Friday, May 31, 2013

Blue Chip Prospects Auto - Jonathan Huberdeau

Here is the last of my Blue Chip Prospects series for now and it is the best of the lot. I give you to, the 2013 NHL Calder Trophy winner (we all know he will win), Jonathan Huberdeau. I have had a chance to see him play a few times this year thanks to NHL Centre Ice and wow was I impressed. The extra season in junior I think was a huge help because he played with a confidence that is rarely seen in rookies and his puck control was phenomenal. This kid might end up being the better offensive talent between himself, Landeskog and Ryan N-H. 

12-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects Jonathan Huberdeau Auto
Florida is a tough place to play because hockey is like the 12th favourite sport down there next to Pedestrian Polo with all the seniors down there:

However, they seem to be stock piling prospects as of late so don't be too surprised if they make the jump to the playoffs in the next season or two and if they do I assure you, Huberdeau will be a big reason for that.
Huberdeau has a terrific rookie season scoring 14 goals and 31 points which was good enough for a 1st place tie with Nail Yakupov. Huberdeau's defining game of the season came Feb 21 against the Flyers where he had 2 goals and 2 assists in a 5-2 win over the Flyers.

Here is my analysis of Jonathan Huberdeau

Probability of making the NHL : 100%
Probability of being an NHL All-Star*: 97%
Probability of being a HOF'er: 6%
Probability of making the Pyeongchang Olympics: 85%
Probability of making the Sochi Olympics: 5%
Probability of being the Greatest Florida Forward of All-Time^: 65%
Probability of being better than Jody Hull: 97.9%

* He is already Florida's best player and likely would have been at the All-Star game this year if there was one.

^Tough one here because Pavel Bure was there such a short period, but there is a strong chance he could have a much longer and more important impact than Pavel did without necessarily being as talented.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blue Chips Prospect Auto - Mikhail Grigorenko

Here is the second last Blue Chip Prospect and I have saved the best two for last. Mikhail Grigorenko is by all definitions a Blue Chip Prospect and to his resume already he has a wealth of International experience and is a very serious offensive threat. One thing that impresses me a great deal about Mikhail is that he came to North America unable to speak English and now he is able to speak English without a translator and he is also able to speak French and Russian thus making him multilingual and I feel that is definitely a sign of his work-ethic and if he works that hard off the ice I can't wait to see what he will do full-time on the ice.

12-13 Heroes and Prospects Mikhail Grigorenko Auto
An interesting auto to say the least done in black sharpie. No number with his auto which always is a minus, but still a top notch prospect's signature which is what I was after. Grigorenko spent a chunk of time in the NHL this past season (25 games) and even though he ruined his Calder chances next season, I think Buffalo will have a sophomore next year who will contribute very significantly to their offensive output. In 33 games this season with Quebec, Mikhail scored 30 times and added another 24 assists which had him 3rd in team scoring despite only playing half a season. In fact, he still finished in the top 30 for goals which is impressive since everyone about him played more games.

Here is my analysis of Mikhail Grigorenko

Probability of making the NHL : 100%
Probability of being an NHL All-Star: 40%
Probability of being a HOF'er: 3%
Probability of making the Pyeongchang Olympics: 50%
Probability of making the Sochi Olympics: 2%
Probability of being the Greatest Sabres Forward of All-Time*: 0.5%
Probability of being better than Dave Snuggerud: 98%

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blue Chips Prospect Auto - Jake Virtanen

As far as the Blue Chips series goes, there are 5 in total and this is the only one that may have some people questioning my label of "Blue Chip", but hear me out. Jake Virtanen is a name most have not heard before but if you have, then you may agree with me on the Blue Chip tag. Jake is a 16 year old prospect who just finished his first full WHL season. He did actually make a debut last year and played in 9 games as a 15 year old scoring 3 goals in 9 games. This past year he put up a respectable 34 points in 62 games including 16 goals. This coming season will be the litmus test for Jake as the top two scorers on the Hitmen will both be gone next season and he will be expected to shoulder more of the scoring load. Jake is considered one of the better prospects for the 2014 NHL draft and even has been projected on some sites to go as high as 5th overall. Time well tell, but for now he is a Blue Chip prospect to me. 

12-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects Jake Virtanen Auto
Jake has an awesome signature which features his number 18. I hope he doesn't get all sloppy as time goes by and does the initial thing that some players do ( I am looking at you Cameron Gaunce).

Here is my analysis of Jake Virtanen

Probability of making the NHL : 97%
Probability of being an NHL All-Star: 30%
Probability of being a HOF'er: 1.6%
Probability of making the Pyeongchang Olympics: 25%
Probability of making the Sochi Olympics: 0.01%
Probability of being the Greatest _____ Forward of All-Time*: 0.001 - 10%
Probability of being better than Gilbert Brule: 60%

*Due to Jake being undrafted and only 16 years of age it is difficult to determine where he will end up. If he ends up in Edmonton or Detroit the number is 0.001%, but if he ends up in Columbus the number is 10%.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blue Chip Prospects Auto - Mathew Dumba

I didn't know much about Mathew Dumba prior to the 2012 WJHC but he certainly made an impression on me scoring 12 points in 7 games while patrolling the blue-line for the bronze medal winning squad. Then the draft came and I watched closely to see where he would get snatched up and the Wild took him with the 7th pick which due to the arrival of Ryan Suter he was expendable for the abbriviated season and was shipped back to junior. The Wild are slowing growing into a team that could be very surprising over the next few years and I don't doubt that Dumba will play a pretty big role in their resurgence.

12-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects Auto Mathew Dumba
Please ignore the tape on the top-loader. I scanned it before I put it into a new loader. Mathew is coming off his third full year of junior hockey and even though there was a point total dip, he still finished third in team scoring as a defenseman and he did get a couple games in the AHL with the Aeros which will help with making the jump next season to the pros.

Here is my analysis of Mathew Dumba

Probability of making the NHL : 97%
Probability of being an NHL All-Star: 20%
Probability of being a HOF'er: 1%
Probability of making the Pyeongchang Olympics: 25%
Probability of making the Sochi Olympics: 0.6%
Probability of being the Greatest Wild Defenseman of All-Time*: 2.8%
Probability of being better than Shawn Chambers and Andy Sutton Combined: 90%

I am including the North Stars on this one so his odds are affected by players like Craig Hartsburg.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Blue Chip Prospect Autos - Morgan Rielly

I did the HOF thing, now it is time for a pile of pickups over the last while involving prospects. There are some kids that will possibly become HOF'ers and there are other kids that might become Alexander Svtovs. So enjoy the next batch of posts involving prospects!

Here is a little love out to Leaf Nation with a glimpse of what the future may look like: Here is former World Junior defenseman and Toronto Marlie Morgan Rielly.

Morgan Rielly is a more talented and reliable version of Jake Gardiner (in my humble opinion). What people won't disagree with is Morgan does have loads of talent at both ends of the ice and if he keeps developing the way he is, the Leafs may have more playoff appearances in their future thanks to his stellar play at both ends of the ice. His potential is as a top-2 defenceman and though he might never be a HOF'er, he could be a future NHL All-Star and Team Canada player.

Just for fun, I am going to give my amateur predictions* for Morgan Rielly:

Probability of making the NHL : 99%
Probability of being an NHL All-Star: 35%
Probability of being a HOF'er: 5%
Probability of making the Pyeongchang Olympics: 40%
Probability of making the Sochi Olympics: 1.6%
Probability of being the Greatest Maple Leaf Defenseman of All-Time: 0.4%
Probability of being better than Jeff Finger and Mike Komisarek Combined: 97%  

*These are based on my gut and brain, please don't gamble with these numbers because you will lose and lose big!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Piece of Hockey History

 When the Devils made the Stanley Cup Finals I had envisions of Stanley Cup Commemorative sets and all sorts of cool collectible stuff commemorate an awesome season. Instead, we ran out of gas and LA schooled us in the finals and all the spoils went to the Kings.

Being in the Finals is fun, but losing certainly sucks and I was left with the task of deciding if I still wanted to collect playoff stuff in the 12-13 hockey card sets. I decided in the end to not spend any money on chasing the road to the cup stuff or day with the cup or any playoff inserts for that matter. That is with one exception:

12-13 SP Game Used Stanley Cup Final Materials Net Cord /25
When I saw that SP Game Used would include pieces of Stanley Cup Finals Netting I was intrigued at how rare they would be and the cost. When I saw them pop online they were selling for a price I could live with (especially if you didn't care which player) so I went for a "common" and landed a Mark Fayne version.

As you can see on the back the net cord was from the LA Kings Home games which were 3, 4 and 6. I had a hard time justifying paying serious cash for a star player that would have just included the same cord used in a common player. I do like that the Devils won one of the games this cord was used in and even though we didn't win the Cup it was a Finals appearance and I have a piece of the action. What are your thoughts on these types of cards? 

I do have one small complaint and that is they are SUPER thick. I am not sure exactly how thick but I can't squeeze mine into a 180pt holder. I think I may need a 240 for it, but at this time there isn't any at my LCS so I have it in a 10 card acrylic case for the meantime. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Double Box Break of 11-12 Rookie Anthology - Another Bride From My Wife

Ok so I am so very close to completing the set, what better way to attempt to finish it than buying 2 more boxes! Thanks to doing a task my wife didn't want to do, I landed myself two more boxes of my favourite 11-12 product. Here we go, nothing but hits and no frills at that.

Box Toppers

Topper 1
 Emelin is haunting me and this is my second one. I received the other as a NPN win from Panini. This one is up for trade.

Topper 2
Love this one, jersey/stick combo. I am keeping this one.

Each pack has a rookie,  I am just pointing out my more notable ones and I am starting with Marcus. Marcus is a former Canadian World Junior so this one is a fun hit.

 Another former WJ, Leland won gold with Canada in 2007. Currently he is one of a few goalies looking to steal the vacant starting job in Calgary.

 Most rookies were Pinnacle ones and Gustav is the best of the bunch!

Game-Used/Player Worn Hits

Each box claims to have a couple of these and mine was no exception. I was lucky enough to hit another Pinnacle Starting 6. This one features a good selection of rookies from the 11/12 season. Henrique makes this one a keeper!

 What an odd combination. Despite it having Nicky Palms on it, I can live without this card for sure.

 Ryan Ellis!!! I hope we see him again!

 I didn't know Philly and Detroit were rivals.

Rookie Treasures
 Each box has one of these unless you are lucky.  Talbot......Rangers....Yuck.

 Teemu! I promised he would be back, another disappointing Oiler hit.

Case Hits
 I was fortunate enough to have two large hits as well. Here is proof Montreal is haunting me for sure! Dual patch/auto rookie parallel of Raphael Diaz aka Number 61. This one is numbered 14/15 and can be yours if you want to trade for it.

My favourite hit of the box.....Ryan Ellis Ice Breaker Rookie auto. These are one per case and I landed a PC guy. I really can't ask for much more (except maybe RNH).

There you go, sorry no big write-ups that I typically do but two boxes that I am pretty happy with but more than willing to trade more away. I did also finish my set which is an added bonus!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

11-12 Panini Rookie Anthology - Brett Connolly Rookie Treasures /15

No time means all my great post ideas and box breaks must wait for another day. Here is a quickie to share:

11-12 Panini Rookie Anthology - Brett Connolly Rookie Treasures /15
Another PC pick-up. The top patch has a glint of silver in it and the bottom patch is all silver. Love this look of this card and it is reasonably rare numbered to just 15. After a 30 goal season in the AHL, I think Brett will be ready to be a full-time contributor next year with the Lightning.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mojo Sick Patch..For Half The Price Of The Pack It Came From

As a collector who got back into collecting during the '07 season much had happened in the collecting world between '95 and '07. Game used cards are one of those things and particularly patch cards. I loved the idea when I learned about them and as time has gone by I still like them but I am not as amazed as I once was. However, sometimes you come across a piece that is just too awesome to pass up regardless of how many game used cards you have. 

09-10 SP Game Used Dual Patch Nash and Voracek /25
Both of these guys are players I like and both are long gone from Columbus. Funny to imagine after they leave Columbus nearly makes the playoffs meanwhile Voracek had a himself a career year in Philly and Nash is still in the playoffs with the Rangers. I do really like and collect Voracek to some degree so that was an added bonus but the main reason for this card are the swatches. The bottom patch is amazing with a concave blue piece sandwiched between an awesome silver and red piece. The top swatch looks like it could have been from a name or number as well. This was another steal from the LCS this past fall, keep up the great work boys!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Loonies and Toonies Well Spent....According to me of course.

I raided my LCS's Dollar and Toonie bin again and found one or two cheapies online too. Here are the results, money well spent I think, tell me what you think.

10-11 UD Series 1 Young Guns Checklist
 These three are certainly off to great careers! Cost 2 bucks.

12-13 UD Artifacts Cody Eakin Team Canada /999
 Here is one for the PC. Cost a dollar.

07-08 Fleer Ultra Jaroslav Halak Rookie
 Halak attack! Took me 2 dollars to take him home.

96-97 BAP Pinnacle Jim McKenzie Auto

 Tough guy and tough auto! A former Devil for 196 games, won a Cup with us in 2003. A dollar? Yes please!

11-12 UD Mika Zibanejad
 Every time I say his name I think I am saying it wrong....He has loads of potential and is having a solid post-season! 2 Dollars...

10-11 SPX Jake Muzzin Rookie
 At the midpoint of the season some had him as a dark horse for the Calder. He isn't a finalist but he still might win something yet with the Kings. This was a dollar.

11-12 Limited David Rundblad Rookie Phenoms /299
 Another D-man prospect. This one had a tough season in the NHL and spent most in the AHL. I believe he will be a regular someday, 2 bucks on that bet.

02-03 Crown Royale Purple Patrick Sharp Rookie Parallel /799
 Patrick has been good the Chicago and Chicago has been good to Patrick. 2 dollars here.

05-06 UD MVP Zach Parise Rookie
Zach, I am no longer bitter about you moving. Here is the proof. I bought another one of your rookies...True it was only 2 dollars but steps.

Thanks for reading, more coming soon!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

11-12 UD Tin Break

Just before Christmas, I was shopping for others and buying for myself which included an 11-12 UD tin. Each tin had 12 packs so 3 Young Guns were possible along other wonderful inserts. Truth be told, I am starting to hate all the inserts like EA Sports Dream Team or Ambassadors or whatever they are throwing in these days. I do like the Canvas parallels but apart from that unless it is signed or game-used, I just have no interest in plain insert cards. So, here are the hits straight up...

11-12 UD Sean Couturier Young Gun
Sean Couturier was the biggest hit of the box. Sean was the 8th overall pick in 2011 and as been in the NHL since day 1. He has yet to find his offensive stride but as long as Philly is patient with this kid I think they will have a winner on their hands soon.

11-12 UD Teemu Hartikainen Young Gun
Wow an Oiler.....hard to believe I am disappointed getting an Oiler Young Gun but I am. Teemu will unfortunately be making another appearance on here in the near future.

11-12 UD Erik Gudbranson Young Gun
Chris Pronger without the offensive skill? A much more offensive Brad Marsh? Yep that is Erik Gudbranson, he is stay at home perfection. A player you would want on your team hands down but not want to ever pull from a pack of cards....ok maybe not that bad, I am actually happy pulling this as he is a former Canadian World Junior and I respect a good stay at home man.

11-12 UD Game Jersey Tuukka Rask
So despite Toronto giving up on him and sending him to Boston for Andrew Raycroft, Rask didn't exactly get revenge in this past round of the playoffs. Boston did win, but Rask was pretty shaky and unless Boston starts to tighten up defensively I suspect Rask and the boys will be out on the course before long.

Well there you have it, a tin which was the equivalent of half a retail box. I did reasonably well for 25 dollars which was the sale price down from 40. I also have a load of base cards which means I likely buy a hobby box some day and chase the base set of Series 1. Also in the box was an oversized Winter Classic card but I assure you, you aren't interested in seeing that :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

El Nino - 10-11 Score Nino Niederreiter Auto Rookie

When it comes to 2010-11 Rookie and Traded I am cursed. Out of my second box, I got more damaged autos of decent players. This time it is Nino Niederreiter and with serious corner ding. I can live with the card because it is an SP'ed auto, but it has ZERO trade value because of the damage.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Final Two HOF Autos

Little talk, just show here. My last two autos are ones I have had for over 20 years, but they are new because of what you are going to see. Brett from My Hockey Card Obsession took these two autos:

Then with his amazing talent turned them into these:

A shortage in disk storage space on my scanning computer resulted in a botched scan so I am using the pics that Brett shared on twitter a little while back. These cards are amazing in person and it is truly a skill to take an auto on a piece of paper and turn it into a piece of art. Thank you very much Brett I really really appreciate it. The Howe is my favourite HOF auto addition in the past year and I look forward to sharing more pick ups in the near future!

Btw if case you are curious, I got the Gordie Howe auto the same night I got this Gordie Howe auto.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

With the Devils out, who do I cheer for? Western Conference Version

Let's continue:

Chicago Blackhawks
Why cheer for the Hawks
They have always been my Original 6 team and I have liked them ever since I laid eyes on Ed Belfour. They have a captain that everyone can respect and they play a pretty solid game all round. True Pat Kane has been a putz off the ice in the past and Duncan Keith is slowly earning himself a dirty reputation, it is had to not like Corey Crawford, and many of the other young kids on this team.

Why cheer against the Hawks
They are the favourites.

Anaheim Ducks
Why cheer for the Ducks
Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. These two Finns have had great careers and maybe that Cup win will give them a boost to jump to retirement. They have exceeded expectations all season and Bruce Boudreau winning a Cup here would be a great story to his rebound in Anaheim. Scott Niedermayer is an assistant coach with the Ducks and I still support him in what he does.

Why cheer against the Ducks
Can't say I have ever loved the franchise, but I really despise Devante Smith-Kelly ever since he got caught cheating on his card signature. (not a real reason, but the best I can come up with)

Vancouver Canucks
Why cheer for the Canucks
David Booth.

Why cheer against the Canucks
David Booth isn't playing due to injury. In all fairness, I don't have much against the Canucks and I am actually pretty indifferent.

St. Louis Blues
Why cheer for the Blues
They are a good balance of old and young with loads of natural talent. They have Thunder Bay boy Chorney and they really win games as a team. Shattenkirk and Backes are both kids I really like and Jake Allen stopping them to a Cup win in his rookie season would be a fun story line.

Why cheer against the Blues
I don't think a Cup win by the Blues would do much for the NHL (not sure why I care about that).

Los Angeles Kings
Why cheer for the Kings
I do like Kopitar and it would give the NHL back-to-back Champions for the first time in 15 years when the Red Wings did it in 97 and 98. Tyler Toffoli is a young prospect who I think has some serious potential and a Cup win would be a great career starter!

Why cheer against the Kings
Well they did bounce my Devils last season and the Kings are one of the reasons I think the Devils were pinched in the Kovalchuk business because it was the only case where a huge long term contract was punished by the NHL and I think it was partly due to the fact that the Kings were pursuing him too.

San Jose Sharks
Why cheer for the Sharks
A team that was a seller during the trade deadline still makes the playoffs....who wouldn't want to cheer for them? A guy I never heard of on the roster born in Thunder Bay, awesome! Let's not forget Jumbo Joe.

Why cheer against the Sharks
Underachievers for the past decade, it makes it sort of hard for a non-fan to jump on the bandwagon at this point. I am still ticked at Gomez for chasing money instead of sticking with the Devils.

Detroit Red Wings
Why cheer for the Red Wings
Well they are the only team my number PC Alex Delvecchio has ever played for and it has been a couple years since they won. I am also a Tigers fan so the city of Detroit is one I am familiar with cheering for too and who doesn't love the Too-Too Train.

Why cheer against the Red Wings
They have won enough cups in the last two decades, they need to share the wealth. I am actually happy to see some more parity in the NHL over the last couple seasons.

Minnesota Wild
Why cheer for the Wild
They have a serious lot of dedicated fans who certainly have earned a Stanley Cup. Zach Parise is a talented player who I still have much respect for and there are a few guys on that team I do like.

Why cheer against the Wild
For some reason it would really bother me to see them win the Cup the year after they poach Suter and Parise.

So in the end here is who I have:

Chicago Blackhawks out of the West and Pittsburgh Penguins out of the East. In the end, I will be cheering for the Hawks, but I can pretty much tolerate just about anyone winning the Cup this season. Anyway, thanks for tolerating me, and back to the cards with my next posts!