Which L.A. Kings Players have the Most Hobby Love to Gain in the 2014 NHL® Stanley Cup Final?
Posted On 06 Jun 2014 / 2 Comments
Watching the NHL® Stanley Cup Final is a thrill for any fan. For NHL® collectors however, there is another layer of interest as based on the player’s performance, the value of card collections could be on the rise. I took the time to talk with some of the hockey staff here about who some of the Los Angeles Kings players are who have the most to gain with a strong Stanley Cup Final. Here is what we came up with:
Drew Doughty — If there is a defenseman in the NHL that could join Subban's one-man, top-tier of defensemen in NHL hockey card collectors' minds, it's the Kings' No. 8. True, he plays on the West Coast and his games typically start about the time fans back east are tucking into bed, and Los Angeles can never compare to Montreal as a hockey market, but Doughty might be the best defenseman on the planet. He's only 24 and has already won a Cup and two Olympic gold medals, including leading Team Canada in points in Sochi a few months ago (tied at six with Shea Weber, also a defender). With his incredible highlight-reel goal Wednesday in Game 1 of the Final, he surpassed his postseason points total from 2012 when the Kings won it all, and if the Kings win the Cup again this spring, Doughty is the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy this time around. There aren't many blueliners with the skill level, reflexes and presence of mind to score the goal he did that drew L.A. even at 2-2 in the second period of Game 1.
Justin Williams — Williams is not a big name in collecting circles, and he's far from the biggest star on the Kings roster, but he's firmly established himself as one of the most clutch players in hockey today and in the history of the game. Seven times a team he's played for has competed in a Game 7, seven times Justin Williams' team has prevailed — including three times this spring and four in the last two seasons with LA. He has seven goals in those win-or-go-home matchups, tied with Glenn Anderson for the most ever. And with two points in last Sunday's overtime win in Game 7 over the Blackhawks, Williams owns that record all to himself. He's more than a role player, and he deserves some love from collectors.
Tyler Toffoli & Tanner Pearson — Perhaps no players in these playoffs have seen their values spike more already than these youngsters. There are healthy Kings players who were regulars on the club that won the Stanley Cup two years ago that are now watching from the press box as this team marches toward another possible championship, and it's because Toffoli and Pearson forced their way into the lineup and demanded to stay with their tremendous play. Usually teamed together with sniper Jeff Carter on what has become affectionately known as "That Seventies Line," (all three have jersey numbers in the 70s), the youngsters have made the most of their opportunities. Toffoli's seven playoff goals rank fourth on the team behind only Gaborik, Carter and Williams, and all three of them average significantly more minutes per game. Pearson, the final pick of the first round in 2012 by virtue of L.A. winning it all that year, has 12 points and is second on the team with a plus-10 following Game 1 of the Final, meaning he's chipping in offensively and more than taking care of business in his own end.
Honorable mention — Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik have earned an honorable mention. These guys are all well-established NHL stars and as such collectors probably won't adjust their perceived value too much. Quick, Carter and Kopitar have already accomplished great things in their careers (Cup winners in 2012, Olympic gold medals for Carter in both 2010 and 2014). It would be tough for Quick to improve on his play in backstopping L.A. to the championship and winning the Conn Smythe in 2012, and while Carter has already far exceeded the 13 points he put up that spring, he's been a top player in the league for several years. Kopitar has led the team in points every season he's played in the NHL except for his first.
Marian Gaborik, on the other hand, is in uncharted waters, having never played in a Final series before. He's led the Kings with 12 goals so far and without question has been the best acquisition any team made at this year's trade deadline. Simply put, L.A. wouldn't still be playing without him in its lineup. How that translates in the industry remains to be seen, but he definitely seems rejuvenated after his stardom seemed to stagnate a little in his final years with the Rangers and then with Columbus. He does have a strong base of fans in terms of collectors who are rooting him on. To date Upper Deck has not issued any cards of Gaborik with the Kings so when they do start to make their way to the market, they should command a bit of a premium with 2014-15 NHL® MVP.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? Let us know and enjoy the 2014 NHL® Stanley Cup Final!