So much hype surrounded the release of 2020-21 Upper Deck Series One Hockey. The season hadn’t started yet, but that didn’t stop hockey card collectors (as well as speculators) from wanting to buy the latest release from Upper Deck — mainly in the hopes of finding a Young Guns rookie card of first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to get a Lafreniere rookie card — or three — as I opened numerous retail packs from blasters and “mega boxes” that I purchased at my local Target.
Unsuccessful with retail packs, I decided to try my luck with hobby boxes. While the odds of getting a Young Guns card are the same (1 in every 4 packs), there are more inserts in hobby packs, better odds at getting jersey cards and the chance of finding an autographed card. The price of a hobby box is higher, but the trade off is you get more inserts and a jersey card.
A hobby box of 2020-21 Upper Deck Series One Hockey has 24 packs. Each pack has 8 cards. Here are the results of my first hobby box break of this set.
Oh, and I must apologize in advance for the sheer amount of Rangers in this box break; it seems like practically every insert card I got was of a Rangers’ player.
166 Base Cards
My box had 166 base cards. Every pack had seven base cards and one insert card, except one pack that had five base cards and a thicker insert card (more on that later). None of my 166 base cards were duplicates of each other, which is what I expect in a set that is 200 cards. This box seems to have been spared any production problems, as all cards were centered and cut properly.
6 Young Guns Rookie Cards
No, I did not get an Alexis Lafreniere Young Guns. The rookie cards I did get in this box were Kieffer Bellows, Kirill Ustimenko, Olli Juolevi, Connor McMichael, Mikhail Berdin and the Young Guns checklist, which pictures Vitali Kravtsov and Alexis Lafreniere. So, I kind of got an Alexis Lafreniere Young Guns card; just not the one I hoped for.
1 Young Guns UD Exclusives /100
My box also had a UD Exclusives Young Guns card of Vitali Kravtsov. This card replaces the silver foil on the front with gold foil and is numbered 070/100.
I really like this year’s Portraits set and plan on getting all of them. So, the fact that a hobby box has four Portraits cards is a bonus for me. The Portraits cards that I got are Elias Pettersson, John Carlson, Jake Evans and Patrice Bergeron.
3 UD Canvas
On the other hand (pun intended), I’ve never been a big fan of the Canvas cards, though the Pavel Buchnevich card above is pretty awesome. I also got Ellias Pettersson (again) and Dustin Brown.
1 Canvas Young Guns
I got a Canvas Young Guns…of a checklist. Sigh.
Predominant inserts are exclusive to hobby boxes. This box had three Predominant inserts: Jack Eichel, Leon Draisaitl and John Gibson.
1 NHL Worldwide
NHL Worldwide are also exclusive to hobby boxes. This NHL Worldwide insert is of Rangers forward Artemi Panarin.
1 Rookie Retrospective
Yikes! Yet another Ranger insert. My one Rookie Retrospective is of goaltender Igor Shesterkin. This is the third new insert set that is exclusive to hobby boxes of 2020-21 Upper Deck Series One Hockey.
1 French Back Parallels
1 Debut Dates
Debut Dates is the fourth new insert set that is exclusive to this year’s hobby boxes, and they are a great idea! These cards are of players who were rookies during the 2019-20 season, and pictures them in their NHL debut. There’s even the date noted at the bottom. The back of the card mentions Gusev’s stats in his first game (one goal and one shootout goal) and gives a brief recap of the game.
1 Dazzlers (Blue)
A Dazzlers Blue card of Connor McDavid. These cards look so much better in person. Scanning these cards does them little justice.
1 UD Game Jersey
There were a lot of Oilers insert cards in this box too, come to think of it. Thankfully, this Darnell Nurse card does not have the dreaded white jersey swatch. The pack that had this card had two less base cards, which is fine by me, since it is the same thickness of three base cards.
This year’s Upper Deck set has a nice base card design, an awesome redesign of the Portraits inserts and a great new insert set with Debut Dates. What I appreciate about this year’s Upper Deck Series One set the most is that every pack had an insert card. It’s sad to open a $4 pack of cards and get *only* base cards. Fortunately, that’s not the case this year. I’ve always been a fan of Upper Deck Series One/Two, and am excited that the additional “Extended Series” will bring the overall set to 730 cards total.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■