Five Hockey Rookie Card Bargains for Next Season

During the past season, several rookies like Elias Pettersson, Rasmus Dahiln, Andrei Svechnkiov and Brady Tkachuk were extremely popular with collectors based on their performance. Add them to the list of players who had breakout performances last season, but rookie cards from prior years like  Jordan Binnington, Nikita Kucherov, Dylan Larkin, and Mikko Rantanen. The better a player performs, the higher the demand for — and the cost of — his rookie card becomes. 

But collectors can still find several bargains out there, though these players’ rookie cards may not be bargains much longer. Here is a list of young NHLers that can still be considered bargains based on how they have developed with their teams and how they have been received by collectors up to this point.

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Rookie Cards of the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Inductees

Yesterday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2019. The Hall will honor six new members: Sergei Zubov, Guy Carboneau and Vaclav Nedomansky will be inducted in the players’ category. Haley Wickenheiser is the latest woman to be enshrined. NCAA coach Jerry York and longtime NHL GM Jim Rutherford join the Hall as builders. Except for York, all of these Hall of Fame inductees have had hockey cards issued during their career. Here is a look at each of their rookie cards, their pre-rookie cards (yes, there is such a thing), and the values for each one. 

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Rookie Cards of the 2019 St. Louis Blues Players and Coaches

The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in grand fashion last night, winning Game Seven 4-1 on the road against the Boston Bruins. Goaltender Jordan Binnington shut down Boston’s offense and kept the Blues in it, and Ryan O’Reilly’s four goals in four Cup games earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

For those who are looking to build a rookie card collection of the 2019 St. Louis Blues team — or just want to see what that collection looks like — here is a visual checklist of RCs for every Blues player who appeared in at least one 2019 playoff game.

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Zero-Game Goalies: Daniel Altshuller

Photo by Jamie Kellner
[Photo Credit: Jamie Kellner]

We’re starting a new, semi-regular feature on Puck Junk called “Zero-Game Goalies,” where we take a look at hockey goalies who got an NHL trading card, but never played in an NHL game. This phenomenon occurs when a goalie gets called up from the minors to be the backup goalie for an NHL team, but never sets foot on the ice during the game. Just being on the bench as a backup qualifies a goalie for inclusion in a set of NHL trading cards, so from time to time you come across a trading card of such a goalie and ask, “Who is this guy?” 

Today’s zero-game goalie is Daniel Altshuller, who was a backup for the Carolina Hurricanes. 

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The 10 Best Hockey Cards from 1988-89

Thirty years ago, the 1988-89 hockey season was winding down. Wayne Gretzky was in his first season with the Los Angeles Kings, while the Calgary Flames would go on to win their first Stanley Cup Championship. Hockey legends Marcel Dionne and Lanny McDonald retired at the end of the season, while Guy Lafleur successfully started his three-year comeback. 

It was also a simpler time for hockey card collectors. There were only two mainstream hockey sets to collect — Topps and O-Pee-Chee — and there were not yet any Eric Lindros cards for speculators to hoard. In fact, the word “hockey cards” and “investments” weren’t even uttered in the same sentence back then. 

The 1988-89 season was also when I first discovered hockey — and thus started collecting hockey cards. So, here is a look at the 10 best hockey cards from the 1988-89 season. These are not necessarily the most valuable or most-rare hockey cards from that year; rather, these are cards that have significance and should be in any serious hockey card collection. 

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Romo + Modano = Romodano

2009 Upper Deck Heroes #488: 
Hometown Heroes Tony Romo / Mike Modano

I had no idea that this card existed. It features an illustration of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Dallas Stars center Mike Modano. If the two of them combined into a giant super monster, it would be called ROMODANO, play two sports, make $30 million per year…and breathe fire! 

Finding unknown gems like this is the reason why I love rummaging through quarter boxes at card shows. Although honestly, this could have been from a dollar box — and it was a dollar well-spent. 

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Card of the Week: Extinguished Flame

1991-92 Stadium Club #391 – Stephane Matteau

Before he would score one of the most famous goals in New York Rangers history (“Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!“), Stephane Matteau was a young winger on a stacked Calgary Flames team. He played 78 games for the Flames in 1990-91, so there should have been plenty of photos of Matteau for Topps to choose from for Matteau’s 1991-92 Stadium Club hockey card. But for some reason, they picked this picture, which fails on so many levels that it’s kind of sad. 

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Everyday I’m Byfuglien

2018-19 Upper Deck #192: Dustin Byfuglien

This hockey card recently came to my attention, so of course I had to give it my spin. 

File this one under good hair days. Gold Star Medals McGee back there is absolutely besides himself at the sight of Big Buff, being all footloose and fancy-free. He must be cut from the same cloth as Brian Burke.

“Is that a ‘man bun’ that I am seeing? I do not like it one bit.”

Meanwhile, the rest of us wonder how Byfuglien fits all that hair under his helmet.  Continue reading “Everyday I’m Byfuglien”

The George H.W. Bush Hockey Card

1991-92 Upper Deck #47: White House Welcome

George Bush & Mario Lemieux

George H.W. Bush, who was the 41st President of the United States, passed away Friday night. He was 94 years old. Prior to his term as President (1989-1993), Bush was, among other things, a pilot for the navy during World War II, the head of the CIA for a year and the U.S. Vice President for eight years. During his Presidency, Bush welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House to congratulate their 1991 Stanley Cup Championship, as commemorated on this 1991-92 Upper Deck hockey card. 

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