providence Bruins in 1997-98, and as a young rookie, was literally thrown into the fire as the number one netminder on the AHL’s worst team. He finished the season with a league-high 31 losses, yet posted a respectable GAA and Save percentage of 3.22 and .898 respectively. 1998-99 was a renaissance year for Grahame and the Providence Bruins as the team vaulted from last place in 1998 to AHL regular-season champions. Grahame began the season paired with former Vezina Trophy winner Jim Carey and the two rotated starts until Boston bought out Carey’s contract in February. When Carey left Providence for the St. Louis Blues, that opened the door for Grahame to seize the reins of the number one job in Providence. Grahame responded by setting an AHL-record 19 consecutive victories and finished the season with a league-best 37 wins.
Grahame has an excellent chance at becoming Byron Dafoe’s backup next season if current Bruin number two goalie Robbie Tallas is taken by the Atlanta Thrashers in the expansion draft as anticipated. Grahame has walked the walk in two seasons of top minor league competition and is ready to take the next step. While his father Ron spent only a brief amount of time in a Bruins uniform, fans hope that John can develop into a successful NHL goaltender while wearing the spoked B. With Grahame prepared to face the next challenge of his young career, Boston’s goaltending future looks bright indeed.
Kirk Luedeke is an amateur goaltender and professional soldier who has followed the Boston Bruins since 1977. He is too young to remember the last time the Bruins won the Cup, but eagerly awaits Lord Stanley’s return to its rightful place. You can find John Grahame’s updated player profile and scouting report, along with those of other top Boston Prospects on the Hockey’s Future Boston Bruins Page.