I have been a fan and collector of minor league hockey cards ever since I bought a ProCards Saginaw Hawks team set in 1989. I enjoy cards of future NHL players, as well as “borderline” players who are sometimes called up to the parent club but never got their own hockey card.
Needless to say, minor league hockey cards have evolved a lot over the past 30+ years. They no longer use dark photos and have plain, black-and-white card backs. Upper Deck’s 2020-21 American Hockey League card set is every bit as good in quality as its other hockey card sets, with crisp, color photography, glossy coating, and silver foil. At first glance, you might mistake these for Upper Deck Series One, save for the fact that they picture AHL players instead of NHL players.
Last week, I opened a box of 2020-21 AHL cards; you can read about that here, as that break gives more details about the set. Let’s see if this box is better, worse, or about the same as my first break.
105 Base Cards
Just like my first box, this box had 105 base cards. None were duplicates of each other, which should be expected since there are 150 base cards in this set. And while there were doubles to be expected between both boxes, I was able to put together the complete 150-card base set between my two boxes, which is great! Your results may vary, but I didn’t have any collation issues.
Like before, my only complaint about the overall design is the lack of statistics, especially since there is a lot of room for additional stats, and Upper Deck usually lists out up to five years of stats on its hockey cards.
6 Star Rookies
Star Rookies are the Young Guns of the AHL set. The six Star Rookies I pulled from this box are Connor McMichael, Cole Perfetti, Riley Damiani, Seth Jarvis, Oskari Laaksonen, and Ryan Suzuki.
1 AHL All-Stars
In my first box, I got two of these AHL All-Star cards. In this box, I only got one. But these appear once in every eight packs, so getting three of these in two boxes (24 packs) is the right “average.” The AHL All-Star I found in this box was Brennan Menell of the Iowa Wild.
5 AHL Standouts
However, I did pull five AHL Standouts, instead of four like my previous box. The five AHL Standouts I got are Jack Quinn, Cooper Marody, Zac Dalpe, Seth Jarvis, and Vitaly Abbamov.
1 Numbered Base Parallel Exclusives
Red base parallel cards are numbered out of 100 and use red ink and red foil instead of silver ink and silver foil. There are also Gold base parallels that are numbered out of 25. I didn’t get a gold parallel in this box, either. This Jean-Sebastien Dea card is numbered 024/100.
1 Star Rookie Exclusives
Huzzah! A numbered parallel of a Star Rookie — in this case, Egor Zamula of the Leigh Valley Phantoms, numbered 026/100. Zamula is a 6-foot-3 defenseman who played two games for the Philadelphia Flyers last year and one game for Philly so far this season.
To me, the autographed card is this set’s biggest draw. Troy Grosenick — pictured here with the Ontario Reign — is maybe not the most exciting autograph to get, but an autograph is an autograph. Grosenick is currently playing for the Providence Bruins, and at 32 is unlikely to become an NHL netminder. (He’s played in four NHL games since the 2014-15 season.) Then again, Tim Thomas didn’t become an NHLer until his 30s. Regardless, I’d rather have an autograph than a jersey swatch.
My opinion is unchanged from my first break; I give 2020-21 Upper Deck four out of five pucks. You get six Star Rookies, an autograph, and a few parallels. I still think there are too many short prints in this set; there are 150 base cards and 100 short prints for a total of 250, which is even more short prints than Upper Deck Series One. Still, if you like minor league hockey cards, the 2020-21 Upper Deck AHL set is worth getting.
Are you collecting the 2020-21 Upper Deck AHL hockey card set? Leave a comment and let me know, or hit me up on Twitter.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■