The Seattle Kraken hit the ice as the NHL’s newest team last fall. But despite the interest in all things Kraken, Upper Deck was slow in releasing hockey cards of Kraken players. Oh sure, there was that ONE Kraken card of Philipp Grubauer in the 2022 National Hockey Card Day USA set. There was also ONE Kraken card — a rookie card! — of Kole Lind in the 2021-22 Parkhurst set…but it actually pictures Nathan Bastian. Whoops! Finally, a handful of Kraken were included in Upper Deck Series Two.
But just as the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals were coming to a close, Upper Deck released the Seattle Kraken Commemorative Box Set, which contains 35 cards and includes many of the players who took to the ice in the Kraken’s inaugural campaign.
At a glance:
– 1988-89 L.A. Kings Team Set
– 25 cards
– Standard Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
– Download checklist
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention sponsored a set of Los Angeles Kings trading cards during the 1988-89 season. Of course, we know this Department best by their mascot, Smokey the Bear. The anthropomorphic bear told us, over the years, that “only you can prevent forest fires.” Since the set bears Smokey’s face on the front, the set is usually referred to as the “Smokey” or “Smokey the Bear” Kings set. As is the case with most team-issued sets, many lesser-known players — as well as the coaches — are featured throughout.
The Flint Spirits had a great 1987-88 season. Much of that success was owed to future NHLer John Cullen, who led the International Hockey League in scoring with 157 points (48 G, 109 A) in 81 games, and then led his team in the playoffs with 26 points (11 G, 15 A). Cullen was named IHL rookie of the year. Unfortunately, the Spirits lost the Turner Cup Finals to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. Still, the team had a pretty good run, as well as a decent set of trading cards.
The 1987-88 Flint Spirits team set is a typical minor-league team issue, with darkly-lit photos and an underwhelming design. But that’s pretty normal for 1980s minor league hockey cards.
At the Pittsburgh Penguins game on January 6, 2019, the team celebrated the 10th anniversary of its 2009 Stanley Cup Championship. (Wow, a decade has passed; I feel so old.) The Penguins invited back many of the retired players from that roster to join with the current players from that team in the celebration. A few of the current players who have moved on to different teams, such as Marc Andre Fleury, sent video messages to be played during the event.
The Chicago Wolves have been a top-notch hockey team over the past 25 years, winning two Turner Cup Championships in the old IHL and two Calder Cup Championships in the AHL. Many former NHL stars, future NHL stars and minor league legends played for the team over the past quarter-century. Earlier this month, the Wolves issued a trading card set honoring its best players. Like past team sets, the Wolves’ 25th Anniversary team set does not disappoint.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights had a very successful inaugural season, first winning 51 regular season games, then powering its way to the Stanley Cup Finals. No, the Knights didn’t win in the Finals — that would have been a little too perfect — but the team was still inspiring and made many new fans along the way. So, it is only natural that Upper Deck would capitalize on the team’s popularity and success and release a Vegas Knights boxed set. Anyone who found themselves cheering for the gray and gold should definitely give this set a look.
The 2002-03 Minnesota Golden Gophers team set has a sharp design and is about as comprehensive as a team set can get. It includes everyone — everyone! — from future NHLers like Thomas Vanek to the team’s third-string goalie.
When the Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second title in as many years, it didn’t take long for the Upper Deck Company to continue their tradition of issuing a limited-edition set to celebrate the achievement. Released in August 2017 was this 18-card Penguins Stanley Cup Championship set, featuring the players instrumental to the Pens’ pursuit and capture of Lord Stanley’s mug.
Almost every season since 2000-01, Choice Marketing has issued a team set of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 2015-16 Wilkes-Barre Penguins set is worth a look from hockey card collectors because of the nice design and, more importantly, because many of the players in this set went on to play in the NHL.
This Carolina Hurricanes team set was issued during the 2003-04 season. The cards are quite large, measuring 4.25″ wide by 5.5″ tall and have an unusual matte finish on the front. The 23 cards in the set give us a good look at many of the players who would win the Stanley Cup two seasons later.