2020-21 Upper Deck NHL Star Rookies Box Set Checklist & Review

While at my local Target store the other day, I decided to take a look at the trading card aisle, knowing full well that Target was currently not selling sports cards. But maybe I’d get lucky and find some top loaders or penny sleeves or — hey now, what’s this?

Yes! My local Target had a few of the 2020-21 Upper Deck NHL Star Rookies Box Sets in stock for $20 each. The set contains “one 25-card rookie set per box,” plus one in every 20 sets has an autographed card. 

Autograph or not. I was pretty happy to find this because I haven’t seen any sports cards at Target since May, and $20 for 25 cards seems like a bargain nowadays. And I’ve always been a sucker for boxed sets that focus on a particular subject — in this case, hockey rookies — and that I could just buy and be done with. 

So, let’s take a look and see what goodness $20 will bring me. 

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Review: 2016 Leaf Jack Eichel Collection

Not long after being drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2015, Jack Eichel signed an exclusive deal with Leaf Trading Cards. As a part of that deal, only Leaf products could include cards autographed by Eichel. In late 2016, Leaf released the “Jack Eichel Collection,” a 30-card boxed set that showcases the Sabres’ young superstar. The big draw to the set is that it includes a hockey card autographed by Eichel. Unfortunately, that’s really the only upside to this otherwise mundane set. 

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Review: 2005-06 Tough Customers

The role of the enforcer in the NHL was at a crossroads starting with the 2005-06 season. Fighting and physicality were being legislated out of the NHL, as the league was putting an increasing emphasis on speed and skill. But one card company saw fit to put out a set of trading cards — the first, really — that celebrated the enforcer’s role in hockey. Tough Customers, released in 2005-06, showcases 25 of hockey’s most popular — or notorious — tough guys. It’s a neat set for collectors who like cards of “enforcers,” “goons,” and/or “policemen.” 

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Review: Legends Trumps Game

The Pocket-Sized Hockey Hall of Fame

If you enjoy card games like “Trumps” — where the highest card wins — or “Go Fish,” but wish they somehow involved hockey, then you should check out Legends International Ice Hockey Trumps Game. It is a new card game from Switzerland that features 40 eye-catching illustrations of the best hockey players from around the world.  

Sold as a full deck online, Legends Trumps Game shows your favorite Hall of Fame players like you’ve never seen them before. 

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Review: 1992-93 Kraft Hockey


Editor’s Note: Rob Joncas is a new Puck Junk contributor. Please welcome him with a comment below.

The 1992-93 NHL season stands as one of the greatest in history for several reasons:

  • The Stanley Cup celebrated its 100th Birthday
  • Wayne Gretzky made his last appearance in a Stanley Cup Final
  • Mario Lemieux battled cancer and put on a scoring clinic, claiming an Art Ross Trophy that Pat Lafontaine had all but secured.
  • Teemu Selanne terrorized goaltenders around the league scoring, 76 goals and adding 56 assists  for 132 points.

Today we are taking a look at the 1992-93 Kraft NHL Set, which came with a special album. To some it was a perfect marriage Kraft products and hockey cards.

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Review: 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies Set & Album


Back in the 1990s, I was so jealous of Canadian people. Not because of Canada’s universal health care system — I was too young to appreciate that sort of thing then — but because all of the ways Canadians could get hockey cards. In the U.S., if a box of cereal or a frozen pizza had a trading card enclosed, it was usually a baseball or basketball card.

At a glance:
– 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies
– 15 Cards (size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″)
– One Mini Album
Download checklist

But in The Great White North, hockey cards could be found packed in boxes of cereal, at local McDonald’s restaurants and even with fish sticks! The 1993-94 Greatest Goalies set was found, one card per box, in specially-marked packages of High Liner brand frozen fish products. It is a 15-card set that goalie enthusiasts should not overlook.

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Those Awful 1991 Hockey Draft Picks Sets


For those who did not collect hockey cards in the 1990s, please allow me to first explain one of the strangest aspects from that time; an incorrect mindset, if you will, that led to the production of many thousands of useless, worthless hockey cards.

Back then, and even today, a player’s “rookie card” — that is, the first card to show him with his NHL team — is usually the most desirable, and thus usually the most valuable.

“Well then,” thought several trading card companies, “we should make cards of players BEFORE they play in the NHL, because those would be even MORE valuable, so people will buy them. It would be like printing money!”

But instead of printing money, it was more like they printed junk bonds for a failed startup company. During the 1991-92 season, four different companies issued trading card sets of the players who were selected in the 1991 NHL Draft.

But like a first round dud — such as Brent Bilodeau (sorry, Habs fans) — these draft picks sets fizzled at retail. Here’s a look at these four sets, along with why they bombed.

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Review: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Leaders

41 of the best players from the ’86-87 season

016_f_zoomA popular trend in the late-1980s was the “leaders” set – a small, inexpensively priced set of trading cards focusing on the best players from the prior year. These cards were smaller in size and cheaper than regular cards, but also seen as premium cards due to their glossy fronts and the better cardstock that was used to print them on. O-Pee-Chee would make a Leaders set in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. Back in the day, you could a pack of five “super glossy hockey cards” for a quarter. Continue reading “Review: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Leaders”

Review: 1985 Islander News Bryan Trottier

Thirty-three cards o’ Trots

07_f_zoomReleased in 1985, this set of cards highlights the career (up to that point) of New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier. The set sponsored by the New York Islander News and, according to Beckett, was issued by the Port Washington Police Department. The card fronts show photos of Trottier from various points in his career. The back of each card, written by Trottier, feature information about the photos, as well as a drug/alcohol prevention tip. Continue reading “Review: 1985 Islander News Bryan Trottier”