The 2020-21 Ultimate Collection hockey set was released towards the end of the 2021-22 season; about a year after it should have come out. But better late than never, as they say. Even though many hockey card collectors had already turned their attention to the new crop of rookies found in the ’21-22 sets, like Trevor Zegras and Moritz Seider, Upper Deck wasn’t done enticing us with last year’s rookies — players like Kirill Kaprizov, Jason Robertson, Tim Stutzle, and Alexis Lafreniere.
A box of 2020-21 Ultimate Collection Hockey cots around $240 per box and contains four cards. I recently got a box of Ultimate Collection. Let’s see what $240 gets you.
1 Autographed Rookie Card
Perhaps the main — if not only — reason why someone would buy Ultimate Collection would be to get an autographed rookie card. A box of Ultimate Collection promises “One Autographed Rookie Card Per Box,” and luckily, I pulled a signed RC of a player I actually heard of. This Jason Robertson card is signed in blue Sharpie on-card and is numbered 043/299. This card might be the next-best thing to an SP Authentic Future Watch Autograph.
1 Game-Used Rookie Card
You also are guaranteed one memorabilia card per box. I got a Tim Stutzle memorabilia card, which uses a jersey piece “worn by the player.” Whether that was in a game, a rookie photo shoot, or while lounging around the house isn’t stated. Still, I’m two-for-two for RCs of good, young star players, so I’ll take it. This Stutzle card is serial-numbered 403/499.
2 Ultimate Introductions Inserts
Oh…Vitali Kravtsov. Timing is everything with this young Russian player. Had I gotten this card during the 2020-21 season, I would be excited because of Kravtsov’s potential. But had I gotten this card during the 2021-22 season, I would be disappointed, as Kravtsov was demoted to the AHL, requested a trade, and ended up playing in Russia. However, Kravtsov has since signed a one-year extension with the Rangers. If he succeeds, this is a great card to have. If he fizzles, everyone will be saying — again! — “Vitali Who”…? Apparently, this “Ultimate Introductions” card is part of an insert set, and not part of the base set.
And then I got ANOTHER Ultimate Introductions insert card — and of another Russian player who, coincidentally, DID NOT PLAY in the NHL in 2021-22. Nikolai Knyzhov played three games in 2019-20 and 56 games in 2020-21 for the San Jose Sharks, but was injured and did not play in 2021-22. He did re-sign with the Sharks and will hopefully return for the 2022-23 season.
1 NHL Legacy Game-Used Card
A box of Ultimate Collection is supposed to contain four cards — but my box contained five cards. I’m not sure if this was an accident, or if Upper Deck upped the card count to make up for this set being a year late. Either way, it was a nice surprise. This NHL Legacy memorabilia card features Ryan Suter of the
Minnesota Wild Dallas Stars. (LOL! A lot can change in a year.) The idea of these Legacy cards is to highlight players who have ancestors who also played in the Show. Ryan’s uncle Gary Suter played in the NHL, while his father Bob Suter was a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” United States hockey team.
2020-21 Ultimate Collection Hockey has a clean design similar to SP Authentic, the base cards — I didn’t pull any — are numbered out of 149, and you get one autographed rookie card per box. That’s all fine and good, but the price is steep; we’re talking $60 a card if your box has four cards, or $48 per card if your box has five cards like mine. That makes this set a bit of a risk, even more so since some of the rookies you can get have (probably) already fizzed out, while others may never be more than serviceable NHL players. Though I did luck out on getting RCs of two of the NHL’s best young stars, your results may vary. Regardless, it is a premium-quality set, with low-numbered base cards, at least one autographed rookie card per box, and at least one game-used memorabilia card per box. If that’s your jam, then Ultimate Collection is worth checking out.
Are you collecting 2020-21 Ultimate Collection Hockey? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■