Well it’s that time again, tomorrow is release day, and I’m pumped up for Portfolio Hockey. The brand new product from Upper Deck hits shelves tomorrow and it looks amazing. Fans of products such as Masterpieces and Parkhurst Champions will be pleased to see that Wire Photos are back, as are art cards. The product features a large and varied base set, with an autograph set to match. Additionally this will be an early opportunity for fans to grab some of the top rookies from the 2016-17 season. Meanwhile fans who felt short changed by this years SPGU will be glad to know that updates for both the rookie and rookie auto sets are included. The one downfall that I can see is the use of sticker autos, but unfortunately this has become the norm of all but the highest end products.
Portfolio Hockey – Base Sets
One of the most immediate observations that can be made about Portfolio Hockey is that is sports a unique and varied base set. The base set is actually a compilation of 4 different sets, each with a rookie class, all rolled into one mega set. What this means is that Upper Deck has finally produced a base set that will be worth collecting.
This, for lack of a better term, is the true base set of Portfolio Hockey. Color Photos are essentially what every other product puts out as base. The main checklist is made up of 200 current and former players. Nothing special about it, just plain old base. For the rookie collectors, the Color Photos base also have a short printed rookie class. These cards fall at a rate of 1:2.5 packs and consist of 50 cards. Here you will find the majority of the 15-16 NHL rookie class, including McDavid, Larkin, and Eichel. If the trend of the year continues some of these rookies could still command an impressive price.
Fans of Upper Deck’s Masterpieces and Parkhurst Champions sets will already be familiar with this type of card. These are essentially black and white photos of the on ice action, presented in a similar fashion to how media used to send photos across country. The main set of wire photos falls at 1:7 packs and numbers 20 cards. Here fans will be able to grab names such as Ovechkin, Salming, and Gretzky. These are always a fun set to collect and are a nice change from regular inserts.
Portfolio Hockey has also seen fit to include a rookie version of the Wire Photo cards. These also fall at 1:7 packs and have their own 20 card list (#296-315). This a much more pared down version of the main list, dropping many of the smaller names. Domi, Murray, Panarin, and of course McDavid are just some of the names available in this subset.
For Portfolio Hockey, Upper Deck has chosen to include “Art” cards as a base subset. These cards, available in both color, and black and white, feature a framed image of the player presented as if in an art gallery. The main color version of these card features 15 current and former NHL stars and falls at a rate of 1:13 packs. This list boasts names such as Price, Lafleur, and Tarasenko.
Keeping with the theme of the product there is also a rookie aspect to the art cards. Also falling at a rat of 1:13 packs, the 15 card Rookie Color Art list spans from #316 to 330. Here collectors can expect the usual names such as McDavid, Larkin, and Hanifin.
Black and White Art
The second set of art cards, the Black and White version, are the hardest base pull. Falling at 1:40 packs this 10 card subset features Gretzky, Lemieux, and Orr among its ranks. These are nice looking cards and I find the Black and White version to add dignity to the overall product.
As usual there is also a rookie version of the Black and White Art cards. Making up the final 10 cards of the base checklist, these cards also fall at 1:40. Featuring only the biggest name rookies of the year this is where real resell value will be hiding for the base set. Names such as Fucale, McDavid, and Panarin highlight the subset.
Portfolio Hockey – XRC Rookie Redemptions
Fans looking to get a jump on the 2016-17 NHL rookie class will be happy to see that Upper Deck is providing a 6 card set of redemptions. While the first 3 names on the list have yet to revealed, and likely won’t be until after the start of the season, we can guess at who they may be. Rookie #1 is almost certainly going to be Auston Matthews, the first overall pick by Toronto. The remaining 2 names could be anyone of the top 5 or 6 picks, but if I were to guess I’d say Patrik Laine for Winnipeg, and Jesse Puljujarvi for Edmonton. While Pierre-Luc Dubois did get drafted ahead of Puljujarvi, this was a surprise move, and the Finish winger has a much more recognizable name. The remaining three names on the redemption list are William Nylander, Anthony Mantha, and Pavel Zacha.
The main set of redemptions are for the basic “Color Photo” version of the rookie cards, but several other variations are also available. Wire Photo redemptions fall at 1:480 packs, Color Art at 1:720, and Black & White Art at 1:1440. Additionally there are autographed versions of each subset, but these are tough pulls. The base Color Photo Autograph falls at 1:1000 pack, while Wire Photo Autos are 1:1333, Color Art at 1:2000, and Black & White Art at 1:4000 packs. These are sure to be valuable cards, and Toronto fans in particular will be chasing them.
Portfolio Hockey – Autographs
Upper Deck has managed to include a very impressive 198 card autograph series into Portfolio Hockey. As is to be expected, these autographs are spread across the various subsets, both veteran and rookie varieties. While individual player odds will vary, set odds have been calculated as an average.
Color Photos Autos
Building on the Color Photo base set are the Color Photo Autographs. Clearly, not all players in the base set have autographs included, but many will be accessible. Unfortunately this is where we will find sticker autographs, which is unfortunate and will likely hurt the resell value of these cards. The Color Photo Autos fall at a rate of 1:53 packs on average. Here collectors will find names like Ovechkin, Subban, and Price. Here bigger names will equal longer odds, with Group A names such as Gretzky falling at 1:13,026 packs.
The Rookie Color Photo Autos fall at 1:80 packs on average. However, some names will be much harder, with Panarin falling at 1:48,984 packs. Oddly enough McDavid is much more common at 1:737 packs. This could be Upper Deck wanting more McDavid floating around, or perhaps they are finally realizing the market for his cards has gotten out of control.
Wire Photo Autos
As a journalism graduate I have always held a soft spot for Wire Photo cards, and I am happy to see Portfolio Hockey have them autographed. Unfortunately Upper Deck has once again decided to use sticker autos, which is a definite negative in my books. These cards fall at 1:375 for the base version, with Group A names such as Lemieux and Gretzky (with LA) falling at 1:43,670. This subset is also a chance for Philly fans to get a Shayne Gostisbehere autograph, something that has been missing all season.
Rookie Wire Photo Autos are actually an easier pull than the veterans. These have an average ratio of 1:300 packs. Although before fans get too excited they should know that McDavid is alone in Group A at 1:15,429 packs.
Color Art Autos
Now we are starting to get into the really tough pulls. Color Art Autographs have an average ratio of 1:750 packs, which makes them a rare commodity, especially in an allocated product such as Portfolio Hockey. Group A names for this set are Price, Lidstrom, Seguin, Toews, Backstrom, and Gretzky. These all fall at 1:6090, which is better than the Group A names of other sets.
Rookies are once again the easier pulls here, with an average sitting at 1:600 packs. The 4 names making up Group A autos are Parayko, Linberg, Larkin, and McDavid. These fall at 1:4663 packs, which while daunting, is not as bad as it could be. Again a reminder that these will all be sticker autos, so resellers can expect to take a hit, especially in the long run.
Black and White Art Autos
The final group of Autographs is the Black and White Art Autos. These are the tiniest subset, and the longest overall odds. Averaging 1:1500 pack these cards include Hall, Tavares, and Price. Group A autos are 1:24,577 and consist of Ovechkin, Gretzky, and Lemieux.
Rookie B&W Art Autos are 1:1200 pack hits and consist of only 7 names. Connor McDavid is the only one listed as Group A and is considered to be a 1:30,000 pack hit (good luck with that). While all of these autos will have some value, it is nowhere near what they would be if they were hard signed. However with the release of The Cup drawing ever closer Upper Deck likely doesn’t want too many hard signed products competing with it.
Portfolio Hockey – Masterpiece Portraits
Masterpiece Portraits are no a new concept to Upper Deck, but they are a popular one. These 1/1 artistically inspired cards are a gorgeous addition to any player PC and as 1/1s they have nearly unlimited resale value. I will say that Upper Deck missed a fabulous opportunity by electing not to have these cards signed, but they are none the less a great pull. The full checklist includes 46 cards and is headlined by names that include McDavid, Eichel, and Stamkos.
Portfolio Hockey – Profiles Materials Jersey Cards
These days no product is complete without a selection of relic cards to choose from and Portfolio Hockey is no exception. Offering up single player jersey cards that come in single, double, quad, and 6 piece versions, each with 2 separate parallel series to collect. It is true that the most basic of these cards will most likely be single colour swatches that are disappointing at best, but for fans who are patient and are willing to stay with the product, Portfolio Hockey offers some very nice relic opportunities.
Single Piece Cards
Oh jersey cards, how you confuse me. I love a nice PC jersey card, especially if it’s vintage (so not Upper Deck), but far too often they are one color swatches with zero personality. I am not saying that this set won’t have nice pieces, especially in the parallels, but without a Patch version being available I am afraid of what we may see. This single swatch series consists of 40 players and is a mix of rookies, veterans, and retired stars. As such fans can expect to see names ranging from McDavid all the way to Dale Hawerchuk (with Buffalo??????).
The basic version of these cards fall at 1:33 packs, but each player has it’s own odds. With Group D having 1:59 odds and Group A 1:891, there is a wide spectrum of players that you may find. The parallels, Silver Premium Series and Gold Premium Series are much more likely to carry the high value relics and are numbered out of 33 and 13 respectively.
Dual Piece Cards
With multiple pieces of memorabilia on one card collectors should be able to hope for more than one colour swatches, however history and early card mock ups are not promising. This 30 card list consists of single players, each with two pieces of relic on each card. The base ratio for these cards is 1:00 packs. Individual player odds are divided into 3 groups with Group A having odds of 1:525 packs, Group B 1:350 packs, and Group C being 1:191 packs. For this set the Silver Premium Series in /13 and the Gold Premium is /5.
Quad Piece Cards
Looking at the checklist for the quad mem cards I would hope that Portfolio Hockey was offering up decent jersey swatches, but I still doubt it. Falling at 1:250 packs these cards put forward names such as McDavid, Subban, and Gretzky, and offer 4 pieces of mem per card. Again the 20 card list is split into 3 groups, with Group A having odds of 1:3700 packs, B having 1:881 packs and C being 1:385 packs. Judging by the mockup images there is hope in the parallels of having some seams or even patch pieces, so hopefully these can save the relic class. In this subset the parallels are /6 for Silver and /2 for Gold.
6 Piece Cards
6 piece relic cards are usually the best of the set, and the rarest. At 1:1000 base odds they certainly have the rarest part down, now hopefully they will live up to the nicest aspect as well. This list contains only 10 names such as McDavid, Crosby, and Gretzky. Group A players can only be found at 1:6560 packs, while Groups B&C are 1:2563 and 1:2187 respectively. Parallels are /3 for silver and 1/1 for gold. If the gold 1/1 Connor McDavid mockup is anything to judge by, these could be pricey cards.
Portfolio Hockey – SPGU Rookie Update
Ok, so let’s be honest, I am not a fan of update sets. In my opinion they should get it right the first time or not at all. Unfortunately I don’t run Upper Deck, so I don’t make those decisions. With that in mind, portfolio Hockey has 2 update sets included in it, both of them for SP Game Used.
The first set that is being updated in Portfolio Hockey is the SPGU Rookies. These are the rookies whose cards are numbered out of their respective jersey numbers, with the actual jersey numbered one including an autograph.
This has proven to be one of Upper decks more popular rookie sets, as for some players it means that opportunities are very limited. This update adds 36 card to the original SPGU Rookies set, including late season bloomers such as Matt Murray, Joonas Korpisalo, and Nick Ritchie. Nashville fans will be in tough though as Juuse Saros wears number 1, meaning he only has 1 card in the set.
Portfolio Hockey – SPGU Rookie Autographs Update
In addition to the jersey numbered auto that is included in the main SPGU rookie set, Upper Deck also created a separate set of rookie autos. Portfolio Hockey adds 25 names to that original set. These cards are not numbered and fall at a pack ratio of 1:160 on average. In this update set the Group A hard pulls are Garret Sparks, Charles Hudon, Mike McCaron, Zachary Fucale, Nick Ritchie, and Matt Murry. These players are all inserted at a ration of 1:1865 packs. Fans of the main SPGU set will want to buy Portfolio in order to complete there sets.
Overall this is probably one of the better looking products that Upper Deck has put out this year. The addition of sets such as Wire Photos, and Masterpiece Portraits are a good way for them to recapture past successes. The biggest drawback is clearly the sticker autos, but this has been a theme all year so we can’t be too surprised. The question mark for the time being remains the quality of the relic cards, I sincerely hope that Upper Deck has managed to realize what the fans want.
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