In a string of six seasons Dominik Hasek won the Vezina Trophy, award for the NHL's best goalie five times. In 1995-96 Jim Carey, otherwise known as the "Net Detective" was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's premiere goalie, largely in part to his nine shutouts and 2.26 goals against average in 71 games.
Jim Carey was drafted 32nd overall by the Washington Capitals in the 1992 NHL entry draft, the highest goalie drafted. The move made little sense at the time as the Caps had two excellent young goalie prospects in Byron Dafoe and Olaf Kolzig.
Carey preformed well in his first pro season with the Portland Pirates of the AHL winning Rookie of the Year honors. The award opened eye's in the organization and Carey saw time in the Caps net for the lockout shortened season playing in 28 games.
As mentioned above, Carey played fantastic in the 1995-96 season and won the Vezina Trophy. From that point on, things did not Carey's way and due to poor play he was traded to the lowly Bruins just a year after winning the Vezina Trophy.
For the next two seasons Carey bounced back and forth between the minors and the NHL, never able to spend significant time with any team. He last saw NHL action in the 1998-99 season with the St.Louis Blues and then hung up the pads for good.
Since then Carey has disappeared from existence and for years I've tried to track him through the Internet. A few years ago I swear I found an article linking him to being an alumni member of a men's league tournament but I could not 100% verify this.
In the summer of 2010 I reached out to collectors in hopes of tracking down Carey. I was linked to his wikipedia page to see that he is now CEO/President of OptiMED Billing Solutions Inc. a medical company that is based in Boston and Sarasota.
Upon checking the OptiMED website I confirmed that is was in fact Jim Carey, although now he goes by James.
In September I sent Carey a letter and some cards to have signed but my letter was later returned as "un-claimed". Another collector sent him an email asking him if we could set up a paid private signing with no response. I've heard of collectors spotting him, asking for an autograph and having him deny that he ever played in the NHL. I have also heard that he was inducted into the Portland Pirates Hall of Fame a few years back and signed plenty of autographs at the induction ceremony. I call it the curious case of Jim Carey as I have heard plenty of stories over the years. Luckily, I managed to pick up a nice Carey autographed card a few years back through a trade.
Some people find success in their life and then lose it, only to spend the rest of their life trying to get it back. In my opinion, Carey although proud of his accomplishment's in hockey, has moved on with his life into a successful business professional.