I had been collecting the entire run of Upper Deck hockey cards and had every base card in a flagship set from 1990-2016, including the short prints in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. From 2007-08 to 2015-16 I had completed nearly all of the Young Guns; I was missing only four cards. Then I decided to sell off some sets. After Sidney Crosby won his third Stanley Cup I sold the 2005-06 YGs for about $900. I was never going to finish 2007-08 (needed Kane, Toews, and Price) so rather than spend $300+ on those three cards I broke up that set.
2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. All complete. All sold. I held on to 2014-15 and 2015-16 so they can appreciate in value (I should have kept 2013-14) but one set that I'm definitely not selling is 2010-11. I needed one card to complete it, and it arrived today:
Remember when I said I wasn't going to spend any money on cards this year? Yeah... that lasted about a month. I passed up a BGS 10 Taylor Hall, which sold for under $100 - but I bought this one on eBay for half that price.
Hall is the best player in the NHL.. who has yet to appear in the postseason (hat tip to Sal at Puck Junk.) I was thrilled when the Devils traded for him, but it must have been tough for him to watch the Oilers make a deep playoff run without him. This year, the Devils are in playoff position but losing their grip on a top-3 seed. As one fan commented on a Devils blog "We have got to get this guy to the playoffs or he'll never re-sign with us."
Speaking of Devils.. there are ten of them in the Young Guns subset. That could be a record for one team in one UD set (perhaps I'll research that one day.) Unfortunately, none of them are significant names and, not coincidentally, none of them are still with the Devils - though Josefson stuck around until last season.
However, there are three current Devils with rookie cards in the set - Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Marcus Johansson. Both "Palms" and "MoJo" have been plagued by injuries this season.
I'm not a Twitter user at all, but I enjoy reading the musings of "General" Marcus Johansson. The games and events are described as though they were actual battles in war, and are often addressed "Dearest Abigail". Great stuff.
Kevin Shattenkirk could have signed with the Devils in the off-season, but he chose to play for his hometown team, the New York Rangers. How's that working out for ya, Shatty? I shouldn't say anything - the Rangers might be ready to sell but they're only three points behind the Devils in the Metropolitan division.
When building the Young Guns subsets I preferred to get the top two or three cards in BGS Gem Mint grade. This Tyler Seguin RC is the most valuable card in the set - partially based on the shorter print run of Series 2 YGs.
I really wanted to get a BGS-graded P.K. Subban RC, but there's always a premium on Original Six stars. That's why I still haven't finished the 2007-08 Black Diamond set (only need the Carey Price RC) and that's why I never bothered to build the 2016-17 Upper Deck set (too many Maple Leafs YGs.)
Two of my three favorite players - Hall and Subban. Nazem Kadri tried to take out Alex Ovechkin's knees in last year's playoffs, so f*ck him.
Sergei Bobrovsky has two Vezina trophies and was a Hart trophy finalist last season. If he keeps rolling like this for a few more seasons, he might end up in the Hall of Fame. I bet the Flyers wish they still had Bob between their pipes.
Like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle was once seen as a core member of the Oilers' rebuild. And, like Hall, Eberle was traded to a team in the tri-state area. The Islanders are chasing Jersey in a very tight Metro race. I wouldn't hate it if the Isles were a wild card team (unless they beat the Devils, of course.)
Jeff Skinner might be the second best NHL player who has never seen playoff action (not including younger players like Jack Eichel.) As an old Whalers fan, I've got no love for those toilet bowls from tobacco road. If Skinner does make it to the playoffs, I hope it's with another team.
Nick Bonino had two Young Guns for some reason. But he's from Connecticut so it's all good. Bonino won back-to-back Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh, then signed with the team they beat last June, the Nashville Predators. If you can beat 'em..join 'em.
2010-11 was the last year of Atlanta Thrashers Young Guns. In '11-12, UD1 base cards had players pictured in Atlanta uniforms but listed as Winnipeg Jets; all of the YGs were pictured with Winnipeg. I'm probably the only hockey fan outside of Atlanta that misses the Thrashers.(Don't get me started on why Gary Bettman didn't fight for them the way he fought for the Coyotes and Canes to stay put - Atlanta outdrew both those sorry franchises.)
As for those Coyotes, they do have some interesting players; Oliver Ekman-Larsson is right at the top of the list. Despite my previous comment, I am pulling for them to succeed. (Anyone who has lost their hometown team should never, ever root for another team to fail Winnipeg). But until they get an arena in downtown Phoenix, an owner who can spend up to the cap (on real players, not Chris Pronger), and a top-two pick they so desperately need, OEL's best years will be wasted.
Now that I've completed this set, the only Young Guns I need are Nico Hischier and Charlie McAvoy. And Will Butcher. And Jesper Bratt. And maybe some Golden Knights. And that's it.
For this year, anyway...