Thursday, December 31, 2020

NHL All-Time Teams preview: Golden Knights

A new year is just hours away, and a new NHL season is less than two weeks away. Here at The Collector, we're celebrating the history of every NHL team every day in January with the return of All-Time Teams.

If you followed the baseball edition, you've probably got an idea of how this works. If you're new to the blog (and/or not much of a hockey fan) here's a quick rundown:

  • I've put together a roster of each franchise's best players by position. These rosters mimic an actual NHL team's roster - four forward lines of three, two spare forwards, three pairs of defensemen, one extra defenseman, and two goalies. A head coach and captain will be named as well.

  • Each player can only represent one team, so don't expect to see Wayne Gretzky on the Oilers and the Kings. This makes roster construction a lot more challenging and fun.

  • Players must have a minimum of four seasons with a particular team to qualify for that franchise's All-Time roster. This could get tricky with a league that had an influx of expansion teams not that long ago.

  • When coming across a player that has an equal or near-equal amount of service time with multiple franchises, I will assign that player to the roster that needs him the most. My goal is to make the best possible rosters for each franchise - within the parameters, of course.

There are 31 days in January and 31 teams in the NHL, so this is a perfect fit. Except...

The 31st team is the Golden Knights, a franchise that has only existed for three seasons. It's impossible to create an All-Time roster of players with four years of service for Vegas. So what do we do?

At the end of January we'll make our own expansion team, out of players that didn't make the cut for the 30 established franchises. We'll call this "best of the rest" roster the Rovers - after a phased-out position in the early days of hockey.


As for Vegas.. we'll use their roster for a practice run. Presenting the All-Time greatest Golden Knights:

The Golden Knights are the most immediately successful expansion franchise of any in the four major sports. They reached the Stanley Cup final in their inaugural season, losing a five-game series to the Washington Capitals.

 1st Line

Left Wing - Max Pacioretty Connecticut native and Michigan alum is tied for fifth in franchise history with 106 points. He's the Knights' career leader in goals per game with a 0.39 average, and only three players have scored more total goals for Vegas.

Center - William Karlsson The Golden Knights' career leader in goals, power play goals, and shorthanded goals, Karlsson was selected in the Expansion draft from the Columbus Blue Jackets - who handed Vegas a first-round pick as an inducement to select "Wild Bill" over another player.

Right Wing - Mark Stone A three-time finalist for the Selke trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, Stone was acquired from Ottawa in 2019. Despite playing just 83 games for Vegas across two seasons, he's already cracked the team's top ten in goals and points. Stone and two teammates are assigned to other All-Time Teams - which is okay in their case since this is just a practice run 😉

2nd Line

Left Wing - Erik Haula Now a Nashville Predator, Haula had the best season of his career with the Golden Knights in 2017-18. The Finnish forward scored 29 of his 31 goals for Vegas that year, tying him with Shea Theodore for seventh in team history.

- Jonathan Marchessault The all-time leading scorer in Golden Knights history (by one point), Marchessault is also the franchise leader in assists and game-winning goals. Karlsson centers the top line based on his higher plus/minus rating and shooting percentage, but you can't go wrong with either player.

Right Wing - Reilly Smith Largely a salary dump by the Florida Panthers (who also offloaded Marchessault) Smith has been a consistent performer for Vegas on both ends of the ice. He shares the franchise lead in plus/minus rating with Karlsson and his 99 assists for the Knights are second in team annals.

3rd Line

Left Wing - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare I halved the four-year minimum so Bellemare makes the team over David Perron, who scored a career-high 66 points in his lone season with the Golden Knights. The French forward ranks 13th in Knights history in games played and plus/minus.

Center - Paul Stastny The son of an All-Time great center, Paul Stastny posted three seasons of 70+ points for the Avalanche early in his career. His 80 total points for Vegas rank eighth in the team's short history, and he's also top ten in goals, assists, plus/minus, and game-winning goals.

Right Wing - Alex Tuch One of six players with 100+ points for Vegas, Alex Tuch is tied for second in Golden Knights history with 12 game-winning goals. His 43 total goals are fifth in Knights' annals.

4th Line

Left Wing - William Carrier Depth forward set career highs in 2019-20 with 71 games played and 19 points. His 31 points in 162 contests for Vegas aren't close to the 44 points James Neal scored for the Knights over his 71 games. However Neal played just one season in Nevada and didn't qualify.

Center - Cody Eakin Currently a Winnipeg Jet, Eakin ranks ninth in Golden Knights history with 78 total points and eighth with 199 games played. Only five Knights have lit the lamp for Las Vegas more than he has. 

Right Wing - Ryan Reaves A fan favorite and valuable on-ice bodyguard, Reaves has the second-most penalty minutes in Golden Knights history. He set career highs in goals, assists, and points in 2018-19.

Spares - Tomas Nosek, Ryan Carpenter

Nosek is tied for sixth among Golden Knights in games played - and 14th in points. Carpenter grabs the last forward spot over Oscar Lindberg based on a slight advantage in games played, assists, and points.

Defense Pair 1

Shea Theodore - Nate Schmidt

Theodore ranks fourth in Knights history with 81 assists and 112 total points. He set career highs in assists, points, and plus/minus in 2019-20, earning him a sixth-place finish in Norris trophy voting. Schmidt ranks just behind him for fifth in team history with 76 assists and sits seventh on the team's all-time list with 97 points. He's posted a double-digit plus/minus rating in each of his five full NHL seasons.

Defense Pair 2

Brayden McNabb - Colin Miller

McNabb is the Golden Knights' all-time leader in games played and penalty minutes. Don't mistake him for an enforcer, however - his three-season total of 144 PIMs for Vegas is hardly intimidating. Miller is fifth among Knights with 97 PIMs and seventh in team annals with 57 assists in 147 games.

Defense Pair 3

Deryk Engelland - Jon Merrill

Engelland played minor league hockey for the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL, and his local ties (and toughness) made him an instant fan favorite. Only five players have suited up for the Golden Knights more than Engelland's 202 games with the team. Merrill was a plus player in all three seasons with the Knights. He signed with the Red Wings in October.

Spare - Nick Holden

Holden is sixth among Vegas defensemen with 29 total points in 122 games. That's four more points in 18 fewer contests than Jon Merrill. However Merrill plays a more physical game, and his +32 rating is considerably higher than Holden's +4.


Starter - Marc-Andre Fleury

Backup - Malcolm Subban

The first player selected in the 2017 Expansion Draft, Fleury became the face of the franchise through tragedy and triumph. "Flower" leads the Golden Knights in every goaltending category and leads all Vegas players in Point Shares. The future Hall of Famer reached his fifth Stanley Cup final in 2018. Subban (brother of P.K.) is the only other netminder in franchise history with double-digit wins and more than 1,000 minutes played. The Knights shipped him to Chicago in a trade that brought Fleury's eventual replacement, Robin Lehner, to Las Vegas.

Head Coach: Gerard Gallant   Captain: Mark Stone

Gallant led a first-year expansion team to a Stanley Cup final and posted a .601 winning percentage over the franchise's first three seasons. That didn't stop him from getting fired as Vegas faltered in 2020. The Knights have never had a captain, so I'm naming one for them. For the other 30 franchises, the player who wore the 'C' the longest will be the captain of their All-Time Team.

I hope you'll join us tomorrow for our first official All-Time Team, the Anaheim Ducks.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!



Tuesday, December 29, 2020

NFL Week Giveaway Reveal

It's the final week of the NFL season -- is your team going to the playoffs? (I know your guys are, Fuji.)

At the end of November/beginning of December I ran an NFL-themed promotion with a series of football posts and a PWE swap. Anyone who participated through the blogs or TCDB was automatically entered into a giveaway for a mystery box of cards and card supplies. I received 37 entries!


For trading purposes I requested that everyone send a PWE because I only had about 8-12 cards to send to each participant. Some generous collectors sent much more than that: 30 cards... 50 cards... 400 cards?!?!? As a result, I added an extra entry for every 12 cards received, capped at five entries. 

Here is the final list of participants:

From blogs - Bo, Tom, Brett, Brendan, Gavin, Jim, AJ, Chris, Greg, Gregory, Trevor
From TCDB - BucCollector, crushnmove, FiresNBeers, Jenny Miller, ntlwhlr, SDre31
From out of nowhere - Ken

If you sent some cards my way and your name is not listed above - blame the post office, lol. Rest assured I will return fire as soon as I can. Today was the final day for NFL Week contest entries, not trading in general. 

Every entry was randomly assigned a number to make things a little more... random. That placed the names in this order:

Brett Alan
Greg (N.O.)
Chris (N.G.)
Greg (N.O.)
Gregory (N.P.)
Chris (N.G.)
Greg (N.O.)
Jim (GCRL)
Greg (N.O.)
Greg (N.O.)
Jim (GCRL)
Jenny Miller

I used to shuffle up this list and ran the randomizer seven times. The name at the top of the list on the seventh turn gets the mystery box.

And the winner is... 

Congrats, Trevor! I Hope you like the box, it will be shipped to you this weekend.


Once again thank you all for participating and sending so many great football cards! This is my last unscheduled post of 2020 but I'll be back on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, and every day in January. Hope you all like hockey...

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Christmas Recap

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas (or Hanukkah) and that you were able to celebrate safely with your families and friends with little or no diversion from your usual traditions. I was able to visit my mom in her new house last Saturday, which was nice. Didn't get to see my sister but my cousin was there the whole time.

My bosses gave us all a Google Home Hub thingy as our Christmas bonus. It's a nice gift but I'm probably going to sell it on eBay. Last year they got us a $100 gift certificate to an Italian restaurant. I tried to get my wife to go in January and February, but we were too busy. Then the pandemic hit in March and we never used it :/

My manager G was able to get me out of jury duty (for a year at least) and gave me Christmas Eve off. A four day break from her country music playlist going to the office is a gift in itself, especially when it's paid time off. I spent the day organizing all of my new football cards and putting the finishing touches on the prize box. At night, the girls and I watched Home Alone and had our usual Christmas Eve traditions. The Mrs. and I actually got the wrapping done before 2 a.m. which was nice (usually my wife is up til 4 a.m. on Xmas!) 

The girls got tons of stuff they wanted, and they're very happy. Lots of books, toys, dolls, and Animal Crossing. That's what they're into now. They each have a Nintendo Switch, and they got interactive cards, a sheet set, mini-plushies, and a pillow of Tom Nook's racoon head

My wife and I bought each other CDs for Christmas, so now we have some rockin' new tunes from Nothing But Thieves, Pvris, and I Don't Know How But They Found Me. Nothing But Thieves is D's favorite band right now, she took her niece to see them play a show a year or two ago. I got her an autographed CD, a regular CD, a limited edition vinyl, and a winter hat. This is my favorite NBT song so far:

Pvris and IDK How both opened for my favorite bands - the former opened for Muse/30 Seconds to Mars, the latter for Silversun Pickups. I've been a Pvris fan for a couple years now, and I'm just getting into IDK How. The concept of their debut album Razzmatazz is really neat, and "Leave Me Alone" is getting decent airplay on my local alternative station. 

As always I spent Christmas Day with my wife's family. My mother in law gifted me a new printer/scanner so I should be able to print out a copy of my story and send it to my mom once it's done. Also I'm very tempted to go all Office Space on my old scanner. Other gifts I received include $200 cash, two boxes of 9-pocket pages, a box of 2020-21 Upper Deck MVP hockey, and a pair of Packers slippers from my niece. Plus I got to watch two NBA games and one NFL game. Overall, I had a very nice Christmas. 

Due to all the trade packages and Christmas stuff I've had going on I haven't been able to comment on blogs lately. I should be able to catch up in the next couple days. As I may have mentioned I'm going to announce the winner of the NFL Week PWE Swap giveaway on Tuesday, since I know the mail has been slooow this year. Again, a huge thank you to everyone who has sent some football cards. Even though I haven't been able to scan and discuss them here please know that I have enjoyed them more as a result. 

The swap meet was so successful that I might host another one in the summer - NBA week perhaps?

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, December 20, 2020


Let's look at the remainder of my COMC order - baseball cards and set fillers.


This slabbed Al Simmons single cost $8.00 and pushes me past one-third completion of the set (12/33). Every player/manager in the set is a Hall of Famer, but I definitely started this set build with the less heralded legends. 

Here's the heart of the order - more 1956 Topps cards. Ashburn was my most expensive purchase at $36.20. Howell cost $19.78. O'Brien and Runnels were a package deal at $25.50 total. I'm not setting any goals for 2021 but this will be a priority now that my base card binders and boxes are filling up.

Another project I'm going to prioritize is my All-Time Teams collection. Yankee Stadium and the Kingdome were upgrades from 1994 Score singles. The Topps team issue stadiums are often tough to find. The red Rosenthal was a must-have. It's numbered to 50 and set me back a buck and a quarter.

I only picked up eight Red Sox cards from Black Friday 2019 to September 2020. The Pedroia manu-relic had been sitting on my watch list for about three years.

When I shopped on COMC I would occasionally search for bargain singles from high-end products I'll never break, such as Topps Tribute, Triple Threads, and Museum Collection. Two of the best bargains I found: the Nolan Arenado relic #d/27 ($3.25) and the Tim Raines auto #d/50 ($5.05). Not everything was a steal however. I paid $2.93 for the Bryant blue parallel #d/150, which seems quite high by comparison.


Finally, here are some more set fillers I picked up. This reminds me that there is one more set I'm one card away from completing. I've got all 400 base cards from 2018 Topps Big League and all but one of the Players' Weekend variations (anyone have a Rhys Hoskins for trade?)




The response to my NFL Week PWE Swap Meet has been overwhelming. Literally. I've received over 1,000 football cards including a third PWE from Bo and a box from Trevor that arrived yesterday. I can't possibly send a 1-for-1 return when someone drops 400+ cards on my doorstep, and even if I could it's impossible for me to stand in line at the post office right now. But I'll send something out soon. Big thanks to Trevor, Bo, and everyone who has participated so far.

I've been preparing the prize box and I will reveal the winner on Tuesday, December 29 - which will probably be my next post since I've got a lot of All-Time Teams stuff to work on before and after Christmas. If you're really feeling generous I'd be thrilled to get some feedback on the fiction piece I published here. It's nothing major, just something I wrote for fun.

all i want for Christmas..


Hope you all have a Merry Christmas (I'd say Happy Hanukkah but I know it just ended.) See you next week!




Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Winter Wonderland

We're supposed to get a blizzard later today and I will probably get out of work early - at which point I will either take a nap or work on my short story. The first part is almost done.. which would be good timing since I need to make more progress on my NHL All-Time Teams series. 

And, since the forecast has me in a winter sports mood, here are my COMC hockey card purchases from the past year.

Two more Exquisite base cards for my 30-card set build. Now that I've added Nate MacKinnon and Zdeno Chara..


I'm down to just four needs - Toews, Seguin, Price, and Ovechkin. I also needs some penny sleeves and top loaders for these super-thick cards.

I picked up this Pat LaFontaine rookie year card for $10. I'm just 59 cards away from completing this set in PSA 9 or better (with two exceptions). This is an admittedly foolish pursuit; if money were no object and I bought every slabbed single I've seen for sale.. I'd still need about 40 "low pop" cards. 

Here's another project that I will never complete, but it's cheaper and brings me more joy than the PSA set.

Fuji asked his readers for their hobby highlight of 2020. That's an easy one for me. I found seven new Peter Worrell needs on COMC alone, including these five show stamped parallels. Over the past few years I've only added an average of one or two new Worrell cards per year to my collection, and there were some years when I didn't add any at all.

These two have eluded me for more than 15 years. By print run they were the most abundant singles I didn't have - the OPC Red parallel is numbered to 100. I'm still amazed that I found either one of them after years of scrolling through saved searches. Bringing them both home at the same time was a minor miracle. 

For all intents and purposes I only need four or five more Worrell cards. However, since TCDB lists every damn show stamped parallel, regional issue, and 1 of 1.. I actually need 58 more cards. :o

Now for the Devils portion of the post.


Allure is one of my favorite newer hockey sets, though it's far from perfect. Yes, Nikita Gusev was a Golden Knights prospect, but he's clearly a Devil now - and he's listed as such on his "base" card in this same set.


Nico Hischier is the one current Devil I've collected as he's the closest thing Jersey has to a "franchise" player.

That is, until Jack Hughes gains some experience. Hopefully he spent the nine-month layoff filling out that slight frame of his. Jesper Boqvist was a non-factor as a rookie but he's still got time to make an impact.


Assorted Devils including a Clear Cut Foundations insert of Hischier and Kyle Palmieri. The Taylor Hall Signature Swatch auto was $7.00 while the rest were cheapies. Each Canvas card cost just 26 cents.


These two Subban cards were also 26 cents. The Chronology Jason Arnott auto was $4.19, the same price as the Clear Cut card above. I was at the "St. Marty's Day" game on March 17, 2009 when Brodeur broke the all-time record for goalie wins. He got to cut out the net shortly after this celebration.

Eight new cards of the Great Eight, including another memorable moment that happened here in Jersey.

Just before Covid hit, Alex Ovechkin scored career goal #700 against the Devils. I had a feeling he'd score against our craptacular team, but I couldn't convince anyone to get tickets to that one. At the time I posted that several all-time great scorers lost dozens of goals to labor disputes. Ovechkin is one of them - and the shutdown probably swiped another dozen or more from his tally.

Toronto and Edmonton were "bubble" cities for the 2020 playoffs, which meant that the Stanley Cup was finally raised on Canadian soil! These guys will try to make that happen for real in 2021.

More cheapies I picked up over the past year, including my first Elias Petterson card (40 cents) and the only card from Upper Deck's 30th Anniversary insert set that interested me. The 1993-era Patrick Roy on a 2002-03 design cost an appropriate 30 cents.

And finally some irresistible shiny cards. The Bobrovsky red die-cut cost 33 cents. Kucherov cost 31 cents. Everything else in this scan was 27 cents each.

If you read this post (or you scrolled through it quickly) you deserve a reward. 

Way to go, Wild Bill!

Thanks for reading!