Kent Simpson got lost in the shuffle. He played 20 minutes of one game for the Chicago Blackhawks on December 14, 2013 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Had he done this a season or two prior, he would have had tons of rookie cards. But his 20 minutes of fame was halfway through the so-called “Double Rookie Class” year, where card companies could include any rookie from 2012-13 or 2013-14 in their sets for 2013-14. Thus, Simpson had a few high-end RCs in two year-end Panini products, while Upper Deck ignored him entirely. So I decided to fix that and create a few custom Kent Simpson rookie cards.
First up is an Upper Deck Young Guns rookie card custom (right) of Simpson. During the 2013-14 season, he and Antti Raanta and made their NHL debuts.after Blackhawks goalies Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin went down with injuries. But Raanta got most of the work during that span, stuck around when Crawford came back, and got a Young Guns card in Upper Deck Series Two. But no love for Simpson.
Raanta — I wish he played with the Maple Leafs, so I could hear Don Cherry rant “I want Raanta atta Tarranta” — also had a card in the 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee Update set. By then, Simpson was back in the minors. Here is a custom of what an O-Pee-Chee card of Simpson (right) could have looked like.
The funny thing is, had Simpson played 20 minutes — or even just been on the bench for one game — in 2011-12, he would have had a card in every 2012-13 set, as Panini and Upper Deck were grasping for any rookie they could include in their sets during the lockout-shortened season.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed in the 2013-14 Double Rookie Class. Neither company made a comprehensive set that included every single rookie from 2012-13 and 2013-14. Score came close, with 125 rookie cards in their 2013-14 set, but obviously cut out the bit players like Simpson. I was hoping for a set like 2005-06 Ice, which had over 150 RCs, or 2005-06 Rookie Update, which had over 170 rookie cards.
Considering that Simpson was traded to the New York Islanders and since sent down to the ECHL, it is unlikely that he will appear in the NHL — let alone on another NHL trading card — anytime soon. ■