The Upper Deck Young Guns Guide
For collectors seeking top-shelf rookie cards, the Young Guns are a must-have. What began as just another mass-produced subset has gradually evolved into hockey’s most popular subset. To answer all of your questions on this essential series, we present the ultimate Upper Deck Young Guns guide.
Collectors eagerly anticipate their release, countdown to release date, and debate on their value. In addition, the Young Guns have such a massive following that people who typically are not into hockey cards collect them as well. This article shall review the Young Guns series and how it became the most famous hockey series in the collectors’ world.
History Of The Young Guns Series
The Young Guns series began in 1990 when Upper Deck started making hockey cards. The earliest cards were produced in similar quantities to other subsets and had modest beginnings. Upper Deck had several subsets focused on rookies, and Young Guns were overlooked by collectors who chased other subsets. As a result, the Young Guns subset was discontinued in 1992-93.
However, Upper Deck reintroduces them in its 1995 Collectors Choice Hockey series. This return was, however, brief, and they wouldn’t show up until 1999. Nevertheless, they’d been made as short prints and with the distinct style, collectors have come to know and love over the years. The series will continue to shine in the current NHL season and beyond.
The Secret Of The Young Guns Appeal
The Young Guns series is significantly valuable for a subset without major rarity, serial numbers, or autographs. With over 70% of hockey rookie card searches on Google, including the term “Young Guns,” the appeal of this series is unmatched. The secret of these cards is threefold:
- Young Guns are one of Upper Deck’s most established sets. They have been around since the ’90s and are considered true rookies.
- Young Guns are for every type of hockey card collector. They are for people who squirrel cards away. People who flip cards. Player collectors. Team collectors. Set collectors. Collectors with big budgets. Collectors with small budgets. They even appeal to collectors who do not otherwise invest in hockey cards.
- Young Guns have just the right amount of rarity. At 1:4 hobby packs, they still require a little extra hunting to find. However, they aren’t so hard to find that it puts collectors off. Even for collectors sourcing from the secondary market, it’s still pretty easy to locate Young Guns cards. They are attainable for buyers of all ages and budgets.
Young Guns Vs. Other Rookie Cards
The main hockey rookie cards include Cup RPAs, Rookie Premieres, UD Rookie Portraits, and Authentic Rookies. While most of these other rookie series are harder to pull than YG rookies, they are usually less valuable than Young Guns. An example is Elias Peterson’s UD Rookie Portraits that sell for less than $5 compared to his standard Young Guns cards that can exceed $200 in value.
Similar comparisons can be made for other players and their rookie cards. Hobbyists consider Young Guns as the official rookie cards, and they are NHL’s cream of the crop rookie cards. As a result, the demand for YG cards is always high, increasing their value compared to other rookie cards.
The Upper Deck Young Guns Guide To The Top 10 Cards
Young Guns were reintroduced in 1999. Since then, there’ve put out hundreds of individual cards covering the generations of players that have sprung up since. All Young Guns cards are not created equal, and some of them are more valuable than others. We shall examine the top 10 Young Guns cards you can invest in now.
All ten of these cards are solid holds and would make great investments for anyone looking to purchase some Young Guns cards. Additionally, all of the cards above are excellent investments and may well outperform your average stock over the next few years.
2015 Upper Deck Young Guns Connor McDavid RC #201
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is, without a doubt, one of the best players to lace up a skate. Dubbed the Chosen One, his numbers are jaw-dropping. His ability to launch the puck at incredible speeds So when he racked up 100 points (30 goals and 70 assists) in his second season and went on to replicate those feats in subsequent seasons, everyone knew he and his cards were destined for great things.
His 2015 Young Guns card is one of the most widely available cards on the market. That year Upper Deck printed more McDavid’s cards than usual, knowing his potential appeal. Despite the supply issue, the card is considered by collectors as one of the best hockey investments.
2014 Upper Deck Young Guns Leon Draisaitl RC #223
Leon Draisaitl is one of the greatest hockey players to come out of Germany. Leon’s elite goal-scoring and offensive abilities have earned him the moniker “German Gretzky.” His cards should make great investments now that they are affordable.
Leon Draisaitl’s 2014 Young Guns rookie card takes the second spot on our list. The card is an excellent investment for a medium or long-term hold. Leon is pictured with his stick dangling over the ice, looking for the puck. There are 350 PSA 9 Leon Draisaitl Young Guns, and a PSA 9 will set you back about $800 to $1,000.
2005 Upper Deck Young Guns Sidney Crosby RC #201
One of the greatest players of this era, Sidney Crosby, has undoubtedly been one of hockey’s most dynamic players since his 2005-06 debut. Although injuries have somewhat dampened his career, with several championship wins and his clinical abilities, Crosby is a legitimate superstar. Outside the field, he is a likable player adored and respected by hockey fans all over.
His 2005 Young Guns card has a unique appeal amongst collectors. In addition, Crosby’s photo on this card has a special attraction, as the red ads on the billboards generate a natural contrast. There are over 3,400 PSA 10 Sidney Crosby Young Guns, valued at around $800.
2015 Upper Deck Young Guns Nikolaj Ehlers #223
Mr. Consistency, Ehlers scored at least 20 goals every season since 2015 when he came into the NHL. An elite skater, his end-to-end rushes and puck control are reflected in the eye-popping numbers he keeps dropping. While Ehlers already looks the real deal, the best part is that he is only tapping into his complete offensive talent. What that means is that his numbers are set to improve.
We expect the value of his cards to increase alongside his numbers. The card features an image of Ehlers in his white, blue, and navy blue Winnipeg Jets sweater. He commands the stick in his right hand, supported by his left hand, and his eyes show intense focus as his skates maintain perfect symmetry. A PSA 10 of this card is valued at $214.60.
2005 Upper Deck Young Guns Alexander Ovechkin RC #443
Alexander Ovechkin is one of hockey’s most prolific goal scorers. Ovechkin is only the eighth player to reach the NHL’s 700 career goal mark and did it faster than most in that elite list. Alex “The Great 8” Ovechkin has played 15 seasons in the NHL and has never scored fewer than 32 goals.
The 2005 Alexander Ovechkin Young Guns card is inarguably THE rookie card to own. Alex is pictured in his white, blue, and red capitals uniform skating on the field. There are over 4,100 PSA 10’s of Ovechkin’s Young Guns, valued at about $2,000. In addition, there are ten copies of its High Gloss parallel, which sells for well above $5,000.
2016 Upper Deck Young Guns Auston Matthews RC #201
Thanks to a quick pair of feet, fast hands, and an elite goal scorer’s mentality, Mr. Matthews is a goal-scoring machine. However, his uncanny ability to put the puck in the net at a split-second notice makes defenders dread him.
The demand for his first cards in the NHL is strong and only expected to keep growing. The popularity of the set makes his 2016 Young Guns #201 one of our top 10 YG cards. There are about 1,300 PSA 10 Auston Matthews YG, and they are available for around $800 to $1600.
2015 Upper Deck Young Guns Kevin Fiala #208
Fiala has gotten on many radars after a solid showing in ‘20-21, where he delivered an impressive 20 goals and 20 assists. The 24-year-old has yet to be named to an all-star game. However, he has established himself as one of the most electrifying players in the NHL.
We believe his breakout season is very close. Once that happens, his Young Guns RC is sure to be worth serious bucks. The Fiala is one of the Young Guns’ most colorful cards. In it, Fiala is pictured on the ice as spectators look on. It is valued at $200 to $600, depending on its condition.
2015 Upper Deck Young Guns Mikko Rantanen #206
Rantanen is one of NHL’s most productive wingers, leading his team in goals and points in ‘20-21. He has excellent vision, good size, great hands, and a thunderous shot. These combine to make The Moose a great top-line player who still has a lot to offer the NHL. However, we feel his laudable numbers are just getting started, and his cards would soar in value in the next few years.
His 2015 Young Guns card features a large action shot of Rantanen with his stick on his right hand staring at the puck. It’s a surprisingly good photo that compliments a great card of a fantastic player. There are 275 PSA 10 of this card, and it is valued at $854.99.
2013 Upper Deck Young Guns Nathan Mackinnon #238
Nate the Great needs no introduction for fans of the NHL. Renowned for his fantastic goal-scoring abilities and lightning-skate speed, Nathan Mackinnon is undoubtedly amongst the NHL’s top 5 players.
His 2013 Young Guns cards is one of his most coveted cards and an excellent buying opportunity for anyone looking to own his RC. Nate the Great is depicted with his blue-maroon Avs sweater. A teammate gliding in the background foreshadows an impending offensive assault. There are about 1,200 PSA 10 of this card, and it’s valued at $1,400.
2019 Upper Deck Young Guns Jack Hughes #201
With seven goals and a horrendous 21 points in his rookie season, most fans wrote off Jack Hughes. However, what a turnaround he’s had since then. His dynamic skating, quick hands, and incredible speed have left everyone singing his praises. Having gotten over his poor start, we expect Hughes to do great things, and we’re backing his card with our final pick.
His 2019 Young Guns card is fantastic-looking, as we’ve come to expect from the Young Guns brand. Hughes is photographed climbing ice with a driven expression that appears to say, “I’m coming you all.”
The Cardlines Pick
If we were to pick one Young Guns card to invest in, it’d be Leon Draisaitl’s Young Guns. Unfortunately, this item doesn’t come cheap. However, I expect the value of the German Gretzky cards to soar as he keeps lighting up the field.
Bottomline Of The Upper Deck Young Guns Guide
Young Guns caters to all segments of the collecting community and are attainable for every collector. Therefore, you could never go wrong investing in Young Guns as their demand is enormous, ensuring that their prices hold exceptionally well. This fact has held for the last 18 years, where every Young Gun card has held its value while those of top players have soared dramatically.
Unless you’re a set builder or collecting for fun, your best bet for investing in Young Guns cards will be purchasing the cards of generational talents (Crosby, Ovechkin, Draisaiti, etc.) that drive set value.
Young Guns Hockey series
Read more on the Young Guns released for specific series.
- 2022-23 Upper Deck Young Guns Series 1
- 2021-22 Upper Deck Young Guns Extended
- 2021-22 Upper Deck Young Guns Series 2
- 2021-22 Upper Deck Young Guns Series 1