2019 NHL Draft Brings Collectors High Hopes

2019 NHL Draft Brings Collectors High Hopes – The 2019 NHL Draft begins next Friday, June 21st at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. With it, comes high hopes for collectors with a new rookie class. This year’s draft is deep, with a talented pool of offensive players. Many of them will be on the fast-track for the teams that select them.

2019 NHL Draft Brings Collectors High Hopes – The Top Four

For sometime now, the assumption has been that Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) would be a lock as the first overall pick. The New Jersey Devils hold that spot and by all accounts and most mock drafts, that’s where he’ll be headed.

However, Kaapo Kakko, of TPS Liiga in Finland, has made the first overall pick debate a lot more heated than anticipated. There’s a solid case for him being a better overall player than Hughes. But money still rests on the young center. That leaves the New York Rangers, holding the number two pick with a pretty easy decision in selecting Kakko.

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the process of rebuilding. After a successful run of winning three Stanley Cups in a span of five years, they are addressing several issues. Aging veterans, little salary cap flexibility and coaching changes are all issues facing GM and VP, Stan Bowman. Selecting at number three, they are the first team in the draft with a real decision to make.

Their choices come down to two equally impressive and dynamic centers. One isAlex Turcotte of the USNTDP and the other, Dylan Cozens of Lethbridge in the WHL. Analysts and scouts for NHL.com made these notes on the two players:

  • Alex Turcotte, C, USA U-18 (NTDP): Turcotte grew up in the Chicago suburbs, where he idolized Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews, and now plays a similar style. Injuries early and late in the season made it tough for scouts to get a read on him, but when they watched him they saw a top-end scoring touch and a relentlessness at both ends of the ice that will make him even better as he adds size (5-11, 185) and strength next season at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL): The Blackhawks have great prospects on defense and now they have a chance to add another explosive young forward up front. The 18-year-old (6-3, 180) is one of the fastest and most threatening forwards in this year’s draft class.

Of the four top players in the draft, only Dylan Cozens has league licensed cards from North America. Cozens has cards in this year’s 2018-19 CHL set from Upper Deck, including autographs. You can see the secondary market pricing for his cards here.

However, because of his current roster status for TPS Liiga, Kaapo Kakko does have cards in a team issued set. It also includes autographed versions of the young Finn. Eager collectors can check out these cards here.

2019 NHL Draft Brings Collectors High Hopes – The Waiting Game

Hockey cards from prospect oriented sets like Upper Deck produces for both the CHL and AHL, seem to be growing in popularity. Also, with the success of the USNTDP and some of the recent players entering the NHL from that program, might their eventually be a licensed set for that league as well? Only time will tell.

One thing is for certain however. Whenever the aforementioned players make their NHL debut, demand for their Upper Deck Young Guns official rookie cards will be on fire. For now, collectors will have to bide their time and be content with what’s currently available, as sparse as that may be for now.

Rob Bertrand

Director of Marketing at GTS Distribution - Sports & Entertainment
Rob has been involved in developing hobby related, multi-media content for over 18-years. An avid collector himself, he is the former co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. Rob got his start on the business side of the hobby as the lead content developer for Card Corner Club before the site’s merger with Cardboard Connection. He also has an extensive article archive on the collectibles website WorthPoint as one of their sports card and memorabilia experts. In addition to hobby related news coverage, he has also been a contributor for Sportsology.net.