Today we continue our look at the potential collectability of the rookie hopefuls who are entering camps this fall. If they can make their respective teams this season, they’ll receive rookie cards in Upper Deck and Panini products. Otherwise, you’ll need to look for them within In The Game products for another year.

Mark Scheifele (7th Overall – Winnipeg Jets)

A good player on a bad team always makes a player very difficult to rate… and the Barrie Colts were a very bad team in the OHL this season. Some might think that this power forward was drafted somewhat high for this reason too. The return of the Winnipeg Jets will make many Jets players highly collectable this upcoming season. The last time that Winnipeg drafted a player, it was also 7th overall. That forward was a power forward by the name of Shane Doan. Collectability Quotient (CQ) – B+

Sean Couturier (8th Overall – Philadelphia Flyers)

Last year, Couturier was projected as a Top 3 draft pick. This season, scouts were undecided if he would be the next Vincent Lecavalier or the next Keith Primeau. He is big and has great offensive skill but will it translate to anything more than 65 points in the NHL? Philadelphia has cleaned house with the trades involving Jeff Carter and Mike Richards so Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier could be their future. Flyer fans should love this big centreman regardless of where his point totals end up. CQ – B+

Dougie Hamilton (9th Overall – Boston Bruins)

Character, size, aggressiveness, and offensive upside. If only he wasn’t a defenseman. When Hamilton makes the NHL, he’ll end up as a captain someday and a 25-minutes per game player. Being a Bruin means that he’ll be coveted by the Original Six fans in Beantown. In the grand scheme, Hamilton will more than likely be in the big leagues for a long time but only collectors of his team will really care. CQ – C

Next Time – Draft Picks 10 thru 12

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Today we continue our look at the potential collectability of the rookie hopefuls who are entering camps this fall. If they can make their respective teams this season, they’ll receive rookie cards in Upper Deck and Panini products. Otherwise, you’ll need to look for them within In The Game products for another year.

Adam Larsson (4th Overall – New Jersey Devils)

There were some scouts who thought that Larsson might be picked first overall.  The large Swedish defenseman has been playing with men in the Swedish Elite League and has not looked out of place. He excels in his position, however, being a defenseman always means a knock to a player’s collectability. Some compare him to a young Nicklas Lidstrom but on Draft Night, TSN said he was comparable to Sami Salo. Did anyone get terribly excited over pulling Victor Hedman cards? Collectability Quotient (CQ) – B-

Ryan Strome (5th Overall – New York Islanders)

Everyone knows that John Tavares is a special player. What everyone doesn’t know is who he will make his mark on the NHL with. Could it be Ryan Strome? With 106 points in the OHL this season, Strome has skill to burn. If you’re looking for some highlights, check out YouTube. He projects to be a big playmaking forward and the Islanders have to be good soon… right? CQ – B+

Mika Zibanejad (6th Overall – Ottawa Senators)

One Swedish Senator’s career is coming to an end and another could be starting soon. The Swedish hockey program is also showing phenomenal progress as Zibanejad was the 3rd Swede selected within the Top 6 picks of the NHL Draft. Playing against grown men in the Swedish Elite League, Zibanejad was not given the opportunity to shine but the skating and the physicality cannot be ignored. Senator fans are fickle. No one cares about Spezza and no one cared about Heatley or Emery. CQ – C+

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Each NHL Entry Draft brings a new sense of hope to each and every NHL team. From the 1st overall pick to the final pick of the two-day process, teams look for genuine stars, grinders, stoppers, and diamonds in the rough.

Last year, many collectors already had Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin on their want-lists. Their collectability was on solid ground. But this season brings about quite a few players which haven’t had as much press.

Today brings Part One of our look at the collectability quotient of the newest crop of potential future NHLers. Although many of these players are currently available within In The Game products, their first true rookie cards will not appear until they make an appearance in an NHL regular season game.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st Overall – Edmonton Oilers)

Nugent-Hopkins has top level skill and skating abilities. In addition, he will now be part of the young stud freakshow in Edmonton with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi. However, with all of the youth presently in Edmonton and Nugent-Hopkins being only 170 lbs., his debut may not occur until the 2012-13 season as opposed to this fall. If this happens, In The Game will continue to carry his cards but his official rookie cards won’t appear this season from Upper Deck or Panini. Nugent-Hopkins scored 106 and is a top-level talent, get in early and get in fast.  Collectability Quotient (CQ) – A+

Gabriel Landeskog (2nd Overall – Colorado Avalanche)

A 17-year old from Sweden captaining a team in the OHL? That’s quite a compliment. As a former roommate of Jeff Skinner, could he follow in Skinner’s footsteps? Whereas Nugent-Hopkins may spend another season in the WHL, Landeskog is NHL-ready and could join another skilled youngster by the name of Matt Duchene. He’ll score goals and he’ll be heavily collected in North America and in his native Sweden.  Collectability Quotient (CQ) – A+

Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd Overall – Florida Panthers)

Like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau also scored over 100 points this season. However, also like Nugent-Hopkins, he has a slight frame and will need to develop muscle to complement his impressive skill level. This will likely mean a debut in 2012-13, at the earliest. Playing for the Panthers will hurt his visibility as will his potential delay in arriving at the NHL level.  Collectability Quotient (CQ) – B

Next Time – Draft Picks #4 thru #6

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Tomorrow we begin our look at the collectability of the young stars from the most recent 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Here are some of last years highlights:

Taylor Hall (1st Overall – Edmonton Oilers)

Although no one will mistake Taylor Hall as the next-coming of Wayne Gretzky, he is a special player who wins everywhere he goes. With gold medals from the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, the IIHF World U18 Championships, and the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in 2008 and a pair of Memorial Cup MVPs in 2009 and 2010 with Windsor, Hall is one remarkable youngster. Having an excited collector base in Edmonton, as well as the hype that has followed him since he turned fourteen, Hall is on the cusp of hobby stardom.  Collectability Quotient (CQ) – A+

Jeff Skinner (7th Overall – Carolina Hurricanes)

Was he the steal of the draft? Or was he drafted far too high? Entering draft weekend, The Hockey News had Skinner ranked 25th on their prospect list, so many teams were surprised. But there are no surprises in how Skinner plays his game. It’s goals, goals, and more goals. Scoring 50 goals in 64 games for Kitchener, Skinner could be the sniper that Eric Staal needs. Unfortunately, Skinner will be playing for the Hurricanes. Collectability Quotient (CQ) – B

Cam Fowler (12th Overall – Anaheim Ducks)

Fowler was predicted to go much higher in the draft but kept slipping and slipping. Luckily for the Ducks, he made it all the way to them in the 12th spot. With Scott Niedermayer hanging up his skates, Fowler will be counted on much sooner than later. A great skater with phenomenal offensive prowess, Fowler should put up lots of points over his career. Being a defenseman hurts his collectabillty. Need an example? Who gets excited about pulling a Mike Green card? (CQ) – B

Starting tomorrow, Canada Card World will weigh-in on the Top 3 picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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By Jon Bois at SB Nation:

I recently picked up a 15-year-old issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly that was waiting around in a box in my parents’ house. Half the advertisements in the magazine stressed “collectability,” which isn’t even a word. That was the selling point: They were collectable.

That’s so absolutely insane that we really need to discuss it at length at some point in the future, but I bring it up today because I’m going to talk about Topps Big. If it’s possible for a set of cards to be “uncollectable” (my spell check accepts “collectable” but not “uncollectable,” which is our surest sign that the entire idea is unfiltered bulls***), then Topps Big is certainly uncollectable.

Topps Big was a stand-alone set of baseball cards that was produced from 1988 to 1990. The Internet claims that they went over big in their prime, but I didn’t get my hands on them until years later, when packs of them were crammed into those weird plastic cubes Wal-Mart sold with labels that claimed, “GUARANTEED TO CONTAIN AT LEAST $20 IN VALUE!”

We can, at least, concede that technically speaking, Topps Big came as advertised. The cards were 12 percent larger than standard cards, which is not nearly large enough to be especially awesome/cool/radical/whatever, but which is large enough to mean that they won’t fit anywhere. They were too big to fit in sleeves, or baseball card binders, or anything else built for the purpose of storing baseball cards. These cards, then, were shoved into a shoebox or under my bed.

So that’s that. Topps Big, a set of stupid cards that were completely worthless and not fun at all because there was nowhere good to actually put them. Oh, and also, they were racist!

Those who claim racism is everywhere are not exaggerating by much, and it’s rare for a medium as prolific and long-standing as sports cards to have a history completely un-checkered by racism. As far as I can recall, even throughout the Jim Crow era, sports cards have committed no significant offenses… except for Topps Big.

The back of each card featured silly comics that acted out pieces of trivia. In these comics, every player was white. Barry Bonds was white. Barry Bonds’ dad was white.

Taking a black guy and being all like “yep nope you’re white” is a fairly offensive thing to do. I don’t know how it happened. My best guess is that Topps contracted the cartoons out to an artist who never watched baseball and didn’t know who any of the players were. He was probably hip to the fact that some guys who played baseball were not white, but didn’t take the trouble to identify which weren’t. Upon receiving the art, someone at Topps surely let out a big old “WHOOOOPS,” but the check had already been written.

Of course, they did this for three years, so… maybe they held an exceptional comic book-style obsession with continuity? Maybe? That’s it, making excuses for you guys is too hard. I give up. Y’all racist as hell.

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