Upper Deck Hockey is the one set I’ve looked forward to each year for the past 25 years. It’s a great mix of high-quality production values, a decent-sized base set (when counting Series 1 and 2), plus all the rookies that matter. So, of course when this year’s set came out, you know I had to buy a box or three. There’s nothing more relaxing than watching a hockey game while opening up some cards. And that’s just what I did.
165 Base Cards
Upper Deck is one of those sets where every base card feels like a “hit.” I’m serious. The photos are great. Even the run-of-the-mill pictures are at least interesting. Heck, you can even see the gray in Jaromir Jagr’s stubble on the card above. They even squeezed all 20 years of his stats on the back, too.
One difference with this year’s set is that the cards seem a little less glossy than Upper Deck’s previous years. It could be my imagination, but it’s not a big deal either way.
6 Young Guns Rookie Cards
Like many collectors, I too try to build the Young Guns rookie card set. The six that I got were Stuart Percy, Curtis Lazar, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Corban Knight, Nicholas Deslauriers and the Young Guns checklist. (FYI, I’m not a fan of checklist cards, seeing as how the information is readily available online.)
2 Shining Stars insert cards
1 Shining Stars Legends insert cards
1 Shining Stars Royal Blue insert card
2 Hockey Heroes 2000s
It’s only 2014. Isn’t it a bit too early to feel nostalgic about the 2000s? Maybe Upper Deck could have instead done a Hockey Heroes 1920s set, with guys like Howe Morenz and Eddie Shore. Anyway, the two cards pulled were Alex Ovechkin and Vincent Lecavalier.
4 UD Canvas insert cards
2 Game Jersey Cards
I got Dustin Brown of the Kings and Sean Couturier of the Flyers. Notice that the Couturier card has a defect: the top edge, near the middle, is frayed. I will send it back to Upper Deck for a replacement. Upper Deck has never disappointed me whenever I’ve returned a defective card.
What I like about 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 1: The base cards look great. The 200-card base set is relatively easy to finish off — usually two boxes does the trick. You get six Young Guns per box. Enough people tend to collect the other inserts, so you can easily sell or trade off what you don’t want.
What I don’t like about 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 1: The insert cards are not all that inspired. Shining Stars? Canvas? Hockey Heroes? Come on, Upper Deck — think of some new stuff. It’s hard to get excited about Canvas year after year.
The inserts are redundant, and the jersey cards found in UD Series 1 are never really worth much, but those aren’t the reasons I buy this set. The base cards are always fun to look at, and the Young Guns set is challenging to build — but not impossible. Even better, if you decide that you can live without the Young Guns cards, then you can usually get the 200-card base set for around $15 on Ebay.