Slated to arrive in hobby shops around the time the Stanley Cup Final begins, 2017-18 Upper Deck NHL Premier has been an increasingly popular release in recent years. Collectors are going to be cracking open tins once again in order to get their hands on hard-signed Acetate Rookie Auto Patches of this season’s freshman class.
Collectors can expect to find one of the coveted Acetate Rookie Auto Patches inside those seven-card tins. They are split into two levels that are numbered out of 199 or 299 – with the scarcer cards likely to feature the most prominent new stars like Charlie McAvoy, Brock Boeser, and Clayton Keller.
In addition to potentially finding a big rookie hit, tins will contain two base set cards and four additional autograph or memorabilia cards.
Base Set Boasts Stars and Legends
It is expected that the base set for 2017-18 Upper Deck NHL Premier is going to include many of the league’s biggest active stars, but a handful of legends will be included as well. Each base card of a current veteran player is serial-numbered to 249 while the Legends are a tougher pull since they are limited to 149 copies each.
There will be a rookie card component within the base set, too, and the roster is split into two tiers (/199 or /399). This likely means that the previously mentioned Acetate Rookie Auto Patches will not be considered part of the base set if they are numbered after the standard rookie cards or have their own unique numbering scheme.
Autograph and memorabilia versions of many base cards are also part of the lineup and Base Set Jerseys arrive once in every other tin on average. There are some scarcer collections that retain the base set theme as well, including Premium Material (varied numbering), Neckline (/6), and Tag (/3). Base Set Legends Jerseys (1:20) are also being inserted. The base parallel that could command the most attention on the secondary market, though, are the Platinum Blue Spectrum Autographs that are numbered to five.
As for the new crop of players, Rookie Jerseys (1:2) are certainly a staple in Premier and have some parallels with premium materials, too, such as Rookie Patch (/36), Rookie Neckline (/6), and Rookie Tag (/3). There is also plenty of fresh ink with the Class of 2018 in the form of Rookie Silver Spectrum Autos (Tier 1 is 1:3, Tier 2 is 1:25). However, there are at least a couple of players that will have unsigned Rookie Silver Spectrum cards as both Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier have exclusive deals that preclude them from having their signatures in Upper Deck products.
All Autographs Hard-Signed
Getting back to the Acetate Rookie Auto Patches, these card are also expected to have a Platinum Blue edition. These cards will be a bit more plentiful with 25 copies produced. Two of the classic Premier Rookie Auto Patch designs from the past are once again going to resurface and we will get to see today’s hot prospects with the looks that ruled the hobby well over a decade ago. The 2002-03 and 2003-04 Rookie Auto Patch Tributes see two different tiers for the earlier campaign (/49 or /15 with Gold variations /15 and /5) and just a single tier for those with the 2003-04 design (/99, Gold /15).
It should be noted that there are 2003-04 Non-Auto Patch Tribute cards (/99, Gold /15) and Acetate Non-Auto Patch (/99 and Platinum Blue /10) cards that are likely to feature Hischier and Patrick.
The autograph program continues with concepts like Acetate Stars Auto Patch (/49 or /25, Platinum Blue /5), Inked Script, Signature Award Winners, Signature Champions. Magnificent Marks (1:4) will be easier to locate.
Booklets have been a big part of Premier since it was relaunched in this format and Premier Signature Booklets are a collector favorite. Relatively easy to get at 1:5 tins for the single-signed cards, there will be great interest in the Premier Dual Signature Booklets (/20 or /40) that include such combinations as Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid.
One of the best aspects of 2017-18 Upper Deck NHL Premier is its inclusion of Mega Patch cards which are sure to make even some of the most jaded collectors take notice. The large pieces embedded into the hand-numbered cards come from areas of the jersey, including Chest Logos, Shoulder Logos (/3), Sleeve Numbers (/4) and even Commemorative Logos (/3) in some cases. Managing to collect a full run for a specific card creates an amazing hobby treasure with tremendous visual appeal as well.
Mega Goalie Pads (/10) flashes a big hunk of puck-stopping leather and the demand for any card from this set could be quite high. There are also some multi-player Mega cards featuring either patches or pieces of game-used sticks. Both of these collections will be numbered to 25.
Premiere Gear and Premiere Gear Rookies are both tough-to-find memorabilia collections as each card has only three copies on the market. For those that want more than one player on their cards, look for Premier Duals (/99) and Premier Trios (/75) that come with traditional jersey pieces or with Premium swatches that are numbered to 15 or less. Even better than those are the Premier Quads (/25 or /49, Premium /5 or /10) which have four different players depicted. Single-player Premier Swatches are all going to have varied numbering.
One of the most interesting additions to Premier happens to be NHL Legendary Sticks. Collectors will get a chance at some historic pieces of lumber and they going to be seeded at a reasonable 1:40 ratio.
Rare Inked Tins
Upper Deck has surprised some case breakers of this product in recent years with rare tins signed by the athlete on the lid. This season, the element of surprise is gone, but everyone is going to be checking their tins to see if it was signed by Gretzky, a longtime Upper Deck spokesman. Randomly inserted into cases, it is certainly an intriguing bonus and each one will come with a Certificate of Authenticity from the company.
2017-18 Upper Deck NHL Premier is scheduled to be released on June 6.
2017-18 Upper Deck hockey products are available at SportsMemorabilia.com.