Upper Deck issued its 2022-23 American Hockey League trading card set in June of 2023. The set has 150 cards of AHL players – some prospects who will go onto long careers in the NHL, and others who played a handful of NHL games but went on to long careers in “The A.”
Fortunately for minor league hockey card enthusiasts, this set isn’t too hard to put together. There are 100 base cards and 50 short-printed Star Rookies – and you get one Star Rookie in each pack!
A box of 2022-23 Upper Deck AHL costs around $50 and has 12 packs. Each pack has 10 cards. Here’s a look at what’s inside a box of 2022-23 Upper Deck AHL.
93 Base Cards
Cards 1-100 are the base set, which consists of players who have at least one year of experience in the AHL. I got 93 base cards in my box, and none of them were doubles of each other. That’s pretty darn close to completing the base set.
Card backs use a black-and-white version of the front photo and stuff all of the biographical information (height, weight, etc.) in a black, hockey-stick-shaped area next to the player’s name.
Cards 1 to 100 feature both up-and-coming players – many who have already made their mark in the NHL – as well as “lifers” who have played in the AHL nearly entire careers.
The downside to the card backs is that they only have three years of stats, even though there is room for more. Perhaps Upper Deck was planning on having a short paragraph about each player, but scrapped that idea, hence the blank area? Regardless, more stats for longtime AHLers, like Cole Schneider, would have been nice.
12 Star Rookies
The next 50 cards (101-150) are of the Star Rookies inserts, which picture players who are new in the AHL. You get one Star Rookies card per pack for a total of 12 per box. During the 2020-21 season, you only got six Star Rookies in a box (one in every two packs). Upper Deck increased that to one per pack starting in 2021-22, and I think that was a great idea to make the set a little easier to build.
Backs of the Star Rookies cards have up to three years of stats in the league the player played in prior to joining the AHL, plus their career totals in that league. The Star Rookies subset has a lot of prospects who were drafted in the first round of recent NHL drafts, including Simon Nemec (1st round, 2nd overall in 2023), Chaz Lucius (1st round, 18th overall in 2018), Xavier Bourgault (1st round, 22nd overall in 2021), William Eklund (1st round, 7th overall in 2021), and Jiri Kulich (1st round, 28th overall in 2022).
6 Tendys Inserts
Hockey card collectors love goalie cards, so an insert set like Tendys makes sense. There were six Tendys inserts in my box.
3 Stars of Tomorrow
Stars of Tomorrow features prospects who are in “The A” now but will probably move up to the NHL soon.
3 AHL All-Stars
AHL All-Stars are, as the name suggests, cards of the top players in the AHL, regardless of whether they are a future NHL player or an AHL “lifer.”
1 Red Base Parallel /100
Each box of 2022-23 Upper Deck AHL hockey cards has a base set parallel. My box had a red parallel of Zane McIntyre (Iowa Wild), serial-numbered 090/100.
1 Red Insert Parallel
In addition to the base set parallel, boxes also contain one additional parallel. My box had a red parallel of a Dylan Garland (Hartford Wolf Pack) Stars of Tomorrow insert. The parallels of the inserts are not serial-numbered, which I find a bit odd. Why not serial-number all of the parallel cards?
1 Autographed Card
Finally, each box of 2022-23 AHL promises an autograph. I got a signed card of Noel Gunler, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect who was drafted in the second round (41st overall) in 2020. He spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Wolves, a team that I follow and collect, so I’m happy that this was my autograph “hit.” As is the usually the case, the autograph is on a clear sticker that was later applied to the card – a.k.a. a “sticker auto.”
Upper Deck repeated its winning formula that they used last year with this year’s AHL set: 100 base cards, 50 short prints, with one short print per pack. That makes the 2022-23 Upper Deck AHL hockey card set not too hard to build. A base set can most likely be accomplished with two boxes, while the 50-card Star Rookie set could be built with five boxes. You get one autograph per box and some great inserts like Tendys and AHL All-Stars. The 2022-23 AHL set is a good mix of future NHLers and lifelong AHLers who are fan favorites. If you collect minor league hockey cards, the 2022-23 Upper Deck AHL set is a must-have. If you like collecting “pre-rookie” cards of future NHL prospects, this set is worth it.