2013-14 Prizm is Panini's latest offering in the hockey market, and the line's first opportunity at a full release. Prizm made its debut during 2012-13 as a three-card-per-pack box topper for Rookie Anthology. Prizm is Panini's answer to Topps Chrome, except that it sports its own unique design, and somehow Panini figured out a way to solve that horrible warping problem that Topps just can't seem to master.
Anyway, a hobby box of Prizm delivers 20 packs of six cards. Each pack will contain one rookie, delivering 20 of the 100 rookie cards produced for the set. Each box promises two autographs, which can be a mixture of rookies and veterans. The big draw, though, is the Finite parallels, which are black superfractor parallels numbered 1/1.
I'll admit. I was VERY reluctant to purchase a box of this product. At around $100 and only promising two autographs, it can be very risky, especially with the amount of leftover stickers from 2012-13 rookies who haven't seen any action since their one game in 2011-12. There's the potential for some really bad breaks, and when looking on-line, I've seen plenty of them.
Still, there isn't much else out quite yet, as the hockey season hasn't even started, so I figured I'd try my luck with this product, just once. Here's how I did.
My base cards only gave me one out of seven Penguins, with Chris Kunitz, but it did give me three UND alumni with Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, and Travis Zajac.
When you consider just how many rookies are included in the product, I'd say I did pretty well, pulling guys like Calder winner Jonathan Huberdeau, as well as Justin Schultz, Viktor Fasth, and Tyler Toffoli, among others.
I managed to pull two refractors from this box, of L.A. Kings captain Dustin Brown and Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green. The base cards of this set look really nice, but putting the rainbowy foil on these refractors makes them look fantastic.
With Prizm, not only do the base cards contain a bunch of parallels, but the inserts do as well, as can be seen with these two Pivotal Players cards. I pulled a base of Nazem Kadri and a refractor of Henrik Lundqvist.
My last two inserts were of Ryan Miller and Guy Lafleur. The Miller is from Net Defenders, which focuses on the game's best goaltenders, and the Lafleur comes from Endless Impressions, which focuses on the legendary players of hockey's past.
My first autograph was of Dallas Stars rookie goaltender Christopher Nilstorp. He is currently stationed with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, but made it up to the pro team for five games during the 2012-13 season. He ended up with a 1-3-1 record, a 3.09 goals against average and a .987 save percentage.
Now, going into this, I was worried about the quality of the players whose autographs I would be pulling. Well, those worries seemed to go away when I pulled my second autograph, of Pittsburgh Penguins left winger James Neal, who has been lighting things up for the Penguins ever since joining the team during the 2010-11. I'm a huge fan of his, so this was a pretty massive hit for me.
But we're not done.
While flipping through the cards in one of the packs, I could see some color poking through with the second card from the bottom. It was a black parallel of some kind, and featured Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.
With everything being silver, I could tell from the coloring that this was something special. Then when you factor in the circular pattern on the card, I could tell that this was something REALLY special, so I turned the card over to look for a serial-number, or something that would tell me what I had.
That's right. I had, in my hands, one of the Finite Prizm 1/1s!!! And not only that, but one of a pretty good player, too. Karlsson is just two years removed from a Norris Trophy win, and after being sidelined for a majority of the 2012-13 season, he is expected to return to form for the 2013-14 year. Considering all the other players in this set, it's nice when you pull a big hit, for it to be somebody of such a high caliber.
Well, it looks like my incredible luck with Panini hockey products continues. My last three boxes have given me a Chay Genoway Prime Ties 1/1, a Gordie Howe/Mark Howe dual auto /10, and this Erik Karlsson Finite Prizm 1/1.
As far as this product goes, I did pretty well, but it really is a hit-or-miss product. The rookie line in this product is so expansive, that it's tough to pull a good rookie auto, and a lot of the leftover stickers from last year are being used as well, giving you second-year autographs from a relatively weak rookie class. Still, if autographs aren't the only thing you are looking for, there are tons of great things presented here, from parallels, to inserts, to a great-looking base set. If you aren't too hung up on the price-per-hit ratio (about $50 per hit), it's a great product that will give you some really cool looking cards.