The Las Vegas Golden Knights had a very successful inaugural season, first winning 51 regular season games, then powering its way to the Stanley Cup Finals. No, the Knights didn’t win in the Finals — that would have been a little too perfect — but the team was still inspiring and made many new fans along the way. So, it is only natural that Upper Deck would capitalize on the team’s popularity and success and release a Vegas Knights boxed set. Anyone who found themselves cheering for the gray and gold should definitely give this set a look.
Player Selection (5 out of 5)
The boxed set includes 35 player cards — that’s every single player that suited up for the Golden Knights during the 2017-18 season. So, yes, the big guns like James Neal, Marc-Andre Fleury and William Karlsson are here –as is fifth-string goalie Dylan Ferguson, who played only 20 minutes of one game for the Knights. You can’t get more complete than that.
Front Design (5 out of 5)
The design of these cards is pretty clean. Unlike many other Upper Deck cards, these lack the foil on the fronts, which I usually find distracting. Most of the card is dominated by a large photo, as it should be. Also, there are no borders on three sides, nor is there a Golden Knights logo, which would be superfluous anyway, since every player in this set is on the Knights. The gray border at the bottom grounds the design, and offers a bit of needed contrast for the team name and player name. The design is simple, but it works.
Stats & Info / Back Design (4 out of 5)
The usual vitals are here (height, weight, position, birth date, birthplace)as are the past five years of the player’s NHL statistics. Normally, I want more stats, but here, I actually want less stats; I think it would have been better if the cards had only the player’s stats with the Knights. I would have also liked it if these card stated how each player was acquired, be it through the expansion draft, a trade or a free agent signing.
Subset Quality (4.5 out of 5)
I guess Upper Deck wanted this set to be 50 cards, because there are 15 “Season Highlight” cards, recounting the history and accomplishments of the Golden Knights, from the night the team announced its expansion draft selections, to the game where the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Strangely enough, there is no card about the Knights actually winning that series and earning and the Campbell Bowl as the best team in the Western Conference, though the card of Derek Engelland shows him holding the trophy.
Each boxed set includes five “Golden Parallel” cards, which have a distracting, gold-foil Knights logo flanked by stars and stripes. These were unnecessary, but I guess they give people incentive to buy multiple boxed sets to try and build a complete Gold set.
One in every 20 boxes also have an autographed card. I was lucky and got a card signed by Shea Theodore; or rather, a sticker signed by Shea Theodore that was adhered to a Shea Theodore card. Regardless, the card looks pretty sweet, and was an unexpected surprise.
The 2017-18 Las Vegas Golden Knights set is sold as a 50-card boxed set, with five Golden Parallels, for a total of 55 cards. One in every 20 boxed sets has an autographed card. The set retails for $30 online, but is currently on sale for $26.99 at Fanatics.
This set is nearly flawless. It has every player who suited up for the team last season, and a recap of the team’s high points, save one. The “Golden Parallels” are blase. Getting an autographed card was nice, but I would have still rated this set as high if I did not get one in my boxed set. Between the comprehensive player selection, elegant design, and recap of the team’s breakout first season, this set is a winner and worth making room for in your collection. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.