Hockey Hobby IQ: Whose value to keep an eye out for in the playoffs

The Stanley Cup Playoffs, the best playoffs in all sports (I said what I said, change my mind), are underway, and now that everyone’s played at least one game, let’s break down the bracket from a collectible aspect.

I chose some of the top stars and players who are the future of the league whose hobby value I think you should look out for and could see a rise as they get closer to Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Let’s set some parameters before we get started. While discussing some of the league’s elite, we’ll use Card Ladder to track them from the All-Star break at the beginning of February to now, and we’ll use prices of PSA Gem Mint 10 Young Guns.

That seems like the best benchmark to analyze the cream of the crop in the league, and I’ll be honest with everyone, these might seem obvious. I’m setting out to show off hockey to the collectors who focus more on basketball and baseball, with the MLB fully back and NBA Playoffs going head-to-head on tv with the NHL.

Jack Hughes, C, New Jersey Devils

This 21-year-old kid and I can call him that because he’s almost ten years younger than me, is coming off a 99-point regular season, with a + / – of 10, and his first 40-goal season in his young four-year career.

January was Hughes’ biggest month in his breakout season, with 23 points in 13 games. The back half of the regular season was a little slower for Hughes, with 35 points since the All-Star break.

The average price of the #201 Young Guns card from 2019-20 Upper Deck Series 1 is $293.64, with its current price at $265.12. 

While the price is down, I feel the former first-overall pick has a real shot to impress in his first playoff appearance, even though the Devils have a tough first-round challenge in the New York Rangers. I expect him to make some noise and light the lamp this series and continue to grow his hobby value in the postseason.

As of this writing, he netted the first goal of his postseason career on a penalty shot and the first Devils goal.

Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers

Speaking of the Rangers, let’s look at the man Hughes will be ripping shots on this series, his 2019-20 Young Guns class counterpart, Igor Shesterkin.

Goaltenders need love in the hobby, and Shesty makes a case for collectible net-minders after this season. While his GAA was up from last year, and his SV% was down, he posted a career-high in wins with a few shutouts and helped New York capture the third seed in the Metropolitan.

His current Card Ladder price is $275, with an average price of $337.12. Shesty is continuing on an upward trend, and I expect that to continue with a 7-5-1 record against the Devils, a GAA of 2.79, and an SV% of .917. Within those 15 games, he’s had four shutouts.

Shesty stood tall against an explosive Devils team, allowing the previously mentioned goal to Jack Hughes.

David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins

He’s already cooking in the playoffs with the juggernaut Bruins. Pasta added a goal in Boston’s 3-1 win over the Panthers in game one.

The Bruins entered the playoffs as the clear number-one seed in the entire league after a historic 65-win season. Pastrnak fell in line with that after netting 61 goals and tallying 113 points in the regular season.

He’s poised to continue tearing up tendies in the playoffs. 

From the looks of it, the hockey hobby community is all in on Pastrnak, with his Card Ladder price currently at $1,496.16 and the average price at $1,258.70. According to CL, Since the All-Star break, his PSA 10 Young Guns have grown in value at a rate of 49.62%.

I expect Pasta to stay in the green and the Bruins to make an extensive playoff run.

Matthew Tkachuk, LW/RW, Florida Panthers

Here we’ve got a player with the unfortunate task of drawing the Bruins in the first round. However, he’s a bright spot for the Panthers and has been all season.

Tkachuk entered the postseason with his second straight 40-goal, 100-point season. Oh, and that lone goal the Panthers scored on Monday in the 3-1 loss I mentioned, my guy here scored it.

And just like Pasta, he’s in the green on Card Ladder. The average price of Tkachuk’s Gem Mint Young Guns is $134.11, with a current price of $165.28. This card has a real dollar change of +$30.28.

It could be an early exit for Florida, but I think Tkachuk will show why Florida traded for him in the first place.

Brayden Point, C, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa’s loaded with studs like Kucherov and Stamkos, hence the back-to-back Stanley Cups, but here’s a guy I think deserves way more hobby love, Brayden Point.

He’s electric, pun fully intended, and this seems to be a theme in this blog, but Point had himself a career regular season. How about 95 points in an 82-game season and the cherry on top? He tallied 51 goals, and in the 7-3 Game 1 routing of the Maple Leafs, Point racked up two ginos.

Looking at his card stats feels like it validates what I’m trying to say about Brayden Point. His Young Guns PSA 10 is $98, with an average price of $102.12.

That’s the lowest value of anyone on this list so far, and that’s not to take away from the incredible feats the others have hit, but I think Point should be in the conversation for collectible Young Guns right now. Is it the market he’s in? Not sure because Tampa is always a playoff powerhouse.

Keep an eye on Point, I think his YG could trend upward if the Lightning make another deep playoff run, and we all know the Leaf’s first-round track record.

Mitch Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

Did someone say Leafs? We know the clear hobby standout on this team is Matthews, but what about his linemate? Mitch Marner has a similar career trajectory to Matthews as both debuted with the Leafs in the 2016/17 NHL season and are trying to lead Toronto to its first Cup appearance and win since 1967. 

Marner was a point shy of 100 and put together the best season of his career, with 69 assists (nice) and a second straight 30+ goal season.

He added three more assists in Game 1, where the Leafs got smoked by the Lighting, 7-3.

Card Ladder values Marner’s Youngs Guns PSA 10 at $280.00. However, the average price is $374.98. I think Marner could be a good buy while it’s down a bit, but expect him to continue serving up points in the first round, which may cause a bit of a rise in this YG.

Sebastian Aho, C, Carolina Hurricanes

Okay, I promise we are almost moving on to the Western Conference. There are two more players to mention here in the East.

Aho had a bit of a down regular season compared to last season, but he still managed 36 goals.

I put Aho here because he’s already got a goal in the postseason, and he tallied 11 points in 14 games in last year’s postseason, so he comes to play with the bright lights on.

He’s also affordable, but his value is in the green right now, according to Card Ladder. They average his price at $102.95, with a current value of $95. Since the All-Star break in February, Aho’s Young Guns has positive growth, however.

Look for him to collect more points in the series against the Islanders and hopefully collect a few more dollars in value.

Matty Beniers, C, Seattle Kraken

Another case of an expansion team making it to the playoffs very early, and young Beniers is a part of that success.

So Card Ladder doesn’t have a “ladder” on Beniers from the All-Star break, but still using the site, I looked at some recent sales of his Gem Mint 10 Young Guns, and here’s what I found.

The average of the last ten sales of this season’s rookie phenom’s Young Guns #213 Gem Mint 10 is $241.70, with the highest sale being $286.93 on April 9.

He’s the favorite to win the Calder this year, and now in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his rookie season with a chance to help the Kraken knock off the reigning champs seems like this kid could be in for a great hobby run for the next couple months.

Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche

As a hockey hobby community, we know where guys like MacKinnon and Makar stand, so I want to some light on a guy who deserves more love and seems to fly under the radar because of the powerhouse team he’s on.

Rantanen went crazy this year as another 50+ goal scorer who brought his talents to the playoffs this postseason. He continues to pay off for the Avalanche improving from 92 points last season, where they won the cup, to 105 in the 2022/23 regular season.

He’s a standout playoff player with 25 points in 20 games that concluded in that ring.

We’re back on the ladder with his average CL price at $144.26 and rising to a current value of $173.46. Rantanen netted one in Game 1 in the 3-1 loss to newcomers Matt Beniers and the Seattle Kraken.

The champs will bounce back, with Rantanen playing a key role. Watch for his Card Ladder value to keep trending upward.

Jason Robertson, LW, Dallas Stars

I’m not, not going to mention him because he’s just that Jason Robertson IS him. He played all 82 games in the regular season, and Robertson did not disappoint with 109 points and a ridiculous +/- of 37. 

Robertson’s arguably the most obvious choice on this list, but I can’t gloss over him. He’s got a good start with a goal already, and when you look at the Card Ladder, he may be in the red since the All-Star break, but not much to worry about there.

That seems so minuscule when you look at the fact his average price is still $253.56, and his current price is slightly above the average at $261.25.

Matt Boldy, LW, Minnesota Wild

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, but if you quit on me, shame on you! These are some quality notes I’m trying to take for the hobby.

The last person I want to mention is another future stud in the league and probably the hobby. 

Can we all agree it’s safe to assume how we feel about Kirill the Thrill? He’s shown in a short time that collectors are hunting for him. Let’s look at the new blood Matt Boldy.

Boldy put together a solid rookie campaign with 63 points in his first full season with the Wild. 

Minnesota is a team who always seems to find its way into the playoffs, so we’ll probably see a lot more of Boldy.

He falls under the same category as Beniers, so we looked at his last ten sales, and let me tell you, he’s not far off from Beniers.

Boldy has an average sale of $233.11 on his Young Guns PSA 10, with a high sale of $310 on April 7.

And would you look at that he scored a goal in Game 1 to back me up. Mighty nice of him. 

Now I know I didn’t get to everyone we would have liked to, so that’s where you come in, collectors! Let me know who I left out and why you think that player is due for a hobby increase.

Until next time, collect responsibly!

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