So I had planned to write an article tonight about Panini which would have been an interesting read and probably would have created some controversy but, earlier this evening the NHL and NHLPA announced an agreement which could make or break the Hobby when it comes to Hockey Cards.
So Earlier this evening news broke on Beckett Media (@Beckettmedia) that the NHL and the NHLPA agreed that only rookies who debuted last year between the All-Star Game and The Stanley Cup Playoffs would be allowed in this years hockey card sets. What this means is that players such as First Overall Pick Nail Yakupov, Prospects such as Morgan Reilly, Griffen Reinhart, Mikael Granlund, Alex Galchenyuk, and many others would not be appearing in 2012-13 Hockey Products setting up what would be known as a Double Rookie Crop for 2013-14 Hockey Products.
Well at first I was pretty ticked off at the NHL and the NHLPA but, after talking with some people in the industry and taking the time to think about it….well it could be a decision that could make or break the hobby and I will explain how I see it.
First off, Retailers are going to be hurt, especially in places where Hockey is more popular than Baseball or Football in places such as most of Canada and Northern US States where the current team is stable and popular (Columbus is definately not one of them). Collectors are not going to be buying as much product had there been a regular inclusion of new rookies, companies are talking about not putting certain products out this year and products that are currently out will suffer due to redemptions being almost worthless and having to wait at least 8 Months to a year before they can be decided on. This will be a breaking point for small shops on the fence and surviving day to day as less product equals less demand, equals less profit, combined with the hit they may take on current inventory…I see this decision affecting these people almost immediately. Now the bright and dark side of this depending on what side you are on, it may also drive the prices of cards down due to shops trying to sell current inventory to stay in business until next year. As a Collector, you may get that $50 Card for $25 but its also going to go down in value at the same time.
Second, Let’s say your a retailer and you make it through to next years products….You are going to have to pre-order plenty of product to meet demand and the increased potential of selling out leading to higher prices of product as it gets sold off. Your not going to be able to order 1 case 1 week and another the next week for the same price…Its not going to happen…..and no I do not believe that companies will increase production as then we are taking a step back to the early 90’s when things got out of control, So now as a Retailer you are going to have to sink whatever you can into pre-orders. If you barely managed to survive the dry spell, there’s no way to keep up with the bigger competition and buy enough product to recover.
Third, The Average Collector gets hurt in the process….unless you are willing to pre-order as much product as you might typically break in a year, it is going to be expensive to buy after the initial pre-order phase…can you imagine buying a box of cup 2 weeks after it comes up…It will be insane…You will see pre-order’s of Upper Deck Series 1 going for $75 a box and after 2 weeks you will walk into your local LCS and that same box will be $110 because of all the rookies. The Hundred Dollar and under crowd will walk away from the Hobby as it will be too damn expensive and if you manage to buy a box you better not get 6 mediocre rookies cause we all know that there is always a few in the bunch.
Now the good news, can you imagine all the rookies next year, how do they handle redemptions from this year, XRC’s, and so on and so forth. Its going to be one hell of a chase if your a set builder……….As Much Fun as it will be next year, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth this year as the next few months will be very unexciting in the hobby unless 1 or 2 of the few rookies out there currently are absolutely amazing and I am talking Gretzky/Crosby Rookie Amazing.
Maybe its late and I am tired but, in no way do I see the pros outweighing the cons with this decision except in the fact I will have a good chance of completing the sets I am currently working on as there will be few new releases in the next few months. I encourage your opinions on this and I will be monitoring this situation and posting updates as they happen.