Ever since I started collecting hockey cards again in 2006, Upper Deck Series One and Series Two are the sets that I always look forward to. UD’s flagship hockey set, which as been around since 1990-91, has a great variety of veterans and rookies, is relatively affordable and always has excellent photography.
This year’s set is selling for about $73 USD online for a 24-pack hobby box. Each pack has eight cards. Upper Deck Series One was released in November 2017. I recently got a box, and finally got a time to post my break for your enjoyment.
165 Base Cards
The box I opened had 165 base cards. This year, Upper Deck seems to have used a lot more horizontal photos on the cards in Series One. The photography is exciting, as always, and the design looks nice without being distracting.
Card backs have enough room for a player’s complete statistics. (Obviously, Jaromir Jagr is not in this set, but it will be interesting to see if he is in Series Two, and if his card includes all of his NHL stats going back to 1990-91.)
Another nice touch is that there were no duplicates among the 165 base cards in this box.
6 Young Guns Rookie Cards
The real reason most people buy Upper Deck Series One is to get their hands on the Young Guns rookie cards. The YGs I got are Flip Chytil, Janne Kuokkanen, Lucas Wallmark, Ivan Barbashev, Alex Tuch and Alexander Nylander.
5 Centennial Standouts
New for this year are the Centennial Standouts, which tie into the NHL’s 100th anniversary and its naming of the 100 Greatest NHL Players. This is a nice insert set, as it is heavy on nostalgia and features some old school players. The five Centennial Standouts I got are Teemu Selanne, Paul Coffey, Claude Giroux, Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane.
4 UD Canvas
Upper Deck’s popular “set within a set” is back for another year. These cards have a slight canvas-y texture to them, hence the name. The four I got are Thomas Greiss, Jeff Carter, Nicklas Backstrom and Paul Stastny.
4 UD Portraits
Also back for another year are UD Portraits, which are in black and white this year. I do wish these cards used studio portraits and that the players had their helmets/goalie masks removed. In addition to Brock Boeser, I also got cards of Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Laine and Evgeni Malkin.
3 Shining Stars
Shinning Stars cards are, according to the sell sheet, “printed on lustrous foil board” and are found three per box. The three I got are Tyler Seguin, John Gibson and Max Pacioretty.
1 Shinning Stars Red Parallel
There are also parallels of these inserts because Upper Deck. This Red Shinning Star is of Jeff Carter. I think the red parallels look nicer than the standard silver versions; at the very least, they scan much better. Speaking of parallels…
1 UD Exclusive Parallel
Upper Deck really made the UD Exclusive parallels, which are serial-numbered to 100, feel like parallels. The silver foil is replaced with gold foil, and the blue stripe is replaced with a red stripe that has the text “UD Exclusives.”
1 UD Game Jersey
Finally, a game-used jersey card of Bruins center Ryan Spooner.
Wait…only one game-used jersey card? While I am not really a fan of game-used cards, it appears that Upper Deck reduced the amount of them in Upper Deck Series One, but kept the price point around the same. If these are the most expensive card to make, and there is one less of them per box than in years’ past, then the price should have dropped accordingly.
What I like about 2017-18 Upper Deck Series One Hockey: Great photos and player selection. Getting six Young Guns rookie cards. Making the UD Portraits in black and white is a nice change of pace. The UD Exclusive parallels are more noticeably different from its base counterpart than usual.
What I do not like about 2017-18 Upper Deck Series One Hockey: Shinning Stars has not really grown on me over the years, so I could do without those. Reducing the amount of Game-Used Jersey cards from two to one per box, but not reducing the price too, seems a bit unfair to collectors who pony up the extra bucks for a hobby box.
My only real complaint is that collectors are getting one less hit per box, but paying the same price as before. Otherwise, Upper Deck Series One is an awesome-looking set that is not too difficult to complete. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.