As the home stretch begins for the NHL, Upper Deck has released the second half of their flagship series. Highlighted by more rookies and the one or two players that have been traded over the last year, Upper Deck Series II adds another 250 cards to the first series and completes the yearly release. Prices for boxes should be around $70.00 and they are available online and in your local shops starting on the 15th of February.
Historically, the second half release has featured a lot of solid rookie cards. Due to licensing restrictions mentioned in previous posts, Upper Deck isn’t able to release a card of a player until they have appeared in an NHL game. Therefore, some very good rookies appear tend to show up in this release. This year is no different.
Driving sales will be the Young Guns rookie card of Winnipeg’s Calder candidate Patrick Laine. Auctions for his first licensed hockey card are closing for about $110. Joining the Finnish forward as a hot release will be Toronto rookie Mitch Marner. His rookie card is already posting for over $100 as well. Maple Leafs collectors will be overjoyed (or financially overextended) if they want to get all of their rookies. Toronto has a league high SIX Young Guns in the checklist.
Unfortunately, despite dressing more than their share of rookies in the first half of the season, the Lightning have exactly zero cards in the Young Guns subset. Tampa fans are probably going to have to wait until next year to collect their first Tanner Richard, Matthew Peca and Adam Erne rookie cards.
As for the veterans, there are seven Lightning base cards. Nikita Kucherov, Vlad Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Valtteri Filppula, Alex Killorn and Jonathan Drouin make the checklist. Despite the lack of playing time due to his injury, there was no doubt that Stamkos was getting a card. As one of the more marketable stars on the team he is going to be featured in pretty much every set Upper Deck makes until he retires.
There are no glaring omissions from the roster. Killorn might be a bit of a surprise over Brian Boyle. Namestnikov and Vasilevskiy make their non-Young Guns debut which gives fans who collect them plenty of parallels to collect. Each base card will have an Exclusive (numbered to 100), a Clear Cut, and a High-Gloss (numbered to 10) parallel to collect along with the 1-of-1 printing plates.
The Lightning did fare a little better in the inserts for this series.
Upper Deck Canvas
The Lightning have five players (Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Vlad Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos and Adam Erne) on the 150-card checklist. Erne is a Canvas Young Gun which is a nice designation for the forward. It also means his card will be a little harder to find as the Young Guns show up 1 in every 48 packs (which is about one per two boxes). Despite it being the first time he is featured in an official Upper Deck NHL set it is not considered his true rookie card since it is an insert and not part of the base set.
There will also be a Brayden Point Team Canada Program of Excellence card which will be found at 1:192 packs. Good luck with that.
A Piece of History 1,000 Point Club Autographs and Relics
Martin St. Louis is part of this 17 card set in which each card is serial numbered to only 10. He is listed as appearing in a Lightning uniform which would make sense since he accumulated 953 of his 1033 points wearing the blue, black and white of the Bolts.
Rookie UD Portraits
Brayden Point again pops up in this rookie-themed set. Falling once every six packs makes this one of the more common inserts for Upper Deck so finding one shouldn’t be too big of a problem.
Collectors can get a piece of Brayden Point’s sweater in this insert set. Getting enough to sew together an entire jersey could be problematic as the inch-wide pieces fall at a ratio of 1:128.
UD Game Jersey
Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman are the veterans that have relic cards in this series. Again the chances of pulling the card out of a pack are pretty tough. Palat is showing odds of 1:260 and Hedman at 1:426. For these cards, it is usually better to wait until they pop up on the secondary market. There are enough higher-end relic cards out there that the price of these tends to stay pretty low.
O-Pee-Chee Update Marquee Rookies
As a way to get more rookie cards in their packs and to drive set collectors crazy, Upper Deck is again including update cards from an entirely different set (O-Pee-Chee) as inserts in their base packs. Brayden Point again gets the honor of having a place in this 40 card set.
O-Pee-Chee Update Signatures
If you haven’t blown your budget yet, you will now. Brayden Point is the lone Lightning player included in this 19 card set. The odds of getting any of these cards is one in 576 packs. Because Upper Deck makes different amounts of the cards, the odds of getting Point are even tougher. He is part of Group E which has an estimated odds of appearing once in every 819 packs. Which is actually pretty good when you see that Auston Matthews is appearing once in every 171,936 packs. Which should be another reason why it’s good to NOT be a Maple Leafs fan.
*Apologies for not having any photos of Lightning players. Technical difficulties prevented acquiring a box of cards prior to publishing. Upper Deck was kind enough to let us use images of other cards. We will update as Lightning cards come into possession.