After a shocking regular season debut where the Vegas Golden Knights made history by finishing first in the NHL’s Pacific Division, the league’s newest team is on a playoff tear as well.
While most expansion teams in any sport are often mired near the bottom of the standings, the Golden Knights have come together to defy expectations and not only swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, but also knocked the San Jose Sharks out to make it to the Western Conference Final where they downed the powerful Winnipeg Jets.
In the process, they became the the sixth NHL team to make it to the Stanley Cup Final in its first playoff appearance. What makes this run particularly special is the fact that they are an expansion club that most predicted would not even make the postseason. Fan support is incredible and is growing beyond that as they continue to defy the odds. Golden Knights Stanley Cup memorabilia has been flying off the shelves.
Even though many names on the roster were relatively unknown to the vast majority of hockey fans, the solid goaltending of three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury and prime performances from William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault, collectors have taken notice.
Here are some quick thoughts on Vegas Golden Knights rookie cards that collectors everywhere should know.
A Minnesota Wild castoff, Tuch made his cardboard debut in early-season products in 2017-18. Starting with 2017-18 Upper Deck Series One, he was featured in his new jersey. As we move toward the season’s high-end releases, there are some great options on the market like the Future Watch Auto from 2017-18 SP Authentic that is limited to 999 copies.
While his Autograph Rookie Patch from the yet-to-be released The Cup will likely be the ultimate fan favorite, an underrated option is from 2017-18 SP Game Used as it is numbered to 89 – the same digits that appear on his jersey.
Because of how expansion teams are put together, not many Golden Knights rookie cards actually picture a player in a Las Vegas uniform but Tuch is the exception.
Fleury’s performance throughout the year and into the playoffs demonstrates that he has not slowed down one bit after 14 seasons. The former first overall pick has been a regular in sets since his debut back in 2003-04 and traditionally did well thanks to playing in a strong hockey market like Pittsburgh.
Debuting in an era where autographed rookie cards were starting to come into vogue, the one that came in packs of 2003-04 Parkhurst Rookie is a true winner. With just 100 copies made, it features a piece of a game-used jersey as well. The 2003-04 Upper Deck Premier ARP is also getting lots of solid secondary market action and there are only 99 copies out there. As for traditional cardboard, his Young Guns piece from 2003-04 Upper Deck Series One is simply a must-have.
A breakout performer in 2017-18, Marchessault was showing some signs of promise as he hit the 30-goal mark in Florida before Vegas snagged him in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. While he did not match that total for tallies, he did post career highs with 48 assists an 75 points.
There are several affordable rookie cards for him out there, but the best bang for your buck is the 2013-14 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket autograph.
No one could have possibly predicted that Karlsson would have led the Golden Knights with 43 goals and 78 points and interest in his rookie cards from 2014-15 products increased each time he lit the lamp. Over the previous three campaigns, he never had more than nine goals in a season and he should have a bright future in Sin City. He led the league with a +49 rating, too.
Karlsson’s Young Guns card (2014-15 Upper Deck #201) is a consistent seller, but there are a handful of Autographed Rookie Patch cards out there from products like UD Premier, Fleer Showcase, and The Cup that are getting plenty of love as well.
Prior to joining the Golden Knights, Smith had 20-goal seasons in both Boston and Florida. He hit that milestone again in 2017-18 but he has been an effective playmaker in the postseason this year with 10 assists over 10 contests.
Back in the shortened 2012-13 season, Smith’s rookie cards came out with little fanfare, but collectors may want to take a flyer on them now – especially those with autographs and memorablia from The Cup or Panini Prime.
Haula is another gem that the Golden Knights got during the Expansion Draft and the Minnesota Wild are certainly regretting having left him exposed. After notching 29 goals combined in 2015-16 and 2016-17, he matched that total in his debut with Vegas.
Part of 2013-14 Dual Rookie Class, there are just four different options out there for folks that want his first cards – three of which can be found in packs of Panini’s Rookie Anthology release. The gem of that group? Easily the Titanium rookie card numbered to 56 copies.
A local favorite and Las Vegas resident, Engelland has been around the block after playing for both Pittsburgh and Calgary. The big defender has never put up a lot of points, but he hit career marks with 18 assists and 23 points this year. The team’s nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his service to the community, he only has two rookie cards on the market. The 2009-10 SP Authentic Future Watch card is numbered to 999, but it will be a challenge to find the one from that years’s Be A Player (#’d to 99).
Some of Engelland’s most popular cards aren’t rookies, but those issued this season.
Other solid Golden Knights players to consider picking up rookie cards for include James Neal, Malcolm Subban and Shea Theodore. You can see them for sale and auction here.