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Every season Upper Deck works with the NHLPA to determine a cutoff date for the creation of new rookie cards for players called up late in the season. The main reason for the cutoff date is that so many products would have released, to allow a player to only appear in a finite amount of late season releases doesn’t really do them or collectors justice. Most of the later season products are higher-end as well so to allow a late season call-up to appear in a full season’s worth of releases is in the best interest of the hobby.
As we enter one of the most highly anticipated rookie classes in recent history for the 2015-16 season, we are also diving into a season where the holdover class is probably one of the strongest in recent years. While many of these players have already been featured in Upper Deck Team Canada or AHL products, collectors will be able to score true rookie cards of these young stars immediately out of packs of products like 2015-16 NHL® MVP, O-Pee-Chee , Overtime and Upper Deck Aritifacts.
Check out some of the top players to look for today!
Slater Koekkoek: A first round pick for Tampa in 2012, Koekkoek finally got his chance late last season with 3 games where he finished at an even +/-. He is known more as an offensive defenseman, possessing a heavy and accurate shot. He is a great play-maker and able to make a great first pass out of the defensive zone.
Malcolm Subban: Early in his young career Subban has shown signs of greatness. He was a starting goalie for Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship. He had two impressive seasons in the AHL posting records of 10-15-5 and 16-13-4 for the Providence Bruins. He is very athletic with a lot of size and has explosive lateral movements.
Kevin Fiala: A native of Switzerland and possibly a sign of good things to come for the Predators. He possesses great balance on his skates, and is able to be a very shifty player with plenty of twists and turns. Having already played 33 games in the AHL, Fiala should be able to develop his game faster than most his age.
Jacob de la Rose: The Captain of Sweden at the 2015 World Junior Championships, Jacob he can be a powerhouse. He was a late season call-up for the Habs, who ended up sticking around to play out the season. He was acquired through a trade that sent Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville in exchange for a draft pick that Montreal would later use to select him. Standing 6’3″ and 207 lbs, de la Rose can play with an edge and a lot of intensity.
Sam Bennett: Taken 4th overall by Calgary in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Bennett is a proven skilled player. His late call-up proved to the Flames he was that special player they were looking for. He has immense puck handling and play-making abilities as well as a great shot, coupled with a physical, well rounded game in all three zones.
Jamie McKenzie is an Oilers fan and passionate Upper Deck collector living in Ottawa, who eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey year-round!