Some NHL head coaches had long careers in the NHL, instantly giving them credibility to the players that they mentor. Other NHL head coaches got nowhere near an NHL rink during their playing days, but worked hard and finally ended up in “The Show” behind the bench.
Regardless of their path, it is always fun to see what an NHL head coach looked like during their playing days. So, for a third year in a row, I’ve dug up a rookie card for each and every NHL head coach. For you non-collectors out there, a “rookie card” is usually understood to mean a player’s first card in a mainstream set, like Topps, O-Pee-Chee or Upper Deck, among others.
However, because many NHL head coaches never actually played in the NHL — or if they did, it was only for just a few games — they never got an official rookie card. In their cases, I decided to share those coaches’ earliest-known trading card — even if it was from a minor league or junior league team.
Last year on this date, Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita passed away. This is the prayer card that was given out at his funeral a week later. The front has a black and white photo of Mr. Mikita, most likely taken at one of the Blackhawks Conventions.
But instead of a prayer on the back, the card has a quote by Mr. Mikita that reads “Keep your feet grounded and always remember where you came from.”
During the past season, several rookies like Elias Pettersson, Rasmus Dahiln, Andrei Svechnkiov and Brady Tkachuk were extremely popular with collectors based on their performance. Add them to the list of players who had breakout performances last season, but rookie cards from prior years like Jordan Binnington, Nikita Kucherov, Dylan Larkin, and Mikko Rantanen. The better a player performs, the higher the demand for — and the cost of — his rookie card becomes.
But collectors can still find several bargains out there, though these players’ rookie cards may not be bargains much longer. Here is a list of young NHLers that can still be considered bargains based on how they have developed with their teams and how they have been received by collectors up to this point.
Yesterday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2019. The Hall will honor six new members: Sergei Zubov, Guy Carboneau and Vaclav Nedomansky will be inducted in the players’ category. Haley Wickenheiser is the latest woman to be enshrined. NCAA coach Jerry York and longtime NHL GM Jim Rutherford join the Hall as builders. Except for York, all of these Hall of Fame inductees have had hockey cards issued during their career. Here is a look at each of their rookie cards, their pre-rookie cards (yes, there is such a thing), and the values for each one.
The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in grand fashion last night, winning Game Seven 4-1 on the road against the Boston Bruins. Goaltender Jordan Binnington shut down Boston’s offense and kept the Blues in it, and Ryan O’Reilly’s four goals in four Cup games earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
For those who are looking to build a rookie card collection of the 2019 St. Louis Blues team — or just want to see what that collection looks like — here is a visual checklist of RCs for every Blues player who appeared in at least one 2019 playoff game.
We’re starting a new, semi-regular feature on Puck Junk called “Zero-Game Goalies,” where we take a look at hockey goalies who got an NHL trading card, but never played in an NHL game. This phenomenon occurs when a goalie gets called up from the minors to be the backup goalie for an NHL team, but never sets foot on the ice during the game. Just being on the bench as a backup qualifies a goalie for inclusion in a set of NHL trading cards, so from time to time you come across a trading card of such a goalie and ask, “Who is this guy?”
Today’s zero-game goalie is Daniel Altshuller, who was a backup for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Thirty years ago, the 1988-89 hockey season was winding down. Wayne Gretzky was in his first season with the Los Angeles Kings, while the Calgary Flames would go on to win their first Stanley Cup Championship. Hockey legends Marcel Dionne and Lanny McDonald retired at the end of the season, while Guy Lafleur successfully started his three-year comeback.
It was also a simpler time for hockey card collectors. There were only two mainstream hockey sets to collect — Topps and O-Pee-Chee — and there were not yet any Eric Lindros cards for speculators to hoard. In fact, the word “hockey cards” and “investments” weren’t even uttered in the same sentence back then.
The 1988-89 season was also when I first discovered hockey — and thus started collecting hockey cards. So, here is a look at the 10 best hockey cards from the 1988-89 season. These are not necessarily the most valuable or most-rare hockey cards from that year; rather, these are cards that have significance and should be in any serious hockey card collection.
2009 Upper Deck Heroes #488:
Hometown Heroes Tony Romo / Mike Modano
I had no idea that this card existed. It features an illustration of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Dallas Stars center Mike Modano. If the two of them combined into a giant super monster, it would be called ROMODANO, play two sports, make $30 million per year…and breathe fire!
Finding unknown gems like this is the reason why I love rummaging through quarter boxes at card shows. Although honestly, this could have been from a dollar box — and it was a dollar well-spent.
Before he would score one of the most famous goals in New York Rangers history (“Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!“), Stephane Matteau was a young winger on a stacked Calgary Flames team. He played 78 games for the Flames in 1990-91, so there should have been plenty of photos of Matteau for Topps to choose from for Matteau’s 1991-92 Stadium Club hockey card. But for some reason, they picked this picture, which fails on so many levels that it’s kind of sad.