With the release of 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey, this coming Wednesday, February 25th, hockey fans and collectors will have a whole new crop of rookie cards to chase in what has already been an exciting year for prospectors. A complete checklist and HUGE image gallery are already available for viewing. Here is a look at just some of the Young Guns to Watch in Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey.
Jonathan Drouin – Left Wing – Tampa Bay Lightning, Drouin was the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He has made the successful transition from junior hockey to the NHL. In 51 games, to date, Drouin has 2 goals and 22 assists. He is card number 477 on the 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey checklist.
Andre Burakovsky – Left Wing – Washing Captials, Burakovsky was the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He has fit right in with the Capitals offense tallying 21 points on 9 goals and 12 assists in 45 games to date. He has spent several minutes on a line with superstar Alexander Ovechkin and the two could eventually prove to be a potent tandem. He is card number 467 on the 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey checklist.
Both Drouin and Burakovsky were early Calder Trophy contenders as the NHL’s top rookie. Although they have fallen off the scoring pace to the likes of Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau and Aaron Ekblad both of these young scorers are gifted talents and should have long and productive NHL careers.
While all of the Young Guns on the 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey checklist have the potential of being NHL stars, it often takes a while for players to mature and acclimate to the league to realize their full potential. Here are some other players fans and collectors should keep an eye on coming out with their official Young Guns rookie cards.
Darnell Nurse – Defense – Edmonton Oilers, Nurse was the 7th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He started the 2014-15 season after captaining the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL to the playoffs. Nurse was sent back down after just two games. However, that shouldn’t keep collectors from being gun shy when it comes to pursuing his rookie cards. Compared in many ways to former superstar, Chris Pronger, Nurse has the size, speed, skill, pedigree and brains to make it in the NHL. Given the Oilers current woes, the front office is grooming nurse slowly rather than running the risk of crushing his optimism. He is card number 457 on the 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey checklist. Our friends, Russ Cohen and David Wright had the opportunity to speak with Nurse at the 2014-15 NHLPA Rookie Showcase.
He has spent time in almost every major professional hockey league including the AHL, CHL, ECHL and USHL just to name a few. Needing a third goalie, the cash-strapped Chicago Blackhawks turned to Darling in the off-season and signed him to contract. The club assigned him to their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
Sure enough, injuries to both of Chicago’s roster goalies, Antti Ranta and Corey Crawford, required Darling’s call-up. He made the most of the opportunity in the seven games in which he appeared. He posted a record of 5-2, with a goals against average of 1.97 and a .937 and a save percentage. Truly impressive numbers for a guy that hasn’t been able to “stick” at the NHL level. He is card number 498 on the 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey checklist.