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Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013-14 Upper Deck Trilogy Box Break and Review (Featuring a 1:1,859 Auto!!!)

The 2012-13 NHL season has barely finished off, but we already have 2013-14 hockey card products in release. Panini came out with Score earlier this week, and Upper Duck put out Trilogy, officially beginning the 2013-14 hockey card collecting season.

The big draw with the 2013-14 products are the "Double Rookie Class," but that doesn't really matter for this release. Since players cannot be featured on an NHL card until they have played in an NHL game, none of the 2013 draft class will make an appearance, which essentially limits the "Double Rookie Class" to a "Single Rookie Class." Either way, collectors can finally find official rookie cards of guys like Jonathan Huberdeau, Nail Yakupov, Vladimir Terasenko, Alex Galchenyuk, and other rookies who made their debut during the 2012-13 season.

Each full box of Trilogy contains three "mini boxes," and each mini box contains three packs, and each pack contains a few base cards and one "hit." So, in total, each full box will contain nine hits. Of those nine hits, there will be three autographed rookie cards, two triple jersey cards, one Signature Pucks card, one plexiglass UD Crystal Card, one plexiglass Ice Scripts or Clear Cut Combos card, and one additional autographed card.

Here's a look at every card pulled out of the box. I separated these by mini-box, which contains three packs each, so just in case you don't want to fork over the cash for a full box, you can at least see what just one mini-box will get you, should you decide to go that route.

Mini-Box 1
Base Cards: Ryan Miller, Paul Coffey, Nicklas Lidstrom, Trevor Linden, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Eric Lindros

Teemu Selanne, Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar, Phil Kessel, Jaroslav Halak

Ryan Spooner Rookie Premieres Level 1 347/699
Each rookie actually has three rookie cards in this set, at levels 1-3. Each card is serial-numbered differently, as Level 1 is /699, Level 2 is /399, and Level 3 is /49. All are autographed, and instead of a different colored foil, each variation features a different photo and card design. This card is of Ryan Spooner, Boston's second round pick in the 2010 draft. He just made it up to the NHL for four games during the 2012-13 season, but failed to register a point.

Star Spotlight National Trios: Jaromir Jagr, Tomas Plekanec, Patrik Elias
Each box contains two triple jersey cards, one of which is National Trios. This insert set puts together three players from the same country, and in this case, the Czech Republic is featured. It does contain a Jaromir Jagr swatch, which is good, but unfortunately, it has a Bruins picture and a Rangers swatch. No Penguins gear to be seen.

Signature Pucks Ron Hextall
These cards feature a "manufactured relic" of a rubber hockey puck, autographed in gold ink by the featured player. This one is of Ron Hextall, and is from Group B. With Trilogy, Upper Deck not only released the insertion odds for their inserts, but they also released which cards in those sets were the rarest. For example, Group A would be most rare, Group B would be next, and so on. Specifically here, the Group B cards are inserted at 1:92 packs, or every nine boxes.

Mini-Box 2
Base Cards: Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Getzlaf, Rick Nash, Jaromir Jagr, Dominik Hasek, Tuukka Rask

Jari Kurri, John Tavares, Dave Schultz, Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, Ryan Kesler

Crystal Greats Mats Sundin
These cards are sort of new to the Upper Deck line. The name is new, but they are very similar to their Frozen in Time inserts that came in earlier versions of Trilogy. Each of these cards come on a thick plexiglass material and have kind of a shadowbox effect, with the player photo and name printed on the front, and the background printed on the back. The Sundin is from Tier 1, which is 1:66 packs.

Trilogy Rookie Premieres Level 2 Mikhail Grigorenko 129/399
If you compare this card to the Spooner, you can see the differences not only in what type of picture was used, but also in the overall card design. After being selected in the first round (12th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Grigorenko made a quick jump to the NHL. He played in 25 games for the Sabres during the 2012-13 season, scoring one goal and four assists.

Eric Lindros Base Card Parallel Auto
Here's the big one. It may not look like much, as all they really did was take the base card, fade out the bottom of the photo and slap a sticker on it, and really, it didn't look like much to me at first. Now don't get me wrong, I was very happy to pull a Lindros auto, and have been wanting to get my hands on for some time, so this was a fantastic pull for me already. I didn't know how great of a pull this was until I looked it up
on Ebay to see the going rate, just out of curiosity, and found nothing.

Well, it's a new product, so I figured maybe no one had the chance to list theirs quite yet. The next thing I did was look up the odds of pulling these cards. Now I didn't think it would be that rare, since it is just a base card variation, but imagine my surprise when I discovered that Lindros is in Group A, which is inserted at a rate of 1:1859 packs!!!!!

That's 1:206 boxes!

Or 1:26 cases!

I was in shock.

Needless to say, I immediately threw it on Ebay at a ridiculous BIN/OBO price, just to see what it would go for. The only players featured as Group A autographed base card parallels are Joe Sakic, Ilya Kovalchuk, Eric Lindros, Mario Lemieux, and Sidney Crosby.

Anyway, on with the break.

Mini-Box 3
Base Cards: Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Marc-Andre Fleury, Gabriel Landeskog, Zdeno Chara, Pavel Datsyuk, Bryan Trottier

Claude Giroux, Jonas Hiller, Jason Spezza, Markus Naslund, David Backes, Braden Holtby

Star Spotlight Past, Present & Future Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell
I would explain what the idea behind this particular insert is, but it's pretty self-explanatory. Featured here are two Stanley Cup winners with the Ducks, both of whom have served as team captain, along with Rakell, who doesn't even get his name spelled correctly on this card.

Rookie Premieres Level 2 Ryan Murphy 145/399
Even though Level 2 is more rare than Level 1, I actually pulled two Level 2s. This one is of Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy. Like Spooner and Rackell, Murphy played in four NHL games during the 2012-13 season, but failed to register a point. Still, it's too early to tell where some of these players will end up. Let's hope they are able to make it back up to the NHL and continue their development.

Ice Scripts Bill Barber
Like the Crystal cards, Ice Scripts are printed on a clear plexiglass material. There's less of a shadowbox effect on these, but they all feature an on-card autograph on the clear surface in the middle. It is kind of funny, though, that the big hits out of each of these three mini-boxes are former Philadelphia Flyers players, which is not usually what a Penguins fan wants to see when breaking open a box. Still, at least they are all of players that I kind of like, even though I loathe the team they played for. The only drawback with this one is that the ink came out pretty faded, as you can see. I'm going to try and contact Upper Deck this week and see if they do any kind of replacement for something like this. The Barber comes from Group D, which is inserted at 1:13 packs, so I'm sure they have plenty of extras laying around.

I must say, judging from this particular break, that this product has GREAT value for your money, even at the mini-box level. For me, at least, each one contained one autographed rookie, one veteran/retired player autograph, and either a triple jersey card or Crystal card. In my opinion, getting a good mix of rookies and veterans, along with some cool, unique hits makes this product a must-have. I've got a feeling I'll be spending a lot more money on Trilogy this year.