Sensible throwback-type set a breath of fresh air in over-designed card market
The 2006-07 Fleer Hockey set was quite underrated, considering how nice it is. It featured a clean look that was not bogged down by an overly-complicated or cluttered design.
Best of all, a set was easy to put together – one box (36 packs, 10 cards per pack), and you have a complete base set, as well as 12 rookie cards, 36 insert cards, 100 or so duplicates and a jersey card.
Player selection 2 out of 5
Since this is a typical 200-card set, you only get about six or seven players per team. So, you get all the top-tier players on each team, plus a few of the second-line types.
A good number of cards show players with their new teams – by using either press conference photos or team issued publicity photos. Zdeno Chara is seen at a press conference, holding up his new Bruins jersey. We also get press-conference photos of Michael Peca, Roberto Luongo,, Rob Blake as well as a few others.
Meanwhile, the cards of Eric Lindros and Martin Havlat use team-issued publicity photographs.
These atypical cards provide a nice change of pace in the set, which is comprised of mainly game-action photos.
Card design 5 out of 5
This is where the set really excels. I like this set because – even though it says Fleer on the front – this really could be a modern-day Topps or O-Pee-Chee set.
It’s as if the creators of this set captured some of the design sensibilities of trading card sets from the early 1990s. This set is not overly fancy – there are no holograms, crazy borders or a half-inch of gloss coating.
Instead you get a simple, well laid-out, design that does not feel busy or overdone. The bottom area of the cards neatly fits in the player name, number, position, team name and team logo — all in a compact space.
I also like the way that the photos are full bleed on the sides – that is, the photos go all the way to the edge. This “opens up” the design a bit, and keeps things from feeling too “boxed in”.
Not that all modern cards are poorly designed. But this set’s design is so simple – and yet so effective – that it makes most modern cards seem so…overdone. This set just feels right—especially for those of us who grew up collecting in the late 80s and early 90s.
Stats & info 2 out of 5
The backs of the cards are nothing special, however. We are given five years of stats, as well as a short blurb about each player.
But I hardly ever read those little biographical blurbs because they are never really all that interesting. Take for instance the paragraph on the back of Rick DiPiertro’s card:
Not only did DiPietro excite the Islanders faithful by helping preserve a 3-2 victory against the Rangers on 10/19/05, he made franchise history in the process by stopping all three attempts in the shootout to become the squad’s first victorious goaltender under the new format.
That’s quite verbose. Perhaps it could have been condensed down to..
Rick DiPietro became the first goaltender in Islanders history to win a shootout on 10/19/05.
See? My way is better. Shorter. To the point. Their way just fills up more space.
You know what else could fill up space? Statistics. Granted, DiPietro hasn’t played that many years, so his card has “space to fill”. But other players, like Mike Modano, have been playing for over a decade. And yet we get his numbers for only the past five years.
What can I say – I love stats. Trading cards used to be called “photo and stat cards”. Nowadays, they should be called “photo and stat and bullshit cards” because a third of the card is always some mundane factiod that has been stretched out to fifty words.
Thirty short printed Fleer Rookie cards make up the only subset. Each rookie card is clearly marked ROOKIE at the bottom, for what it’s worth. The backs share a similar design as the backs of the base cards.
Unfortunately, these cards suffer from every other early-in-the-year release. You only get rookie cards from guys who squeaked in at the end of the 2005-06 season – and most of them are nothing to get excited about. Both Matt Carle and Shea Weber are in this rookie subset, but of course most collectors will go after their higher-end RCs anyway.
This is a fine set if you are fond of hockey cards with a sensible design. A box of these cards will get you the entire base set, but won’t cost you too much.
BONUS: Top 5 cards
46 – Martin Havlat – interesting rinkside portrait of Blackhawks sniper. (back)
62 – Mike Modano – Veteran Stars center and future Hall of Famer makes a play. (back)
109 – Paul Kariya – Nashville speedster cuts hard while skating with the puck. (back)
154 – Sidney Crosby – Duh! It’s Crosby! This second-year card of the NHL’s best player won’t cost you an arm and a leg. (back)
187 – Roberto Luongo – He looks really happy to be out of Florida, don’t you think? (back)
230 Card Set
– 200 card base set
– 30 short-printed rookie cards
– 25 Hockey Headliners
– 25 Netminders
– 25 Speed Machines
– 25 Total O
Card size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist
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