Well the First Weekend of the shortened season has completed and it has been an interesting weekend in regards to the winners and losers this weekend. With no new rookies included in this year’s set’s except for the few that are currently out there such as Kreider, Schwartz, and Baertschi, I figured I could look at some players that had rookies in previous years sets that might make an impact this year and increase their card values. With this lockout shortened season and teams looking at giving their prospects more of a shot at playing due to the new collective barganing agreement, it could make for a few hidden gems in your collection and a few players you may want to pick up in the meantime in Part 1 of 3.
Anaheim: Devante Smith-Pelley: The guy with the Famous Stamp could be an interesting player to watch this season. Devante is a young hard-nosed gritty player who can go into the corners, create opportunities and with Teemu Selanne defying father time and still scoring goals on an amazing pace, Devante could benefit with some decent points. His cards took a hit with his famous and immature decision to stamp his auto but, they could see a rebound and with few real autos on the market it could be interesting to see where his value goes.
Boston Bruins: Boston is a team where their cards are worth a lot or not worth much. Seguin vs. Everyone Else…Seguin’s cards are insanely priced whereas most of his teammates cards are priced in much more reachable price range. With that being said, 1 player could be the biggest steal and that is Tuukka Rask, who’s cards have been way below most starting goalies in the NHL as he has played behind Tim Thomas for the past few years and with Thomas taking the year off………(Screwed his Team)…..this is the chance for Rask to prove he is a premier starting goalie along the lines of Price, Fleury, and Quick. This may give Boston second thoughts of signing Thomas should he decide to lace up the skates again.
Buffalo Sabres: A team which could be hard pressed to make the playoffs this year based on last years performance added little in the offseason but, Marcus Foligno could be a player to watch. Foligno’s card values have never enjoyed the success of teammate Cody Hodgson. With a shortened season, If Foligno can step up his game and play to his potential he might reach the more lofty price ranges. Another Player who is greatly undervalued outside of Buffalo is Thomas Vanek who had 5 points in their first game, if he is able to keep that pace he could be a favourite for MVP and lead Buffalo into the post season.
Calgary Flames: Well the Big Money is on Flames Rookie Sven Baertschi but, there is a 1 other player who could have an impact this year and that is Roman Horak. Horak had a quiet rookie year for the Flames overshadowed by the Phenom known as RNH just up the road in Edmonton but, still played solidly. If he is paired up with Baertschi, it could make for an interesting combination.
Carolina Hurricanes: This will be the year that will tell us just how good Jordan Staal is, after a few years hiding behind Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh can he break out from the Third Line in Pittsburgh to the top line in Carolina. With Staal having a chance to star on the first line is reason enough to be excited but, being paired with his brother could a statistical explosion and hopefully we can see a resurgence in Drayson Bowman who showed lots of promise of 2010-11 but, fell apart with the sophmore jinx in 11-12. Other players to look at collecting including Justin Faulk, Jeff Skinner and Alex Semin who could be reignited playing with the Staals. 2012-13 could a banner year for collectors of Carolina Hurricane players.
Chicago Blackhawks: 2 Players who have yet to reach their potential are Marcus Kruger and Brandon Saad. Both Players played at both ends of the scale last year and have lots of promise. Chicago is only a few years removed from a cup win, can these 2 become integral parts of a another Stanley Cup Team.
Colorado Avalanche: After being thrown away by the Capitals last year, Semyon Varlamov put together a decent campaign on a young rebuilding squad having played 56 Games for the Avs. His numbers were solid and as the players around him such as Landeskog grow, he could benefit and become an all-star goalie. He’s only 24 with plenty of time to mature and with no challenges for the starting spot he will at least have this season to improve on his numbers.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Almost the entire team is full of young players who have yet to prove themselves on this complete teardown and rebuild they are going thru. That being said most Players Cards are pretty inexpensive, if your willing to wait, they rebuild properly, now might be the time to scoop up as many Columbus Rookies as you can.
Dallas Stars: In regards to Dallas, this is one of the harder teams to really pick apart as it is hard to see how they will do this season. Some People predict them making the playoffs and going at least to the 2nd round and some people predict them fighting for first overall….in the June Entry Draft. 2 Players drawn my attention on Dallas and the first one is Loui Ericksson, this is a player who puts up solid numbers every year, assistant captain and only 27 years old. His Cards are relatively inexpensive compared to other players who put up the same type of numbers and this year he might start to make the rest of the hockey world outside of Dallas know how good he is. Second, Philip Larsen, I see so much potential in this young Defenceman (23) and his cards are usually priced pretty much on the lower end of rookies almost so much so he should be playing in the ECHL. His game has improved steadily over the past years and looks to get better, so much so he could a sleeper all-star in the making.
Detroit Red Wings: This is team that year in and year out does the right things but, this year with the Loss of Lidstrom, Holmstrom and Stuart all leaving it could leave the doors open to the next generation of stars, unfortunetly there isn’t much with the big club which leaves a former leaf as a potential sleeper. Jonas Gustavsson, The Monster and yes I know most of you are shaking your head but, after 2 years under Ron Wilson being in a more stable environment such as Detroit and playing understudy to Howard may have its advantages. We probably won’t see a big rise this year but, he may be a big surprise in year’s to come.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 in the next Few Days…..