Another hockey season, another Upper Deck Hockey set. This season’s Upper Deck Series One Hockey set came out in mid-November, and is loaded with quality rookie cards. Whereas the 2012-13 Young Guns class had to scrape the bottom of the rookie barrel, the 2013-14 set features the “Double Rookie Class,” meaning that Upper Deck can pick and choose the best new players from 2012-13 and 2013-14.
I recently bought a box of 2013-14 Upper Deck Series One. Here’s what I got:
165 Base Cards
6 Young Guns
Ah, yes! The reason everyone, including myself, buys these cards year after year. Sure, we love the base cards — but most of us hope to get some quality Young Guns too. The RCs I pulled from this box were Lucas Lessio, Mathew Dumba, Danny DeKeyser, Sean Monohan, Sami Vatanen and 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau. Overall, a darn good group of rookie cards in this box.
1 UD Exclusives Parallel
4 UD Canvas Inserts
I like these cards, but at four per box they make for a tough set to put together. So, I usually trade these away. The four I got here were Alexander Steen, Ryan Suter, Paul Stastny and Evander Kane. Hooray for the Western Conference!
2 Hockey Heroes
The popular “Hockey Heroes” insert set returns this year, focusing on the best players of the 1980s. The two cards I got were Mike Bossy and Mark Messier. Can’t wait until next year, when they focus on the 1990s.
2 Shining Stars
Speaking of the 1990s, these “Shining Stars” inserts are straight out of the 1990s. The cards are chromium-etched, like many an insert from back then. And you know what? I like these. The Shining Star inserts look way more interesting than past insert sets like Top Guns, All-World Team or Draft Day Gems. But the Shining Stars cards actually look and feel like inserts that you’d be excited to get. The two I got were Alex Galchenyuk and Jordan Eberle.
4 MVP Inserts
1 MVP Rookie insert
1 MVP Limited Rainbow Electric Gold Platinum Sliver Bronze Super-Duper Parallel
2 UD Game Jersey cards
As usual, Upper Deck Series One included two game used jersey cards. Here I got a red-swatch card of Jose Theodore and a white swatch card of Carey Price. I’m glad that the Theodore card doesn’t have a green swatch from his days with the Minnesota Wild.
What I like about 2013-14 Upper Deck Series One Hockey: Slick design and excellent photography. Card backs have complete statistics and are very legible. There is a good variety of inserts (Shining Stars, Hockey Heroes, MVP, Canvas) which breaks things up a bit and makes them more interesting. And let’s not forget the Young Guns.
What I dislike about 2013-14 Upper Deck Series One Hockey: MVP inserts are lame. I kind of got the whole “set-in-a-set” thing when the lockout cancelled some sets, but now MVP just seems tired. And I’m not a fan of jersey cards, but at least Upper Deck stopped doing Franken-cards, where the swatch is from a different team than the photo. These are minor complaints, though. The pros definitely outweigh the cons here.
The base cards look great and putting together a set of Young Guns is less daunting than a set of, say, Black Diamond Quadruple Diamond RCs. The inserts are varied enough and the jersey cards use appropriately-colored swatches. Most likely, you will not get any mega-hits in a box, but these cards aren’t for the hit-seekers; they are for collectors who love hockey cards. Upper Deck Series One is a fun break this year.