While fans of Canadian NHL® franchises and the Buffalo Sabres haven’t had much to cheer about during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will be cheering at the 2016 NHL Draft™. Canadian franchises and the Buffalo Sabres (host of the 2016 NHL Draft) have eight of the top 12 spots with the Winnipeg Jets and the Toronto Maple Leafs have the #1 pick. It is a Draft that could change the course of history for all these franchises and with Canadians so passionate about their teams it could mean huge interest in rookie cards next season.
“With the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets having the first two selections in the 2016 NHL Draft™, the players those teams are selecting are bound to have an impact in the hobby once they make their respective professional debuts since both markets have traditionally strong collecting communities,” said Beckett Hockey Editor Stephen Laroche. “Those of us that watched the 2016 IIHF World Championship got a great look at both Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine and they both performed at a level which demonstrated that they are indeed ready for NHL® action. The hype behind both of them is certainly justified and they are poised to become collector favorites.”
“Should Matthews be selected by the Maple Leafs, he will be an instant franchise player. The team is in a rebuilding process and has several other great players that should play in 2016-17 like William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, and Mitch Marner that should help make them a serious contender in the near future. If Laine becomes a member of the Winnipeg Jets, he will be an impact player there and helps form a strong nucleus of young talent that is on the cusp of being a major force as well.”
“One of the most intriguing aspects of this draft is the amount of second generation talent that teams can choose from. Names like Matthew Tkachuk, Alexander Nylander, Jakob Chychrun, Max Jones, Logan Brown, and Kieffer Bellows are regarded as potential first rounders. While it may take some time for them to make it, they all have great potential. Other talents worth keeping an eye on in the coming years are the highly-rated Jesse Puljujarvi and Pierre-Luc Dubois, but gifted scorer Alex DeBrincat may prove to be a steal in the latter stages of the first round.”
While all these picks have the potential to impact the league and the NHL trading card category, fans will have to wait for November to see their first cards in 2016-17 NHL® Upper Deck Series One. Each of the Canadian franchises and the Buffalo Sabres have incredible players who they drafted previously making an impact today. To celebrate that, Upper Deck has created a special 16-card Draft set that will be available in mid-June around the Draft.
The 2016 Upper Deck NHL Draft™ Set will feature two players from each of the Canadian franchises and the Buffalo Sabres. Each four-card pack will be available to shops throughout Canada as a gift with purchase through Universal Distribution for NHL Draft Parties the company is hosting. Upper Deck NHL Draft packs will also be available in the Buffalo region at Dave & Adam’s (including at their booth for the 2016 NHL Draft), Bases Loaded, The Cardstore and My Favorite Sports Store. Here’s the checklist along with imagery for the set:
|Jack Eichel||Buffalo Sabres||DRAFT-1|
|Sam Reinhart||Buffalo Sabres||DRAFT-2|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Calgary Flames||DRAFT-3|
|Sam Bennett||Calgary Flames||DRAFT-4|
|Connor McDavid||Edmonton Oilers||DRAFT-5|
|Taylor Hall||Edmonton Oilers||DRAFT-6|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Montreal Canadiens||DRAFT-7|
|Carey Price||Montreal Canadiens||DRAFT-8|
|Erik Karlsson||Ottawa Senators||DRAFT-9|
|Mark Stone||Ottawa Senators||DRAFT-10|
|Morgan Rielly||Toronto Maple Leafs||DRAFT-11|
|Nazem Kadri||Toronto Maple Leafs||DRAFT-12|
|Bo Horvat||Vancouver Canucks||DRAFT-13|
|Jake Virtanen||Vancouver Canucks||DRAFT-14|
|Jacob Trouba||Winnipeg Jets||DRAFT-15|
|Nikolaj Ehlers||Winnipeg Jets||DRAFT-16|
Worthy of note, there will be some exchange cards for memorabilia signed at the 2016 NHL Draft that will be exclusive to each of the markets. For example, Winnipeg Jets exchange cards will be available ONLY in packs sent to Winnipeg and Buffalo Sabres exchange cards will be available ONLY in packs sent to Buffalo. Additionally, a special unannounced insert is available for the timeless legend Jaromir Jagr (Card-0).
We want to encourage all hockey fans in attendance to stop by the Upper Deck booth on the main concourse of the First Niagara Center for what should be a memorable experience during the 2016 NHL Draft™. Here is just some of what we have going on for the Draft!
Personalized Upper Deck NHL® Draft Trading Cards – Have you always dreamed of one day being on an Upper Deck trading card? Well now is your chance at the 2016 NHL® Draft where Upper Deck will have a professional photographer onsite to shoot fans and then print actual Upper Deck NHL® Draft trading cards for them on site. Fans just need to sign-up for Upper Deck e-Pack™ and show they are a member of the online platform as they get into line. Kids under the age of 18 can get their cards done for free as long as they have an adult with them who is a member of Upper Deck e-Pack™.
Puck-O Wrapper Redemption – Remember that game show where you drop the disc down a board to score a cool prize? Upper Deck will be bringing our own version of that to the 2016 NHL Draft™ with our Puck-O game where fans can drop a special puck down a board to score the cool prize. Fans only need to bring two sealed (2) packs of 2015-16 NHL Upper Deck Series Two, 2015-16 NHL Upper Deck Full Force or 2015-16 NHL Fleer Showcase to play. Fans can win cool prizes like 2016 Upper Deck NHL Draft™ 5×7 cards, insert cards, collector’s binders, Upper Deck slingpacks and more!
FREE Autograph Signing with Noah Hanifin – He was the fifth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and had a solid rookie season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Noah Hanifin will be on hand to sign FREE autograph Upper Deck 5×7’s at the Upper Deck booth on Saturday, June 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Behind the scenes the Upper Deck Team will be busy running draft picks through the gauntlet. Have you always wondered what happens after you are drafted? Check out this behind-the-scenes look at running the NHL® Draft Gauntlet!.
Additionally, fans should check out Dave & Adam’s Group Breaks on Saturday taking place in the Upper Deck area with a bevy of draft picks cycling through. Who knows who will be dropping by during those breaks! Follow them on Twitter at @DACWLiveBreaks and check them out on Breakers.tv here: http://breakers.tv/dacwlive
It is sure to be a great weekend for hockey fans throughout North America as the next generation of “Young Guns” are called to the stage. Make sure to be part of the conversation by following Upper Deck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in particular and by using the hashtag #NHLDraft.