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Top 40 Countdown: No. 8

When the Chicago Wolves shifted from the International Hockey League to the American Hockey League in 2001, the player who ranks No. 8 on the Wolves’ Top 40 Goal-Scorers Countdown, presented by Jewel-Osco, became one of the Wolves’ key additions when they partnered with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers at that time.

Jean-Pierre “JP” Vigier spent his first full professional season with the IHL’s Orlando Solar Bears and helped them defeat the Wolves in the 2001 Turner Cup Finals. But during that offseason, Vigier and several other Atlanta Thrashers prospects joined the Wolves as they moved to the AHL.

Vigier wasted no time becoming an important part of the Wolves lineup. He produced 25 goals during the 2001-02 regular season — third on the team behind Steve Maltais and Rob Brown — and then added seven goals in 21 postseason games as the Wolves zoomed from the seventh seed in the Western Conference to the Calder Cup championship.

Vigier’s strong performance earned him 15 games with the Thrashers in 2002-03, but he still found time to contribute 29 goals in 63 regular-season appearances for the Wolves. The Notre Dame du Lourdes, Manitoba, native spent the entire 2003-04 season with the Thrashers and posted 10 goals in 70 games.

But when the NHL staged a lockout to start the 2004-05 season, Vigier returned to Chicago and helped lead the Wolves to the Calder Cup Finals. Vigier paced the squad in goals (29) and points (70) over 76 regular-season games, then tacked on five goals and six assists while appearing in all 18 postseason contests.

That performance earned Vigier two more full seasons in Atlanta, then he started a five-year run in Switzerland with the 2007-08 season. Now he teaches the game for Vigier Hockey in Winnipeg.

Vigier capped his three-year Wolves run with 83 goals (eighth on the all-time list) and 167 points (13th all-time) in 201 regular-season appearances. He’s one of 11 players to produce at least 15 postseason goals for the Wolves.

Want to enjoy more of the countdown?

No. 40: Gage Quinney
No. 39: Tim Breslin
No. 38: Nathan Oystrick
No. 37: Ben Simon
No. 36: Curtis McKenzie
No. 35: Kamil Piros
No. 34: Mark Mancari
No. 33: Simon Gamache
No. 32: Guy Larose
No. 31: Wade Megan
No. 30: Shane Harper
No. 29: Michael Davies
No. 28: Karl Stewart
No. 27: Cory Larose
No. 26: Pat Cannone
No. 25: Brian Wiseman
No. 24: Colin Stuart
No. 23: Brian Noonan
No. 22: Tim Bergland
No. 21: Joey Crabb
No. 20: Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman
No. 19: Dan Currie
No. 18: Dan Plante
No. 17: Bob Nardella
No. 16: Brandon Pirri
No. 15: Steve Martins
No. 14: Spencer Machacek
No. 13: Kevin Doell
No. 12: Niklas Andersson
No. 11: Ty Rattie
No. 10: Scott Pearson
No. 9: Derek MacKenzie