by Rich Klein
I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where once June 1st hits we are pretty much resigned to what I call the 90 for 90. That means there are usually 90 consecutive days (or more) where the temperature reaches at least 90 degrees and in many cases passes the 100 degree mark. Which means, of course, for hockey fans, other than the Stanley Cup finals, the NHL draft is coming right up.
One advantage a company like ITG has in preparing for the draft is as a small company with a heavy hockey focus they can build relationships with players before the draft and at that point not have to worry about the league or NHLPA licensing issues. Thus, they can create a product such as the 2013 In the Game Draft Prospects which is the hockey card collector’s route to cards of teenagers who are either about to be drafted or even a year or two away. You won’t find these cards in Upper Deck or Panini boxes since they have to wait until the players are on an NHL roster. With the 2013 draft class creating some waves, there is some cautious optimism that this could be a solid long-term product.
ITG has rounded up over 100 autograph signers and the relic cards are generally well done. This isn’t an exclusively ‘pre-rookie’ product though. You’ll find a lot of cards of familiar names who were drafted and then made their way to the NHL.
This is a middle of the pack product in terms of cost and content. Each box of 2013 Draft Prospects has 12 cards; seven base cards, two relics and three autographs. There are several different subsets in the basic card set and we received cards from four different ones. My local card store does not carry the ITG products but leading online dealers are charging in the $85-100 range.
With just 12 cards, it’s a short box break. As a note, all of our “hits’ were all the silver versions. Here’s what we pulled:
Seven Base Cards: Broken Down like this:
Draft Surprises: Theo Fleury and Doug Gilmour
First Round Picks: Brian Bellows, Mike Bossy, Grant Fuhr
Future Draft Prospect: Jared McCann
Draft Prospect Game Used Jersey: Justin Bailey
Draft Prospect Teammates Jersey: Curtis Lazar, Tristan Jarry
That is five hits and some nice base cards at a $7 per card level which sounds expensive but if any of the three autographed cards of the drafted players excel then in a few years this box will seem like a real bargain. This product was released late last week and hundreds of listings are already on eBay. Click here to see them.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]