Everything You Need To Know About 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey

April 17, 2023

The flagship products in hockey loom larger than they do in baseball and other products. Therefore, other hockey products have had some trouble breaking in and establishing a niche with fans. But SP Authentic Hockey has done just that.

It provides excellent auto cards and a high-end card feel at a reasonable price. Therefore, SP Authentic Hockey is probably the most highly anticipated release for the sport outside the flagship products.

But how does this year’s release stack up? Read our 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey review to find out.

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SP Authentic Hockey 2021-22 release date

The 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey Hobby boxes are set for release on April 19, 2023. The release is incredibly and even infuriatingly late. The 2022-23 season is just ending right now, and they are only releasing the SP Authentic line for the PREVIOUS season now?

This makes Panini’s release schedule look timely by comparison. Upper Deck has been behind schedule for quite a while now. For example, the 2020-21 SP Authentic Hockey boxes were released on June 29, 2022. So, even later.

The good news is that Upper Deck is preparing to do better for the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey release. As of now, the plan is to release it in September 2023. That places the product right before the 2023-24 season opens.

That is undoubtedly an improvement. However, we want to see SP Authentic Hockey return to its status as a mid-season release. No one wants to buy an old-season product when the new one is about to start. We know the supply chain issue hit Upper Deck pretty hard, but it’s time to shape up.

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History of SP Authentic Hockey

The Upper Deck brand hit baseball cards like a ton of bricks in 1989 with its glossy and high-quality photographed cards. Then, the company moved into hockey for the 1990-91 season and delivered what many believe was the most high-quality set of hockey cards ever produced

. In hockey and elsewhere, the other companies responded to the challenge by creating their first attempts at high-end products. Amusingly, Topps and Fleer’s versions of “high-end” at this time were simply knock-offs of Upper Deck’s base cards.

It wasn’t long before Upper Deck responded by upping the ante and producing its high-end stuff. The 1993-94 version of Upper Deck Hockey included a large insert set called SP. You could find these cards at one rate in each second-series pack and two in every second-series jumbo pack.

This is because these 180 standard-size cards feature color player action shots on their fronts. The photos are borderless. It consisted of 180 cards and was a veritable set within a set. These standard-sized cards showed players in borderless action shots.

But at the bottom, the cards featured a team color-coded margin, with the name and position in white lettering. Meanwhile, the team’s name was found in silver foil.

Collectors loved these cards, which were a major attraction for the growing crowd of Upper Deck hockey collectors. So, the company decided to build its higher-end hockey line around the popular insert. It first came out as an independent release in 1996-97.

With a stunning and bold design, it was an immediate hit. Since then, SP Authentic Hockey has been a permanent fixture of the hockey release calendar. In recent years, it has emphasized beautiful card signatures, along with its popular design aesthetic.

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2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey release formats

The SP Authentic Hockey line has always been a hobby box-only release. The format suits its branding as a high-end (albeit reasonably priced) hockey release.

2021-22 SP Authentic Hobby Box

  • 9 cards per pack.
  • 10 packs per box.
  • 16 boxes per case.
  • Look for 1 Autographed Future Watch Rookies Card
  • 1 Additional Autograph Card (Could be a 2nd Autographed Future Watch Rookies Card)
  • 10 SP Die-Cuts, True Leaders, and/or SP Top Rookies Cards (Includes Parallels)
  • 8 Limited Red Cards (Base Set/Future Watch)
  • 7 Regular Pageantry Cards
  • 1 #’d Base Set
  • #’d Insert or Rare Tech Insert Card
  • At least 1 Spectrum FX Bounty Card per box on average.
  • A box presells at $249.95 each.
  • A case presells for $3,949.50.

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2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey pros

The traditional SP Authentic Hockey advantage is photography. And that remains a strong selling point for the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey release. However, there has been a general rise in the level of card photography since the 1990s, primarily due to Upper Deck’s trailblazing work. Therefore, it seems less outstanding.

Luckily, the company has not been resting on its laurels. First, they added on-card auto to their arsenal. In recent years we have also seen increasingly beautiful patches in this product.

And some of the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey are gorgeous. There aren’t too many products out there that allow you to land a top-notch RPA for $250. Therefore,

2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey offers outstanding value for money in this regard.

The Future Watch cards are the most coveted rookies in the SP Authentic Hockey world. Especially the Future Watch Auto Patch. And the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey release offers a substantial checklist, including Cole Caufield, Ross Colton, and Trevor Zegras. Therefore, there is a lot to recommend for this release.

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2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey cons

Generally, the Future Watch Auto Patch (lovingly called the FWAP for short) list in 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey is pretty good. But some strong names are inexplicably missing. For example, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings are notably missing.

hat is distressing for Detroit hockey fans and the rest of us too. They are among the top rookies in their class.

For those of us who are used to prices in other sports, the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey’s cost seems reasonable. But some hockey fans notice the price creep on the product and are unhappy. A box of SP Authentic Hockey cost around $150 not long ago. But the rising prices seem more like an unavoidable side effect of inflation rather than a problematic Upper Deck policy.

Finally, the auto list is very extensive. This may not sound like a bad thing since this is an autograph-centric release. But that waters down the chances of landing a very strong auto.

There are two guaranteed autos in each box. But only one is guaranteed to be an Autographed Future Watch Rookies Card. The second is likely to be a veteran auto. So, your shot of getting a top-notch auto is not very high.

2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey checklist

The highlight of the SP Authentic Hockey experience is the autos. In particular, the Future Watch Auto Patch cards are what you want. They have become the premier hockey RPAs in recent years. But the brand has always had an excellent base card collection and a few fun inserts.

There are 100 base cards, and we have the complete checklist at the end of the article. Then you have the popular Future Watch Rookies numbered /999) subset. They also come in more desirable parallels. These include the following:

  • 2001-02 Retro Future Watch (#/900)
  • SP Limited parallel (#/150) cards.

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Review Of 2021-22 SP Authentic autos

The autos in SP Authentic Hockey are renowned for their on-card beauty. As mentioned, the top-of-the-line is the Future Watch Auto Patch cards, the best RPAs in Upper Deck cannon. They come in the following varieties:

  • Future Watch Auto Patch (#/100)
  • 2011-12 Retro Future Watch Auto Patch (#/99 or less)

But there are plenty of other autos in this series. They include:

  • 2001-02 Retro Base Autographs /numbered to various.
  • Immortal Ink /10
  • Marks of Distinction /25)
  • Pageantry Auto (1:67 packs)
  • SP Chirography (1:320 packs)
  • UD Authentics Autographs (1:80 packs).

The famous Sign of The Time Auto series is included again. But we should note that some of these cards are sticker autos. Among the very few in 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey.

Finally, the set includes a couple of non-RPA memorabilia auto cards. These include:

  • Limited Auto Material (#/100 or less).
  • UD Authentics Auto Patch (#/49 or #/25).

Future Watch Auto Patch Set Checklist

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60 cards. Serial numbered #/100.

FWAP-AB Adam Beckman – Minnesota Wild
FWAP-AH Alexander Holtz – New Jersey Devils
FWAP-AL Anton Lundell – Florida Panthers
FWAP-AN Alex Newhook – Colorado Avalanche
FWAP-AP Aliaksei Protas – Washington Capitals
FWAP-AT Alex Turcotte – Los Angeles Kings
FWAP-BA Morgan Barron – New York Rangers
FWAP-BK Boris Katchouk – Tampa Bay Lightning
FWAP-BR Jacob Bryson – Buffalo Sabres
FWAP-CA Calen Addison – Minnesota Wild
FWAP-CC Cole Caufield – Montreal Canadiens
FWAP-CP Cole Perfetti – Winnipeg Jets
FWAP-CS Cole Sillinger – Columbus Blue Jackets
FWAP-CY Cam York – Philadelphia Flyers
FWAP-DM Dawson Mercer – New Jersey Devils
FWAP-DR Jamie Drysdale – Anaheim Ducks
FWAP-GD Grigori Denisenko – Florida Panthers
FWAP-GP Garrett Pilon – Washington Capitals
FWAP-IP Ivan Prosvetov – Arizona Coyotes
FWAP-JA Jack Ahcan – Boston Bruins
FWAP-JB Jacob Bernard-Docker – Ottawa Senators
FWAP-JJ Jan Jenik – Arizona Coyotes
FWAP-JL Jake Leschyshyn – Vegas Golden Knights
FWAP-JN Jake Neighbours – St. Louis Blues
FWAP-JS Jeremy Swayman – Boston Bruins
FWAP-JV Joe Veleno – Detroit Red Wings
FWAP-JW Jasper Weatherby – San Jose Sharks
FWAP-JY Jesse Ylonen – Montreal Canadiens
FWAP-LP Lane Pederson – San Jose Sharks
FWAP-LT Logan Thompson – Vegas Golden Knights
FWAP-MH Mike Hardman – Chicago Blackhawks
FWAP-MM Mason McTavish – Anaheim Ducks
FWAP-MP Matthew Phillips – Calgary Flames
FWAP-MS Mattias Samuelsson – Buffalo Sabres
FWAP-NL Nils Lundkvist – New York Rangers
FWAP-OS Oskar Steen – Boston Bruins
FWAP-PD Pavel Dorofeyev – Vegas Golden Knights
FWAP-PI Shane Pinto – Ottawa Senators
FWAP-PK Parker Kelly – Ottawa Senators
FWAP-PT Philip Tomasino – Nashville Predators
FWAP-QB Quinton Byfield – Los Angeles Kings
FWAP-RC Ross Colton – Tampa Bay Lightning
FWAP-RD Riley Damiani – Dallas Stars
FWAP-RK Rasmus Kupari – Los Angeles Kings
FWAP-RM Ryan Merkley – San Jose Sharks
FWAP-RT Riley Tufte – Dallas Stars
FWAP-RZ Radim Zohorna – Pittsburgh Penguins
FWAP-SJ Seth Jarvis – Carolina Hurricanes
FWAP-SK Spencer Knight – Florida Panthers
FWAP-SP Scott Perunovich – St. Louis Blues
FWAP-SR Sampo Ranta – Colorado Avalanche
FWAP-TL Tanner Laczynski – Philadelphia Flyers
FWAP-TR Taylor Raddysh – Tampa Bay Lightning
FWAP-TT Tyce Thompson – New Jersey Devils
FWAP-TZ Trevor Zegras – Anaheim Ducks
FWAP-UL Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen – Buffalo Sabres
FWAP-WA Wade Allison – Philadelphia Flyers
FWAP-WE William Eklund – San Jose Sharks
FWAP-WK Wyatt Kalynuk – Chicago Blackhawks
FWAP-ZJ Zac Jones – New York Rangers

The 2021-22 SP Authentic Spectrum FX Bounty Program

Many collectors buy SP Authentic Hockey boxes hoping to score big Future Watch Auto Patch cards. But the release also rewards set completists. If you complete the Spectrum FX Series, you are eligible to participate in the Upper Deck Bounty program.

There are 100 cards in the Spectrum FX series. But only 99 of them are available in the hobby boxes. So how do you get that 100th card? Glad you asked. You redeem all 99 other cards in the set and get that exclusive 100th card from Upper Deck.

And there is an extra incentive to act fast. If you are among the first 50 people to complete the set, you will receive the entire 100-card Gold parallel (#/50) of the set and two unknown bonus cards.

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2021-22 SP Authentic Inserts

With the square emphasis on photography and autographs, the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey product inserts can feel like an afterthought in some of their releases. But how did they do this year? First, let’s look at some of the more notable inserts among these selections.


These inserts come in 1 in every 2 packs. And I am unclear on the insert’s point or what the core design concept should represent. Good name for an insert, but it certainly seems like a throwaway to me.

SP Die-Cuts

Upper Deck has been serving up these kinds of die-cut cards since long before they were fantastic. You can find some old-school ones from the early 1990s. But while they are very nice looking, they have no value. You can find SP Die-Cuts at a rate of one per every five packs.

SP Holofoils

We are assured that the SP Holofoils have hologram technology. I am not sure what that means, but it does have a remarkable effect when you move the card around.

These cards may have some value because they only come in one in every 160 packs. But this is the first year they have appeared, so we can’t have a clear read on their future value yet.

2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey value

The great thing about SP Authentic Hockey is that the product offers truly high-end-looking cards at a relatively low price. That sounds great. But do the SP Authentic Hockey cards and boxes really carry that high-end cache in terms of cost as well? Let’s crunch the numbers.

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The price of a new SP Authentic Hockey box has increased quite a bit in recent years. But how do the older boxes fare on the market? Are they still worth stashing away despite the higher price tag?

2015/16 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey Hobby Box$999
2016/17 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey Hobby Box$1,400
2017/18 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey Hobby Box$449
2018/19 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey Hobby Box$399
2019/20 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey Hobby Box$379

First, you notice that some older boxes have a really heft price tag. But that is, of course, the combination of age and a strong rookie class. For example, the 2015/16 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey release included Connor McDavid, while the 2016/17 version has Auston Matthews.

You can’t rely on the 2021/22 version having a player like that. But Cole Caufield is already a hockey card sensation, and several other prospects have that kind of upside.

But the good news is that even if Caufield and others don’t pan out, the box will still be worth $100-$200 more than you spend. So, you can’t lose.

And considering how good most of the recent crops of hockey prospects have been, there is a good chance you make quite a bit by holding on to Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey Hobby Box. The inclusion of Caufield just makes that prospect stronger.

SPx 2021-2022


As we have seen, 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey is a firm hold. Therefore, it would take strong single returns to justify ripping a box. But do these cards have that kind of value? We took a look at some of the strongest performers from recent years.

2015/16 SP Authentic Hockey Connor McDavid Future Watch Auto Patch /25 (BGS 8)$15,088
2019/20 SP Authentic Hockey Cale Makar Future Watch Auto /999 (PSA 10)$2,356
2020/21 SP Authentic Hockey Alexis Lafreniere Future Watch Auto Rookie /999 (PSA 10)$897
2019/20 SP Authentic Hockey Tim Stutzle Future Watch Rookie Auto /999 (PSA 10)$725
2019/20 SP Authentic Hockey Kirby Dach Authentic Future Watch Autographs /999 (PSA 10)$507

The SP Authentic Hockey boxes are a surprisingly bad rip. Of course, the first card happens when you hit the best card imaginable. But massive cards in this product are rare. Most of the big hits sell for under $1,000. And considering how large the auto lists are in 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey, your chances of hitting one of those are pretty low.

So, if you want to rip a box for the beautiful cards inside, go ahead. But remember that the odds of paying the box are even lower than usual. Considering how beautiful they are, SP Authentic Hockey cards are undervalued. That may change over time. But the prices right now do not really justify a rip.

Final word of the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey Review

2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey is a beautiful product with incredible designs for a low price. This line has the best RPAs in the hockey business in the form of the Future Watch Auto Patch set.

Therefore, there is no question of its value for hockey fans. In addition, the boxes age very nicely. That is no surprise considering that hockey tends to have more robust rookie classes than most other major sports. And the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey will likely be more potent than most due to the presence of Cole Caufield.

However, the SP Authentic Hockey series has a noticeable weakness. The vast majority of singles perform weaker than expected on the market. In addition, there is an extensive autograph checklist, which means that the guaranteed autos are unlikely to be strong ones. Therefore, the 2021-22 SP Authentic Hockey is a hold rather than a rip.

Base Set Checklist

100 cards.

PARALLEL CARDS: Limited Red (1:2.5), Limited Gold #/99, Limited Black 1/1

1 Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
2 Jonathan Huberdeau – Florida Panthers
3 Patrik Laine – Columbus Blue Jackets
4 Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
5 Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
6 Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
7 Cam Talbot – Minnesota Wild
8 Eeli Tolvanen – Nashville Predators
9 Drake Batherson – Ottawa Senators
10 David Pastrnak – Boston Bruins
11 Jacob Markstrom – Calgary Flames
12 Jordan Binnington – St. Louis Blues
13 Jakub Vrana – Detroit Red Wings
14 Rasmus Dahlin – Buffalo Sabres
15 Clayton Keller – Arizona Coyotes
16 Mikko Rantanen – Colorado Avalanche
17 Brayden Point – Tampa Bay Lightning
18 Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
19 Tristan Jarry – Pittsburgh Penguins
20 Miro Heiskanen – Dallas Stars
21 Tyler Toffoli – Montreal Canadiens
22 Troy Terry – Anaheim Ducks
23 Marc-Andre Fleury – Chicago Blackhawks
24 Aleksander Barkov – Florida Panthers
25 Andrei Vasilevskiy – Tampa Bay Lightning
26 Tyler Bertuzzi – Detroit Red Wings
27 Quinn Hughes – Vancouver Canucks
28 Sebastian Aho – Carolina Hurricanes
29 Taylor Hall – Boston Bruins
30 Jakub Voracek – Columbus Blue Jackets
31 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers
32 Dougie Hamilton – New Jersey Devils
33 William Nylander – Toronto Maple Leafs
34 William Karlsson – Vegas Golden Knights
35 Carter Hart – Philadelphia Flyers
36 Igor Shesterkin – New York Rangers
37 Cal Petersen – Los Angeles Kings
38 Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
39 Nico Hischier – New Jersey Devils
40 John Tavares – Toronto Maple Leafs
41 John Gibson – Anaheim Ducks
42 Sergei Bobrovsky – Florida Panthers
43 Artemi Panarin – New York Rangers
44 Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
45 Ryan O’Reilly – St. Louis Blues
46 Brady Tkachuk – Ottawa Senators
47 Jeff Petry – Montreal Canadiens
48 Juuse Saros – Nashville Predators
49 Jack Hughes – New Jersey Devils
50 Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
51 Joe Pavelski – Dallas Stars
52 Leon Draisaitl – Edmonton Oilers
53 Martin Necas – Carolina Hurricanes
54 Teuvo Teravainen – Carolina Hurricanes
55 Nick Suzuki – Montreal Canadiens
56 Elias Lindholm – Calgary Flames
57 Tim Stutzle – Ottawa Senators
58 Josh Bailey – New York Islanders
59 Seth Jones – Chicago Blackhawks
60 Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins
61 Conor Garland – Vancouver Canucks
62 Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets
63 Jonathan Marchessault – Vegas Golden Knights
64 Victor Olofsson – Buffalo Sabres
65 Elvis Merzlikins – Columbus Blue Jackets
66 Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks
67 Jakob Chychrun – Arizona Coyotes
68 Max Pacioretty – Vegas Golden Knights
69 Alex DeBrincat – Chicago Blackhawks
70 Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg Jets
71 Mathew Barzal – New York Islanders
72 Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
73 Mark Stone – Vegas Golden Knights
74 John Carlson – Washington Capitals
75 Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
76 Jordan Eberle – Seattle Kraken
77 Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins
78 Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
79 Anders Lee – New York Islanders
80 Nicklas Backstrom – Washington Capitals
81 Tomas Hertl – San Jose Sharks
82 Matthew Tkachuk – Calgary Flames
83 Roman Josi – Nashville Predators
84 Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings
85 Mark Giordano – Seattle Kraken
86 Mark Scheifele – Winnipeg Jets
87 Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
88 Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
89 Kevin Fiala – Minnesota Wild
90 Jake Guentzel – Pittsburgh Penguins
91 Dylan Larkin – Detroit Red Wings
92 Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
93 Philipp Grubauer – Seattle Kraken
94 Brayden Schenn – St. Louis Blues
95 Mitch Marner – Toronto Maple Leafs
96 Elias Pettersson – Vancouver Canucks
97 Kirill Kaprizov – Minnesota Wild
98 Cam Atkinson – Philadelphia Flyers
99 Adam Fox – New York Rangers
100 Cale Makar – Colorado Avalanche