Hobby Outposts from the North: Trades and collections – While the majority of hobby world was focused this past weekend on the NFC and AFC Championship games, the NHL saw one of the biggest trades in recent memory as the Winnipeg Jets sent Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to Columbus for Pierre-Luc Dubois.
That all three players moved is not shocking. Each, in their own way, made it clear that they weren’t happy in their current surroundings. Analysts have set about deciding who “won” the trade, but in the hobby world, there’s much different activity going on, as collectors make moves on all three names, deciding whether to acquire, keep or clear their cards of each player
From the start, as a Jets fan, I was excited about Laine when we drafted him second overall in 2016. As a collector, I couldn’t wait to get my mitts on his cards and scooped up a few in short order. The same anticipation came with Roslovic a year prior and, because he was priced much lower, I was able to secure a couple higher end cards. Going to the Manitoba Moose to start his pro career allowed me to meet Roslovic and get a puck autographed, one of a select few that I have in my collection currently.
Now, with both players gone, I’m left with a decision to make – keep the collectibles or part with them by way of sale or trade.
This is the debate that every team collector goes through when a major player moves. Players lower down on the rollcall list are usually going to end up being easy fodder for small deals, if they can move at all. At one point I was attempting to build a collection of Jets 2.0 signatures and picked up the likes of Eric Tangradi and Quinton Howden for a song. Now, with those players long gone and the project dismissed, I have cards that I might only be able to flip amid a package deal.
Laine and Roslovic are another story though. Aside from both being first rounders, each has a bright career ahead, Laine in particular. This makes the judgement call hard, because I could either flip them now while they’re buzzworthy or keep a hold on them for the pure speculation of what their cards will climb to in value over time.
The X factor in deciding to sell is the reality that now I will have Dubois cards to chase down now, and it will be harder to find his cards at decent prices. For one, I will be competing with other Jets fans for his cards; but what makes it even tougher is that, as a French-Canadian Superstar, I am also up against a collector base who loves to go after provincial heroes, regardless of the team. As such, swapping Laine out will open card budget for the newest arrival and potentially have some shekels left for rookies like Logan Stanley.
Then there’s the other part of the team collector in me – the “remember the good times” collector who would keep the pieces as a memory of what once was. This part of the collector has held a Dustin Byfuglien autographed puck and RCs from Jacob Trouba and Andrew Ladd among others, potentially well past their highest value dates. Would I swap them now, a few years removed from their glory days in the Jets colors? Certainly, particularly with a big rollover in roster.
Other collectors would surely quake at the thought of parting with these players. Completists, after all, will hold onto any card attained. I used to be among them admittedly, and am still just a couple cards shy of having every Winnipeg Jet card produced by one of the major companies in the 1980s (it’s a couple box bottoms that elude me, for the record); but even the die-hardest collector will see the wisdom in passing off some of the higher dollar cards while retaining a couple from lesser-value sets or more recent base cards whilst parting with RCs.
Ultimately, being a lower-dollar collector, the decision isn’t going to be that impactful. It’s not like I invested a couple hundred bucks in a nameplated jersey or purchased game-used equipment; but the decision does have to be taken carefully. We’ve all made deals we went on to regret, and I don’t want that to happen. After all, crazy things tend to happen in sport, and it’s entirely possible that Laine and/or Roslovic will be back in a Jets uniform before they retire.