Next to The Cup, SP Authentic is one of the most sought after products released by Upper Deck every year. Upper Deck has done a great job of building the prestige of its rookie cards, from the Young Guns of the flagship product to the Rookie Patch Autos of the Cup, and with SP Authentic, we have the Future watch autos and auto patches.
I've only opened one box of SP Authentic before and did really well, pulling a redemption for a Bo Horvat Future Watch Patch Auto, which I then traded for 3 out of 4 Sidney Crosby printing plates from 2011-12 Pinnacle. I was hoping this box would be just as good, so let's see what I got!
From the base cards, I got players from 2 out of 3 of my player collections with Sidney Crosby and Zach Parise (Shane Doan doesn't have a base card in this set, just a high-priced Franchise Icons SP). The base cards stay similar to past year's thematically, but like years past, they work out amazing for IP or TTM autos, which is always a plus for me.
I also got 4 Legends SPs, which are included at a rate of 1:5 packs, which are nice, especially when one of those Legends is Wayne Gretzky
Next on the SP portion of the base set it the All-Time Moments and Authentic Momemts, which chronicle specific events from the past season (Authentic Moments) and seasons past (All-Time Moments). Cards featuring individual players are inserted at a rate of 1:13 packs, while those with multiple players, like the Joe Sakic/Patric Roy that I pulled are 1:50
To close the base set out is the Future Watch rookie cards, which are always the big draw of this particular product. I only got one unsigned Future Watch card, of Ottawa Senators rookie Ryan Dzingel. He played in 30 NHL games this year, scoring 3 goals and 6 assists, and considering the variety of rookie cards that make it in to products each year, you could do a lot worse.
As far as inserts go, on of the ones I like is the Updates, with gives updated cards of the flagship product to players who changed teams throughout the season, and Young Guns rookies to players who made their NHL debut late in the season.
Lastly on the insert list is the 1995-96 Retro cards, which pay tribute to the SP cards from that particular year.
Now to the hits. Each box of SP Authentic is guaranteed to contain three autographed cards, and all of them are hard-signed, which is a major plus for me. The first is from the long-running Sign of the Times insert set signed by Matt Beleskey of the Boston Bruins.
While I ended up with only one unsigned Future Watch rookie card, I did pull two autographed ones. The first is of Calgary Flames. Poirier spent most of the 2015-16 season with the AHL's Abbotsford Heat, making it to the NHL for just two games
As underwhelming as that one was, my final hit more than makes up for it, as I pulled one of the biggest cards from this product, with a Connor McDavid Future Watch Autographed card! Of course, like many players of this era, McDavid has a scribble for a signature, but all things considered, it is still a great-looking card. The design works really well, as it is able to showcase the player image, as well as the autograph, and all of the white surface on the card really makes the important elements stand out. Of course, regardless of looks, the fact that I pulled one of the top 5 cards of a once-in-a-generation type of player, makes it all that much better.
Of course, the fact that I pulled such an amazing card may sway my opinion, but I thought that the was a great product. The base cards look good, the inserts are cool, and there is a really good chance you could pull something major. Combine all of that with a decent price point, and this is really a great product to take a good chance at.