Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Pair of Kucherovs

Last year I was involved in a hockey pool for charity that I was fortunate enough to win with my neighbour. The reason why we won was because I knew and believed in the Lightning more than the other 20 or so poolies at the table and we slaughtered the competition. In fact, of the 80+ 2 man teams in all the pools, no one came close to us. The reason why I knew so much about the Lightning was my PC boy Brett Connolly. However, since he departed to Boston I still have a soft spot for Tampa Bay and as a result have a few other players I follow on a daily basis and have subsequently added them to my collection. Nikita Kucherov is one of those such players.

Originally a member of the Triplets line he found instant chemistry with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. However, this season has been a bit tough on the trio at first. Palat came out of the gate cold with 2 goals and 7 points in 16 games before getting injured and then only recently has fired back up his offensive engine with 7 goals and 10 points in the last 10 games. Johnson also has had a season to forget with a frigid start with 11 points in his first 28 games and a number of missed games due to injury as well. Like Palat, Tyler Johnson has come back a bit of late with 13 points in his last 16 games to show TB fans he will have his scoring touch in time for the playoffs. Kucherov the third member of the Triplets has arguably been the most consistent member of the Lightning this season and is currently tied with Stamkos for the lead in point with 60 and second in goals with 28. He is one goal and 5 points away from career highs in both categories and with 9 games to go there is no reason to believe he won't beat those numbers.

So what options do Kucherov fans have for rookies? Well there are a few including the staple Young Gun rookie but if you are looking for an auto rookie well....keep looking. Apart from the UD Buyback Young Gun Auto Rookie /86 or Gold Version /25 there are none. Yep, he was missed by nearly all the manufacturers save for some non autographed versions. So, I was a little disappointed by this but was able to track down two decent cards nonetheless.

13-14 Panini Prizm Prizm Nikita Kucherov RC
No typo here, those are back to back Prizms because this is the Prizm parallel of Kucherov's Prizm rookie. This is the nicest looking rookie card in my opinion of all the ones you can dig up. That could be because I am biased to shiny things but this card does look pretty cool in the right lighting!

13-14 Upper Deck Young Guns Nikita Kucherov RC
Perhaps one of the more valuable rookies of Nikita Kucherov is his Young Guns rookie which for the record isn't a bad looking card either. Personally I am a fan of the 13-14 design and this card is a winner too. There are /100 and /10 versions of this card too for the hardcore Kucherov fans out there but I haven't broken the bank to try and track one down and perhaps might not ever but I won't say never either.

While I often wonder how neat it would be to have an auto rookie of Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky the truth is those card were created without autographs on them and that doesn't make them any less desirable. However, for some reason in today's world I find myself often preferring an autographed rookie over a non-autographed one and wonder if I am the only one in this department. The lack of any Kucherov auto rookies is a little unusual especially when you consider there are far too many Daniel Bang auto rookies from the same year but sometimes that is the luck of the draw I guess and card companies can only do so much for us needy collectors. So I will leave you with this one question, are there any auto rookies of players you like or wish you could have had that were never produced?


  1. I guess the auto rookies I'd like to see produced most would be some of the obvious ones like Gretzky, Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr. Those would be my top three I think.

    By the way, I agree with you that the Prizm card is the nicer of the two. So funny you posted this as I've been on kind of a random lower to mid-tier RC spree lately. Even without being autographed, there's something nice about a good rookie like this pair here. Maybe it's got something to do with being a kid collector during the initial rookie card craze of the '80s and '90s.

    I'll be posting a couple like this on my blog soon, and also have one or two heading your way when my COMC order arrives!

    1. Ahh good choices! Very cool, there is something kind of fun and wholesome about the lower tier rookies like OPC and others which makes them affordable and accessible. Another good batch are the non-autographed trilogy cards.

      I look forward to those posts and perhaps a possible mail day in the future!