The NHL’s flagship trading card product is back. 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One arrives a couple of weeks after the first puck dropped.
To put it mildly, one of the longest-running traditions for collectors has been Upper Deck’s annual effort. Since the hobby boomed at the start of the 1990-91 season, it has been a consistent force which is usually loaded up with quality game action photography and plenty of rookie card content in the form of the popular Young Guns subset. Throw in solid inserts, parallels, and memorabilia cards and you’ve got the recipe for a popular release – especially if some of those rookies take off in the early stages of the season.
The 2018-19 base set will follow the expected standard of 200 regular cards and 50 short printed Young Guns cards that come once in every four packs. There are some strong carryover freshmen that debuted in 2017-18 that could get cards here like Ryan Donato, Casey Mittelstadt, Eeli Tolvanen, and Ethan Bear. One could also expect several early-season debuts that could include top 2018 draft picks like Rasmus Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov.
Each base set and Young Guns card will have three tough parallel versions. Clear Cuts (1:72) are printed on acetate stock while Exclusives (/100) and High Gloss (/10) return for another season. UD Canvas (1:7) is a partial parallel of the base set on a nice simulated canvas stock. These cards tend to have fantastic photos and many of the Young Guns will get the same treatment, too (1:48).
Inserts are plentiful in 2018-19 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey. UD Portraits (1:6 with Gold Foil and Platinum Blue Foil parallels numbered to 99 or less) and Shooting Stars are a revamped version of Shining Stars and they are a more challenging pull in 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One. Spread over multiple types of packaging, expect Hobby boxes to contain only Centers (1:64), Left Wingers (1:96), and Goalies (1:192). A Black parallel will exist for these, too, and are much tougher to track down.
New for this season are some new insert collections and they each have an interesting focus. 25 Under 25 (1:12) are about the best young stars in the game while Stonewalled (1:6) turns the spotlight on 50 of the league’s top goalies. The recently-retired Jaromir Jagr gets a fitting tribute with Jagr Years (1:12), which looks back at each campaign of his incredible career.
There are also some long-odds inserts that add to the chase. Cup Components is a new addition that falls roughly once per case. Ceremonial Puck Drop and Day With The Cup are both found once in every 2,000 packs and singles perform very well on the secondary market. The card everyone will want in the 2018 NHL Draft SP (1:12,000) and it has a varitation that is six times as tough. As long as Dahlin debuts when the Buffalo Sabres open the schedule, expect that card to feature him.
Expect lots of Clear Cut inserts in 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One as well. Clear Cut Foundations are the most common (1:654) while Clear Cut Leader are like a needle in a haystack (1:8,104). The long-running Clear Cut Honoured Members set is updated with more Hockey Hall of Fame inductees and each of those cards is numbered to 100.
Autographs and Relics
Last up is the memorabilia and autograph program for 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One. The traditional UD Game Jerseys (1:41) are the foundation for it all and have a Game Patch variant that is numbered to only 15 copies. Signature Sensations (1:288) are a case hit and will likely have a checklist that ranges from prospects to established stars and legends.
Some of the insert collections get limited parallels, too. 25 Under 25 will have Jersey (/250) and Patch (/10) while Jagr Years has similar (Jersey and Premium) variants that are numbered our of 68 or 10. Capping things off are UD Canvas Signatures (numbered to uniform) and Ceremonial Puck Drop Auto Parallel (1:16,000).
2018-19 Upper Deck Series 1 cases, boxes, sets, etc., can be found for sale on eBay here.
2018-19 NHL Upper Deck Series 1 Checklist