It’s Raining Rookies: Dual-Class Offers NHL Card Collectors Wild Opportunities

Last season’s lockout means a wealth of rookie cards will hit the shelves, including the Oliers’ Nail Yakupov.

The puck is about to drop on the 2013-2014 National Hockey League season, and due to the lockout-shortened season of last year, collectors have a unique opportunity.

Due to rules instituted by the NHL Players’ Association—which, in part, governs licensing deals with trading-card manufacturers—only a handful of players were eligible for rookie cards. As a result, the 2013-2014 season will feature a dual-rookie class featuring previously eligible players from the 2012-2013 season. In addition, players this year’s draft class who make their team’s final roster or eventually take the ice for their first game will also have the opportunity to be enshrined on cardboard.

There are currently two NHL/NHLPA–licensed trading-card manufacturers: Upper Deck and Panini America. Both companies have already started to release their 2013-2014 schedule of products with many more on the way. Here is a look at some of the top prospects to watch and their current rookie trading cards, if applicable.

1. Nail Yakupov:Edmonton Oilers, right winger, 1st overall pick in 2012 NHL Draft;

This talented forward played in 48 games for the Oilers last year, tallying 17 goals and 14 assists.

Current Rookie Cards:
• 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee #501;
• 2013-14 Score #650;
• 2013-14 Score #650 Hot Rookies Autograph;
• 2014-14 Trilogy #101 Autograph #/699, #102 Autographed #/399, #103 Autographed #/49;
• Upcoming debuts in September releases: Panini Prizm, Upper Deck Artifacts.

Alex Galchenuyk’s Hot Rookies card is another of our cards to watch.

2. Jonathan Huberdeau:Florida Panthers, center, 3rd overall Pick in 2011 NHL Draft;

Last year’s Rookie of the Year winner displayed an aggressive two-way game on the ice accounting for 14 goals and 17 assists.

Current Rookie Cards:
• 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee #555;
• 2013-14 Score #648;
• 2013-14 Score #648 Hot Rookies Autograph;
• 2014-14 Trilogy #119 Autograph #/699, #120 Autographed #/399, #121 Autographed #/49;
• Upcoming debuts in September releases: Panini Prizm, Upper Deck Artifacts.

3. Alex Galchenyuk: Montreal Canadiens, center, 3rd overall pick in 2012 NHL Draft;

Don’t let the name fool you. He’s an American-born player with good speed and stick handling skills. He scored 9 goals and 18 assists in 48 games last year.

Current Rookie Cards:
• 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee #575;
• 2013-14 Score #645;
• 2013-14 Score #645 Hot Rookies Autograph;
• 2014-14 Trilogy #107 Autograph #/699, #108 Autographed #/399, #109 Autographed #/49;
• Upcoming debuts in September releases: Panini Prizm, Upper Deck Artifacts.

Vladamir Tarsenko’s classic Russian playing style has a good chance of making him a huge contributor to the Blues’ season. His rookie card is another to watch.

4. Vladimir Tarasenko: St. Louis Blues, right winger; 16th overall pick in 2010 NHL Draft; 

A classic Russian playing style with a combination of speed and aggression. He scored 8 goals and 11 assist in 48 games for the Blues last year.

Current Rookie Cards:
• 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee #537;
• 2013-14 Score #647;
• 2013-14 Score #647 Hot Rookies Autograph;
• 2013-14 Trilogy #104 Autograph #/699, #105 Autographed #/399, #106 Autographed #/49;
• Upcoming debuts in September releases: Panini Prizm, Upper Deck Artifacts.

The following players were drafted in the 2013 NHL Draft and are expected to make their team either at the end of training camp or at some point during the regular season. Once they do, and upon playing their first game at the NHL level, they immediately become eligible to have an officially licensed trading card produced. Expect to see many of these players in later release of 2013-2014 products before the end of the year including Upper Deck Series 1 and Black Diamond Hockey.

Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers was Rookie of the Year last season, but his rookie card will be issued this year. Another top pick.

Nathan MacKinnon:Colorado Avalanche, center, 1st overall pick in 2013 NHL Draft;

Led Halifax to the Memorial Cup Tournament scoring a hat trick in the championship game, while leading all scorers with 13 goals and being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. MacKinnon is expected to make an immediate impact in the NHL and is presumed to be making the Avalanche roster coming out of training camp.

Jonathan Drouin: Tampa Bay Lightning, left winger, 3rd overall pick in 2013 NHL Draft;

He absolutely lit up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League posting a career-high 105 points, including 41 goals and 64 assists in only 49 games. Drouin was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Like his Memorial Cup teammate MacKinnon, he is expected to be on the Lightning’s roster at the start of the NHL season.

Seth Jones: Nashville Predators, defenseman, 4th overall pick in 2013 NHL Draft;

Son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, Seth saw his draft stock drop a bit due to no fault of his own. Projected as the potential number-one pick, teams picked to specific needs, leading the Predators to cash-in on a defenseman they can pair with All-Star, Shea Webber. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, he presents an intimidating presence on the blue-line.

These seven players represent the best of the new dual-rookie class and will have collectors chasing their various rookie cards throughout the season and beyond. While other future stars are sure to emerge, these are our picks to make an immediate impact.


Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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