If I was a professional hockey player, I could not imagine having a better rookie card than the 2013-14 Panini Prizm card (#223) of Ryan Stanton. Sure, some of Stanton’s RCs have his autograph, while others picture him with his current team, the Vancouver Canucks. But this one takes the cake…er, takes the Cup. It shows the freshmen blueliner hoisting the Stanley Cup after the Blackhawks’ Game 6 win over the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Finals.
Stanton spent practically the entire 2012-13 season with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. He made his NHL debut on April 27, 2013 when Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville rested most of the team’s best players for the playoffs and gave several prospects a shot. During the playoffs, Stanton was one of the ‘Hawks “Black Aces” — a minor-league call up that most likely wouldn’t play in the postseason, but was on hand just in case. Stanton did not appear in the playoffs, but suited up when the team was awarded hockey’s ultimate prize.
While Stanton did not qualify to get his named engraved on the Stanley Cup, he did get his day with the cup. He also got a Stanley Cup ring — and the best rookie card ever made.