We waited three years to hoist the 2020/21 Upper Deck Cup, and now, eight months later, we’re anticipating the release of the 2021/22 The Cup from the folks over at UD. The Cup will deliver some staples and all-time classics of the high-end product, but at the same time, introduce autograph chases to freshen things up, as Upper Deck did with this year’s flagship product.
A closer look at the sell sheet shows that Upper Deck seems to be adding at least four new pieces to its hard-signed, game-used memorabilia sets. Two of these add to The Cup’s famed booklets. The first is Player Plaques with an embedded metal plaque commemorating NHL history by highlighting memorable moments. Vet and legend versions of Player Plaques are out of 25, and the rookie versions are out of 35. Next up, admit one to the new Dual Ticket Booklets. Out of five, these booklets feature rival players, their autographs, and a ticket stub from a meeting between the two. The example Upper Deck uses is a Roman Josi Joe Pavelski dual from what I presume is the 2020 Winter Classic.
The two other additions to the hard-signed autograph sets are National Colors and The Basics. National Colors is self-explanatory, with the serial-numbered autographs showing vets, legends, and rookies celebrating the deep international roots that make up the NHL. The example shown is Ottawa Senators Tim Stützle with the colors of Germany behind him, and it just so happens to show there’s a one-of-one black parallel to keep an eye out for. The Basics has five different versions, including The Basic Auto, The Basic Auto Rookies, The Basic Patch out of 25, The Basic Auto Patch out of 15, and last but not least, The Basic Auto Patch Rookies out of 25.
Do collectors remember Splendor Hockey? Its last standalone product was in 2017-18. The following season, it became an insert in The Cup, and it’s back again in 2021-22 The Cup. Also listed as new on the product breakdown is 2021-22 Splendor Rookie Auto Patch out of 49 and 2021-22 Splendor Update Rookie Auto Patch out of 36. The Splendor doesn’t stop there. Splendor leaves new footprints all over the product when looking at the details. There’s also vet 2021-22 Splendor Auto Patch out of 36, 2021-22 Splendor Auto Only out of 36, 2021-22 Splendor Patch Only out of 36. Other new features of this edition of The Cup that are not part of the sell sheet are Strapped In, Effervescence, Rookie Rendition Relics, and Rendentions Relics.
We all know the real focus of The Cup is the rookies, and while these guys are now into their third year in the league, it’s still arguably the most collectible aspect of the product. Upper Deck is advertising the Autographed Monumental Rookie Patch Booklets out of six and Base Set Rookie Auto Patch, keeping the two-tier system with Tier One out of 249 and Tier Two out of 99. There is a gold foil parallel out of 24 and 12, a non-tiered red foil auto tag out of 4, a green foil button out of 3, and one-of-one printing plate booklets. But let us not forget about an annual favorite and legendary chase card in the Exquisite Collection Rookie Auto Patch out of the player’s jersey number. Don’t forget there are one-of-one shield versions, as well as out of 25 and one-of-one gold horizontal versions. Also returning is a tribute to 2003-2004 with the 03-04 Exquisite Limited Logos Rookies. Now, not featured on the sell sheet but also a part of the rookie chase is Base Set Rookie Auto and Rookie Class of 2022.
We can’t move on, though, without talking about the rookies themselves from this particular class. Among the top rookies to chase in the 21/22 class are Canadiens Cole Caufield, Ducks Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish, Red Wings Mo Seider and Lucas Raymond, Jets Cole Perfetti, and Sabres JJ Peterka. Like last time I talked about The Cup, I think the delay in the product helps with the value of players due to their development. Caufield is at the top of the food chain for this class, with a solid start to the 2023-24 season after a shoulder injury sidelined him in January of 2023, but look, McTavish, Raymond, Perfetti, and Peterka are nothing to sneeze at. McTavish has 21 points in 20 games in the 2023-24 season, Raymond is a +3 with 15 points in 19 games, Perfetti is a ridiculous +9 with 16 points in 19 games, and Peterka is +2 with 16 points in 21 games.
When you think of The Cup, you think of all the staples that have graced the tins for almost 20 years. 2021/22 The Cup is no different! It continues the tradition with autograph insert sets like Brilliance, Enshrinements, Emblems of Endorsements, The NHL Collection, Inked Insignias, and The Show. It doesn’t stop with those six. Limited Logos, Scripted Swatches, and Cup Foundations are other Cup classics we don’t see a picture of on the sell sheet.
Let us not forget The Cup is chop full of booklets as well. On the sell sheet, you’ll see examples of the Legends of Hockey Triple-Signed Booklets, Nine-Way Signature Booklets, and the dope Brand Logo Autograph Booklets with the full Adidas logo that sits in the middle of the back on the NHL jerseys. Along with the booklets we mentioned, there are redemptions worth shedding some light on. Instead of getting angry over the word redemption, how about we give examples? They include 21/22 Upper Deck Printing Plate Booklets, Rookie Masterpiece Press Plates, and the coveted Artist Proofs Uncut Sheets.
Each tin of The Cup will contain one Rookie Patch Auto, one rookie, vet, or legend patch auto, one autograph card, one base card out of 249, and two non-auto inserts, with the combination of memorabilia, printing plate, and, or, redemption cards possible. It’s due to release right before the holidays on Festivus, aka December 23, and it’s available for presell now on dacardworld.com for $1,100.
The Cup release is always one of my favorite days of the year, and I look forward to getting a chance to rip some group breaks and personals for everyone! We’ll see you soon for the release of this highly anticipated product, but until then, thanks for watching, and remember, collect responsibly!