Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Hattrick of Nic Petans

The World Juniors each year are a showcase of the young talent around the world when it comes to ice hockey and each year I seem to walk away with a new player or two to admire. A few years ago, Nic Petan wore the Team Canada colours and just seemed to dominate the tournament. It was his second appearance and after finishing 4th in 2014, he helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal in 2015 by scoring 4 goals and 11 points along the way in just 7 games. 

Success in a junior tournament by no means dictates success at the NHL level but I do believe this young 22 year old player has the potential to be a very solid second line NHL player and given he's a member of a very young and exciting Jets team, the future could be very bright for both him and his club. Over the past couple years I've managed to pick up a few of his cards:


2015-16 Upper Deck Nicolas Petan Young Gun
While I Nic'd the scan of this one from the internet, I did pull one or two of his cards during my quest for a McDavid young gun. He didn't stalk me as much as Larkin or Panarin but each time I hit him I was pretty happy with the outcome regardless.

2015-16 UD Contours Rookies Nicolas Petan /199
 Contours was a product that meant to be a little premium and a little different but alas I don't believe collectors jumped aboard the product like Crown Royale fans used to and as a result you can find this product still for a pretty reasonable price. My LCS has boxes for 89.99. I picked this one up for $5 which I'd do all over again.

2015 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors Jumbo Jersey Nicolas Petan /199
 Game used Team Canada jersey? Yes please! I don't think this was from the Gold Medal winning tournament but then again I don't know for certain it wasn't. Either way, it was game worn by Nic Petan which is still pretty cool in a Team Canada game.

Nicolas Petan finished this past year by playing in 54 NHL games where he put up 1 goal and 13 points. Very modest numbers but he mostly was seeing bottom 6 time and support and I believe in time he could find himself higher up in the line up and as a result production will increase. In the meantime I wouldn't be surprised if we see 30 points from him in 2017-18 and more importantly I am excited to see what the Jets will be capable of this coming season after just missing out on a playoff spot. They did finish the season as the hottest team in the NHL with a 7 game winning streak so if that is any indication, look out Western Conference.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Non-Identical Twin McDavids

Two years ago when McDavid was on the horizon of his NHL debut, I am willing to bet it was much like the Summer of 2005. I don't know for certain because I wasn't back collecting again at that point but it would very much be my guess. I missed the Crosby insanity which is a shame because I could have lucked into a couple nice RCs without tanking my financial situation. But alas I didn't and I missed out and given recent trends that appears to be a permanent thing. However, it's all good in my books, I do have an MVP and Ultra rookie of the best player to play the game since Mario Lemieux and some might even argue he's better than Mario (I won't do that today).

I was collecting when #CollectConnor was a thing and I was fortunate enough when the dust settled to have 5 different rookie year cards of him. Today I am sharing the twins.

15-16 Artifacts
These two cards feature a few similar traits. Both are from 15-16 Artifacts, both are numbered to /399 and both are redemptions filled by me and reside in my collection. I was fortunate enough to get them well below the trending rates at the time but I am sure they might have been had for even better deals at the end of his rookie season when he failed to win the Calder and spent half the season on the DL. However, thanks to the success Connor McDavid had last season most of his rookie stuff has steadily climbed and in some cases even beyond the initial hype prices. Please excuse my "scans" they are actually from a photo I took with my dying camera as I didn't wish to put them on my scanner and risk damaging them when I tried to pick them back up.

15-16 Artifacts Rookie Jersey Redemption Silver Connor McDavid /399
 These redemptions came out very nice in my opinion. After seeing the base rookies I must admit I do prefer the redemptions even though they aren't an "official" rookie card. I lucked out into getting a blue and orange swatch which look fantastic with the rest of the card. No eBay 1/1s when it comes to my numbering but then again I never cared much about those anyway.


15-16 Artifacts Rookie Redemption Ruby Connor McDavid /399
The rookie redemption series come in a variety of different levels depending on if it's a jersey or a regular rookie redemption. Depending on your luck and or budget you can try and chase the rainbow if you wished but for me these two are plenty and perhaps one day I will pass one of these each on to my two boys so they can have a piece of the player who might be the best since ...

Thanks for stopping by, hope to have a new post very soon!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A new minor PC - Blake Speers

How many PCs can a fella have? Probably as many as they want or can afford to chase/trade for, but in my case I usually stop ones and start others and while Brett Connolly is big in my collection and I will always follow along, I've officially stopped chasing his stuff and will just enjoy what I have accumulated. As a result I've started a couple small PCs to replace BC with and Blake Speers is one of them.

I really enjoyed his efforts at the 2017 WJHC and he looked really good last fall with the Devils and actually made the opening night line up. I suspect he will make it again this year but perhaps will manage to stick it out this time for the whole season. He's a very tenacious player who does very well at both ends of the ice and has lots of speed which seems to be the direction the Devils are going with their rebuild which makes him a perfect second/third line player.

16-17 Upper Deck Blake Speers Young Gun
 What every PC needs if the card exists is a Young Gun version. I don't have the acetate version yet but they are out there. I'd be willing to make a trade for one if anyone has one to part with.

15-16 Leaf Heroes and Prospects Blake Speers Prospect Auto /80
 Also who could start a PC without an autograph of the player? This one is fun because it's him in a Greyhounds jersey and represents him prior to being in the NHL.

There you have it a couple to kick off a minor PC. I do have a couple more I will share but those will come at a later date! Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

85-86 OPC Kirk Muller Rookie

So when I was a kid just getting started into collecting, I always had an eye for "vintage". Of course the concept of time was still relative so for me anything that was older than 90-91 was considered vintage by my little developing mind. One card I remember distinctly on my want list was the 85-86 OPC Kirk Muller Rookie. It didn't book for much at the time 4-5 dollars and even today it still doesn't book for much $4.00 in the most recent Beckett Hockey Monthly. So when I was at a card shop back in like 1991, the same one where I shelled out 8 dollars for an Upper Deck Ed Belfour Star Rookie, I saw a Kirk Muller rookie for $5.00.

I still remember it like it was yesterday, it sat there in the display case in a 10 count card holder and the card had a bit of curl to it. Later in life I'd learn it's called the OPC curl and basically all the OPC card if left for a long extended period of time outside a toploader or other case it would start to curl on you a bit. So I brought my purchase home with me and was perplexed by why it had curled and figured that I could just flatten it out and shove it into a toploader and that's just what I did. However, in the process of flattening it I created a new problem and that was I damaged the card in a new way...wrinkles/ripples in the center of the card. I was pretty bummed out but still enjoyed owning the rookie card of the best Devils player ever (at that point) and over the years somehow that card managed to disappear.

Several years ago, I was able to build an 85-86 Topps set which got me another Muller rookie this time in Topps form. However, a hole was still there from my childhood and about 2 years ago I was at the LCS and the owner had a bunch of new stock which included a bunch of vintage cards and in there I found myself an 85-86 OPC Kirk Muller rookie in fantastic non-curled shape in the 3 for 5 bin. You better believe I left with it.

85-86 OPC Kirk Muller Rookie
While I always believed that we should have been the ones to get Mario Lemieux and it should be him in this jersey, things still worked out ok and in the end it would be a trade that sent Kirk Muller to Montreal that helped them win a Cup and eventually us win a Cup too. Glad to have you back in the fold Kirk and I promise to just leave you as is.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

73-74 OPC Billy Smith RC

Sometimes a mint card isn't what is needed in a collection, sometimes just having a nice copy is sufficient enough. While it is my hope to collect at least one set a year from 1910-present, I know that goal isn't too realistic. However, having some key single rookies is rather doable and one of the biggest from the 73-74 set without a doubt is Billy Smith! 

73-74 OPC Billy Smith RC
Not exactly an exciting photo of a goalie in action but it is perhaps a bit better than a studio shot of a goalie in his equipment sweating it out under the lights.



Here is the back side of the card. Interestingly enough, this particular year OPC used two different types of card stock one with a light back and the other with a darker back. This is a dark back version. Even his rookie card predicted that Billy doesn't mind mixing it up with players in front of his net.

While I am not a big Islanders fan or even a huge Billy Smith fan, I greatly respect his career and accomplishments and this card falls under the category of me wanting to own every significant player's rookie card in the history of hockey which is a massive under taking in itself and the best part is it's a project that will never end! Thanks for stopping by and until next post...

Saturday, July 1, 2017

13-14 The Cup Scripted Swatches Nail Yakupov /35

Nail Yakupov had a decent start to his NHL career. He was a finalist for the Calder and the future seemed bright. However, in the past year or two many fans are beginning to think he is just another Alexandre Daigle and are considering him a bust. I am thinking perhaps the right situation hasn't presented itself and given he is only 23 years old I want to believe there is hope yet. As I write this, no Canada Day signings have happened yet but I believe someone will sign this kid. Heck, I'd love it if New Jersey took a shot and perhaps we'd be rewarded with a solid second line winger.

Fact of the matter is he needs to change a bit, get a little tougher on the puck but with the right coach and atmosphere this kid's career is salvageable and there are a few teams that could do it for him. In addition to the Devils, I believe clubs like Tampa, Florida, LA or Vegas could benefit from a one dimensional scorer. Time will tell where he signs but regardless, I still wish Nail all the best and hope these past few seasons will be nothing more than a slow start and he will blossom into a 30-30-60 player I know he's capable of being.

13-14 The Cup Scripted Swatches Nail Yakupov /35
About a year ago I put a low ball offer in on this particular card and won it! It's a great looking card with a huge patch and you can actually see three colours on it. The auto is solid and I am pleased to have his number 10 on it to go with some of my other auto rookies of his where he signed them 64.

Thanks for stopping by and no matter where you are or who you cheer for Happy Canada Day / Happy Free Agency Day.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rest in Peace Dave Semenko

A part of getting older is you see people you are related to,  know, cheer for or at the very least heard of begin to pass away. 2016 was a crazy year for that in general and it appears 2017 will be one that isn't much different. It was recently announced that Dave Semenko best known for his days with the Oilers has passed away. While he started and left the game before I ever got to see him play, through video and stories including (Wayne Gretzky's Autobiograph) I got a chance to learn a little bit about him. I felt I learned enough and admired his career enough to write him a letter a several years ago. The result was a kind response including this autographed card.



I would like to pass along my condolences to his family and I hope he is at peace now after his battle with cancer.

I've Got Wood!

I am not sure if I will never stop laughing at such a stupid and childish phrase but I guess the day I do is the day I am no longer young at heart. Miles Wood is a player who I got very excited over during the pre-season and felt the future is very bright in NJ. While many of our kids were eventually sent back to junior and the AHL, Miles was able to get back with the big club part way through the year and what he had to show fans each and every night was just awesome.

Miles will probably never score 40 goals and he will never win an Art Ross but that isn't what we need from him. What Miles does do is skates like the wind, plays with an edge and can contribute one way or another each and every night. I feel he's got 20-30-50 potential and is very exciting to watch. He is everywhere when he's on the ice and isn't afraid to do what is needed to help the team win. I have seen enough from him this season to make me a fan and I've started a PC of his stuff too.

16-17 UD Ice Premieres Miles Wood Auto /299
This one is from the Upper Deck Ice set. All cards are acetate which makes them a little pricey to produce so you may not get the best bang for your buck in terms of quantity of hits but you certainly get loads in quality and these cards typically have strong value when compared to other brands in Upper Deck's stable. I definitely am going to try and gobble up some Devils The Cup rookies this fall and I assure you I will be trying to track down a Wood rookie no matter what!

10-11 Upper Deck Jeff Skinner Young Gun

Hockey fans like most sports fans can be too hard on athletes in my opinion and when it comes to hockey especially hard. When you look at football, or baseball chances are the athletes are in the early to mid 20 by the time they are a rookie and those few extra years can make a big difference when it comes to life under a microscope and the pressure of being a highly paid athlete. However in hockey, rookies are often nothing more than young adults who are 18-20 years old and perhaps new to the spotlight and pressures of being a pro athlete.

Let's take Jeff Skinner for example. Before you read any further or do any research, what do you think of? A player who had a good start and fizzled because of injuries? A player who just never reached his full potential?

Now, let's look at the Jeff Skinner I see, first of all he's only 25 years old! That's right, 25. Jeff can easily have another decade of hockey ahead of himself if he stays healthy. Truth is he did have a few concussions over a couple years early in his career but these past 3 years he's only missed 6 games in total. This past season Jeff scored 37 goals on a pretty weak Carolina team and was a huge reason why they were flirting with a playoff spot. His 37 goals this past year was good enough for 6th in the entire league. Over the past two years he's averaged over 30 goals a season and I truly believe the best is yet to come as he reaches into his prime. True 3 seasons ago Skinner's numbers were pretty pedestrian with him only scoring 18 goals and 31 points but the team as a whole was a disaster too.

After 7 NHL seasons Jeff Skinner has scored 20 or more goals 5 times and 30 or more goals 3 times. I believe he can easily reach 30 over the next 5-6 years and perhaps even has a 40 goal campaign or two in him. At 25 there's so much hockey left in this kid I am excited to see where his career will take him. As a Skinner fan, I hope I've convinced you the reader he is worth all the hype he once had back as a Calder Trophy winning 18 year old and might be worth grabbing a card or two of if you don't already have some in your collection.

10-11 Upper Deck Jeff Skinner Young Gun
Once upon a time his Young Gun would have set you back close to 50 dollars but now can be had for under 20 and I believe if he can show the world he's a consistent 30-35 goal a season player you will see those cards take a jump in value.

While I am trying to stand up for Jeff Skinner and his career, I know I am guilty of getting down on prospects who just don't mature as quickly as hoped or panic a bit when that sophomore slump trickles into their 3rd/4th season but patience will always win out with most of these kids because they are indeed humans like the rest of us and the game is a world unlike anything we live in.

Some other players who might be worth a look and some added patience are: Dylan Strome, Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and if you have a player you'd like to say still has star potential I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cooperalls and My Childhood Favourite Player

So the Devils got to pick first in an entry draft for the first time since they became the Devils back in 1982. Over the years they've had a few high picks including guys like Scott Niedermayer (Thanks Toronto), Bill Guerin, Brendan Shanahan etc. One player who was a very high pick was John MacLean who was drafted in 1983 and he went 6th overall. Yzerman, Lafontaine and Barrasso all were picked ahead of him and can't really judge those choices at all and Sylvain Turgeon and Brian Lawton happened to be the number 2 and 1 picks respectively and they may not have ended there on a re-draft. John was an excellent player in junior and in his draft year scored 18 goals and 38 points in just 17 playoffs games as the Generals would go on to win the OHL Championships that year and would fall just short in the Memorial Cup Finals. Despite the loss in the finals, John MacLean would still be named to the tournament all-star team.

1982-83 Durham Police Oshawa Generals John MacLean
Here is a card that was sent to me by Sal from Puck Junk which features a John MacLean from his draft year. These cards are larger than your typical card and are very well done. This card predates his rookie card by several seasons as Johnny Mac wouldn't get his NHL rookie card until the 86-87 season.

There is just so much to love about this card. The Titan hockey stick, the Cooperalls and the classic stopping/snow shower photo. Thank you very much Sal for a card I didn't have yet and greatly appreciate. John MacLean was my first ever favourite player and to get a card you've never even seen before of them is just down right fantastic!