Fleer is quickly becoming that go-to set that Upper Deck puts out when they want to infuse some 1990s nostalgia into the hockey card market. In the past, they released a set called Fleer Retro, which played heavily on 1990s base card and insert designs. The 2015-16 Fleer Showcase set is sort of their retro set of this year, with designs from two decades ago. A box costs around $110 online, and has 12 five-card packs. Here are the results of my recent break of Showcase.
51 Base Cards
Normally, I’m pretty indifferent to most designs by Upper Deck for their higher-end sets like SPX, SP Authentic, Black Diamond, etc. This season’s Fleer Showcase base set is a cut above, though, with an eye-catching design. The player photo is cut out and superimposed in front of a gold-and-white background. Gold foil behind the player makes a sort of a curvy X shape, which draws your eye to the player. (As a side note, this actually would have made a good design for an SPX set, with the X shape in the background.) The player name — also in gold foil — along with the Fleer Showcase logo, position and team are put at the bottom and out of the way.
Card backs show some biographical data (height, weight, etc.) as well as the past five seasons of statistics. For retired players, a five-year span from a epoch in the player’s career is used.
1 Flair Showcase Auto Patch Rookie Card
Well, if you were going to wish for an autographed card with a piece of a jersey patch, I guess you can’t do better than Connor McDavid. This card is super-thick, printed on shiny foil stock and serial-numbered out of 35 copies. Does it earn the coveted “rookie card” status? I don’t know. It is part of the “Flair Showcase” insert set, so probably not. The patch piece is “event-used” from a rookie photo shoot.
1 Fleer Showcase Hot Prospects Rookie Auto Patch
This rookie card of Derek Forbort is numbered out of 499 copies. Like the McDavid card, it is signed on a clear sticker that was applied to the card. The patch piece is also event-used from a photo shoot.
1 Flair Showcase Game-Used Jersey Card
On the other hand, the jersey piece used on this Claude Giroux jersey card is indeed game-used. Fortunately, it is orange too.
2 Flair Showcase Inserts
2015-16 Fleer Showcase has a lot of different “retro-inspired” inserts. These two Flair Showcase cards, of Jonathan Toews and Wayne Gretzky, look like 1990s basketball cards. Yup, basketball. Flair Showcase basketball came out during the 1996-97 season. And now you know.
2 Flair Showcase “Blue Ice” Parallels
Serial-numbered to 99 copies are these Flair Showcase “Blue Ice” parallels. I’m pretty sure that the 1996-97 Fleer Showcase Basketball set did *not* have “Blue Ice” parallels. I’d even bet money on it. Anyway, the two that I got here are Jeremy Roenick and Henrik Lundqvist.
1 Flair Showcase Rookies
The sole Flair Showcase Rookies card that I got was of Dallas Stars center Mattias Janmark. It is not serial-numbered, but it sure is shiny!
1 Fleer Ultra Rookies
This Fleer Ultra Rookies Max Domi card is limited to 699 copies.
3 Fleer Metal Universe Rookies
Printed on shiny stock are these Fleer Metal Universe rookie cards of Nicolas Petan, Nikolaj Ehlers and Nikolay Goldobin. I scored a Nick Trick!
What I like about 2015-16 Fleer Showcase: Seven rookie cards — or at least seven cards of rookie players — per box is pretty great, considering that some higher-end sets only put one or two RCs per box. The variety makes for a fun box break, and there is definitely a nostalgia factor with the throwbacks like Metal Universe and Fleer Ultra. The base card design is appealing, too.
What I do not like about 2015-16 Fleer Showcase: I grew up collecting Fleer Ultra in the 1990s, so I think I wanted this to be a little more like 2012-13 Fleer Retro, with the throwback designs. The Flair Showcase cards feel retro-y, but not the Ultra or Universe inserts. Speaking of which, the Fleer Metal Universe cards are kind of boring, with their lack of planets or cosmic nebulas in the background. (Hey, if you’re going to do Metal Universe, do it right.)
Sure, I did get a Connor McDavid autograph in this box, so it would be easy for me to give this five pucks based on that alone. But assuming that I got a lesser rookie instead, I still like what this box yielded: two autographs with patch cards, one game-used card and seven rookie (or at least rookie-ish) cards. For around $100 – $110, you have the potential to get some nice pulls here. ■