Initially, I thought that 2013-14 Prizm would be another clunker from Panini. The cards are printed on shiny foil stock, look like pretty much every other Panini set out there and originally cost $100 for a 20-pack box (each pack contains six cards). But I found a box at a recent show for $50, so I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised.
Prizm cards are printed on a silver, mirror-like card stock. Whereas Upper Deck’s Black Diamond are shiny but dark, Prizm cards have bright, vibrant colors that jump out at you. The cards are also printed on heavy stock. After opening a box, I totally understand why baseball card collectors go nuts over sets like Bowman Chrome: they just look so cool. Of course, I was a sucker for “chromium covers” back in my comic book collecting days in the 1990s, so enjoying “chromium” hockey cards isn’t much of a stretch for me.
Anyway, onto the break.
90 Base CardsMy box had 90 base cards. There were no doubles. Overall, there are 200 base cards in this set. Unfortunately, the scan above does the card no justice; the background behind Shea Weber is colorful, and the borders are a shiny silver.
Every single pack — all 20 of them — had a rookie card. That’s great! I understand that short-printed rookie cards are here to stay, but I never understood why they had to be 1-in-4 like Upper Deck Young Guns or even 1-in-2 in Score. Getting an RC in every pack makes completing the 100-card rookie subset an attainable goal for set-builders who’d rather rip wax to try and complete (or nearly-complete) this set.
1 Autographed “Veteran” card
The dreaded sticker-graph. Of course, I understand why it was done here; shiny cards don’t take ink too well, so Panini used a sticker that says “Prizm” in holographic lettering. But I will admit, I am less than enthused to pull this card of Tomas Vokoun.
1 Autographed “rookie” card
I should also mention that these cards, like the base and rookie cards, also have shiny borders. But again, I pulled kind of a dud autograph. Cory Conacher has been traded twice in his two-year career, splitting his rookie season with the Lightning and the Senators, and his sophomore season with the Sens and the Sabres.
2 Shiny “Prizm” Parallels
OK, this will take a little explaining. The set is called “Prizm,” and these parallels are called “Prizm Parallels.” That makes no sense, but as you can tell from the scan above these parallels have a shiny, holographic – dare I say prismatic? – look to them.
I was hoping to also get some of the other parallels, including green, red and blue; but those are only found in retail packs. There are also black (numbered to 1), gold (numbered to 10) and die-cut orange (numbered to 50) parallels, too, but I did not get any.
I think it would be hella fun to build a set with mismatched borders, akin to the 1973-74 Topps Hockey set that had blue, yellow, red and green borders.
1 Initial Impressions
I guess this insert set focuses on promising rookies who made a good impression during their initial year? I think most of us would rather have another rookie card than a non-rookie card insert of a rookie issued during their rookie season.
1 Net Defenders
1 Pivotal Players
1 Pivotal Players Gold Parallel
What I like about 2013-14 Panini Prizm Hockey: Base cards are colorful and fun, and remind me of mid-1990s card sets in a good way. Rookie cards are seeded one per pack, which make completing a master set (1-300) an attainable goal. The red, green and blue parallels (which I did not show here because this box did not have any) are a good incentive to purchase retail packs in lieu of hobby packs. Getting two autographs per hobby box is always preferable over getting two jersey cards per box.
What I dislike about 2013-14 Panini Prizm Hockey: The insert sets are unimaginative and repetitive of almost everything else Panini has done since 2010. While 200 base cards is a decent size for a premium type of set, it still lacks the comprehensiveness of Score, Upper Deck or O-Pee-Chee.
You are probably thinking, Sal you’ve given out a lot of “4s” lately when it comes to box breaks. And while that is true of late, I feel that 2013-14 Panini Prizm deserves a “4.” No, it isn’t for everyone. But a $60 box that yields 20 rookie cards and two autographs offers more value than most other sets this year. (Of course, if the price was still $100 per box my rating would have been lower.) This set isn’t for anyone who hates the shiny stuff. Sometimes, I hate the shiny stuff too, but Panini did it right with Prizm.