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A Lightning-based look at 2020-21 Upper Deck SP Game Used Edition

While we wait for the playoffs to start let’s rip open a pack of hockey cards

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Tim Hortons hockey cards are back, the cards are created by Upper Deck Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

If you haven’t noticed, sports trading cards are kind of a big thing right now. Card sales are setting new records seemingly every day, people are waving guns at each other in parking lots, and, quite frankly, there isn’t a lot of product to be found out there. While hockey cards have lagged behind the other big three sports (especially basketball) they haven’t been immune to market pressures.

Prices are up all around, and that’s if you can find any. When I stopped in the local card store to pick up the box we’re going to talk about in this post I noticed that the shop had regular boxes of Upper Deck Series 2 for sale for about $145. That’s roughly $35-40 more expensive than in a normal year. The flip side of this, is that it’s a seller’s market so if you have cards you’re getting pretty good prices for them. A Gretzky rookie cleared $1.29 million in December, a record high for the O-Pee-Chee. If you’ve been holding onto any big name rookie cards, now might be a good time to unload them.

With that in mind I went a little higher end then I normally do and picked up a box of 2020-21 Upper Deck SP Game Used Edition. Prices run from about $180-$215 for a box. Box is kind of a figure of speech since there is only one pack inside of the cardboard box. Inside that pack is just six cards. It’s kind of a hit or miss product. You can either make a lot of money or you’re left with some nice looking, but inexpensive cards (go ahead and guess right now which side of the ledger my box ended up).

Alexis LaFreniere is the big name everyone is chasing, but Ty Smith, Dylan Cozens, Jason Robertson, and Tim Stutzle also make it into the set. The Lightning rookies are represented by Cal Foote. As for the veterans, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, and Brayden Point make it into the 100-card base set. Five out of one-hundred? I guess winning a Stanley Cup gets you a little extra representation.

The base cards are nicely designed and they are serial numbered to the players jersey. You usually get two in a pack. Upper Deck also considers the parallel versions, of which there are four, are also considered part of the base card quota. For instance, in my pack I got these two cards, both of which are considered the Golden Burst parallel.

Igor Shesterkin Upper Deck card
JustinG. personal collection

Base cards are perfectly fine, especially when they are serial numbered. However, folks don’t rip this product for base cards or rookie cards. SP Game Used is all about the relics and the autographs. Sometimes even the autographed relic. Upper Deck usually focuses on special events that happen throughout the season so there are themed insert sets around the All Star Game, Winter Classic, Heritage Classic, and NHL Draft.

I was really, really hoping their would be some cards featuring the Global Series in Sweden or the Stanley Cup Final. Sadly, they were not featured. The aforementioned Lightning players are all over the the relic sets, especially the All Star related ones.

Seth Brown, Jacob Slavin
JustinG. personal collection

Cal Foote pops up in the Blue Autograph parallel set

Nils Hoglander hockey card
JustinG. personal collection

He doesn’t have a Rookie Blend Relic, although it would have been nice:

Tyler Benson hockey card
JustinG. personal collection

Another reason the Lightning should be in an outdoor game is so that I can chase their cards that look like this:

JustinG. personal collection

Outside of relic and autograph cards for Vasy, Heddy, Kuch, and Stammer (oddly nothing for Point in the auto or relic field) there is one more insert set that features 20 different Lightning players. It’s called Tonight’s line-up and features a majority of the players that were in the line-up on a certain day. For the Lightning it was the game on 3/9/2019 (a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings). Upper Deck took the line-up card from that day and cut out the names and built the card around it. Pretty neat concept.

Here’s an example currently for sale on eBay.

So there is it. A six-card box break that featured absolutely no Lightning cards. The Bolts are really well represented in this set overall, but if you’re looking for them, it’s best just to search on the secondary market. If you like chasing a big hit, it’s a really fun product. You know you’re getting four cards that are going to be autographed or some sort of relic.

TL;DR? Here’s a video of the break.