Monday, February 27, 2012

2011-2012 ITG Heroes and Prospects Review

ITG fills the void in the hockey release schedule with their annual Heroes and Prospects set.  Collectors year in and year out look forward to this release to get their hands on some of the youngest and most promising hockey players.  This unique set showcases all types of hockey talent - from legendary to current, and to future.


Base Card Design -
The Heroes and Prospects base card design comes in a few different variations. There are the standard base cards which feature players in their CHL or AHL teams, Grad cards which show current NHL stars in their pre-NHL jerseys, and Hockey Hero cards which showcase hockey legends. Even with the numerous variations, they all look pretty much the same and give off the same feel - which is good because they all make up the same base set. All the cards have nice close-up photos of the featured player. For the most part, all the players are in bold, full-color photography that helps them jump off the card. The only non-examples of these would be from the legend's cards. But even with those, the ones I received in my box looked well-done with a clear image.


The predominant color of the H&P set is a faded gold. This background color permeates its way through the entire base set. Personally I think it's an odd color choice as it takes away slightly from the colorful player images.  It makes the cards look a little older and a little tarnished - the color just does not evoke anything modern. Here a better color choice would have been a very bright white background with grey overtones. I think that would have made the base cards really pop. But as it stands, the background color choice brings down the set slightly. The rest of the design works well.  ITG did a nice job incorporating the different team colors into the graphics. It's also fun to see the AHL and CHL logos featured on the cards. Many of these logos have a fun spirit to them that NHL logos sometimes can lack.


The back of the H&P cards are pretty standard fare. ITG does a very nice job of including a lot of information about the featured player. The information is laid out in a clean manner that is not confusing, and the space on the back is used well - nothing fancy, but a very functional card back. People who are stat completists may not appreciate only one line of statistics, but for most people like myself it's just fine.


The last base cards in the set have been used to pay tribute to players who have past away recently. This Tribute subset is something pretty unique to hockey cards... and is something that could be pretty touchy... but ITG handled it well. The cards are clean and very well done. The front cards are very stark and simple with only black and white tones. It's not morbid or morose. They in fact are classy cards. The back of the card has a write up of the player and some of the positive aspects of their game. Nice job on these ITG! And you can find some that feature sticker autographs of the player.

Base Card Design Score:
8/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
On average a box of H&P will net you 4 memorabilia cards - usually 2 autographs and 2 game-used pieces. As usual the game-used cards from ITG are outstanding and feature satisfying chunks of game-worn material. ITG goes out of its way to tell collectors as specifically as they can where their piece of hockey history came from.


The Ryan Strome game-used jersey pieces shown above is a great example of the kind of memorabilia cards in H&P. As you can see the size of the jersey pieces is massive. I actually really enjoyed this card when pulling it. Everything about it just works. The red, white, and black color scheme makes the card look very bold and modern. It uses simple, bold colors, and clean graphics that don't get in the way and distract or look dated. This is definitely the way ITG should move in terms of their design.


In the same vein is this triple jersey of Jake Allen, Louis Domingue, and Martin Jones. In terms of the card's look, it follows the previous card very well. I enjoy the color scheme and the size of the the three jersey pieces. They are the perfect size for being a three player piece. I do have a couple minor issues with this card that I think ITG could change easily. One is the lack of foil on card. This triple jersey is the silver version of the card. There are parts of the card that are in a flat silver color. Putting some shiny foil on the card (a la what UD does with Artifacts) would make the card really stand out. I'm not saying to make it tacky, but some restrained foil would look great on their gold and silver parallels. The second quibble I have is a common complaint with ITG's cards. The back of the card states that this is one of seventy cards produced. This is better than having to look online for a print run, but I know collectors would really appreciate true serial numbering on the cards like Panini and Upper Deck.


Here is a dual jersey insert card in horizontal format that I pulled. The jersey pieces are are about the same size as in the triple, but this card features larger photos of the players depicted. It's a nice card, but could be improved by the suggestions made with the triple jersey. In this case, it is a pretty rare card as it's the gold version limited to just 10 copies.


The standard autographed cards in H&P remind me a lot of autographed cards from other ITG sets.  They definitely look different than in year's past, but they retain the same feel. As usual ITG is very clever with their masking of sticker autos. The stickers are integrated very well and you can hardly tell that's what they are. Though I'm not a huge fan of the color scheme, it does match well with what ITG was going for with their base set. I always think it's nice when companies think along the lines of making their sets work well within themselves.


Lastly, inserted at about the same rates as the game-used and auto cards are standard insert cards. These cards are printed on the same card stock as the base cards - they just have a different design and come in themes. I am not a fan of these cards as they are boring to me. If I were to include inserts into a product, I would do something to make them collectible and stand out from a crowd. I truly believe that cards don't need to have autos or jerseys on them to be cool, but companies have to be creative. I would have loved to see ITG make some cool inserts that had some different innovation to them. Examples of innovation from other companies are the use of acetate, die-cutting, thicker card stock, special foiling techniques, and special textures. This is an aspect that ITG could explore more.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
8.75/10

Overall Rating -
ITG Heroes and Prospects is a set you can't really go wrong buying. It comes at a price point ranging from $75-$90 dollars per box and you get 4-5 nice hits per box. The product is an excellent mix of very young talent, current talent, and legendary talent. With 18 packs per box, it's also a product that you can sit and enjoy opening - well, unless you're trying to get it all as fast as you can to cut down on Youtube video length.

I definitely recommend adding this product to your purchase list. Aside from just getting cards that might be good now, this product is especially good for pulling cards that might be very hot in the future. It's a product sort of similar to baseball's Bowman draft and prospect cards. Many of those cards may not be worth a lot currently, but there may be one or two in there that sky rockets later. And H&P has that same sort of potential. Except here, you also have a chance of getting some pretty darn good current players as well.

Heroes and Prospects is a solid buy and something I wouldn't hesitate getting and trying out. I'm surprised that this box is my first ever! It definitely won't be my last.

Overall Rating:
9/10
(not and average)

Here's a box of H&P I got from Dave and Adam's Card World:

25 comments:

  1. LOVE this years ITG H+P, the Auto checklist is outstanding, and for the price of a box of UDS1 (or close enough), you get a couple of autos and some jerseys and even some great patches. I think the look of the cards this year is MUCH improved over previous years. One of my favourite products this year so far, and I'm usually not an ITG fan.

    - ethannyk

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow love the product bein able 2 collect the locals is fun
    hockeyleafs100

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really like Heros and Prospects thins year. The auto set is really nice, there is lots of good players on the checklist. The jersey and patchs are always a good suprise to see what your going to get.
    Phaneufcollector3

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love HandP every year it's awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WOW i luv hnp this year its amazing hope to see u pull a great RNH card

    THOMAS4LIFE1

    ReplyDelete
  6. i think hap is rely good this year the base loook awsome and the tribute cards are just amazing
    base desighn-9.5
    autographs-8.5
    tribute cards-10
    over all 9
    its SJOVECHKINFAN
    AWSOME REVIEW

    ReplyDelete
  7. really like the autos and jerseys and primes, and may be getting a box in the future because of the improvement i find this year, and really find the tribute cards rlly cool.

    brendar7

    ReplyDelete
  8. H and P is solid yet again. The gold background autos are so niceee, especially the Henrique. And the tribute cards are a great add to the set to honour those we lost last summer.

    Sportsreviewcan on youtube...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Heroes and Prospects sounds like a good product this year. Not sure about how much they cost per box, but I may purchase a box of this. I love H&P memorabilia cards because of the huge swatches you usually get from their jersey cards. Autographs are also very well done, they make the sticker camouflage in with the card which I think is a very nice idea. Will see the check-list first, and then I might purchase this product to break since I couldn't get my hands on my favourite Artifacts this year. I would rate H&P this year a solid 8.5/10!

    Thanks Blacksheep217 for the contest!

    -RetailRippers

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great review. I also have never broken any H&P stuff either. I did get in on a pack sale of them on SCF. So I have 6 packs coming to me soon. Seeing your break got me really looking forward to what I might find. I almost prefer cards of this nature over some of the NHL product. It is a decent price point and you get to possibly get a future NHL star before they make it to the NHL.
    I prefer it also as I collect autographs so getting these younger guys, a few of the base I can get signed on my own.
    The design of the cards is nice to, plus the large swatches of jersey is really cool.
    Great review and I've subscribed to your channel. Look forward to seeing more breaks.

    youtube:
    mws19841

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really love h&p every year it is a great product,very afordable. And great design! Itg continues to impress me!

    THEHOCKEYCARDS

    ReplyDelete
  12. I personally don't like H&P because I find that it looks old but the tribute cards are really nice!

    Thanks for the Contest!

    87LeafsFan

    ReplyDelete
  13. That's a very nice product. I always love the product with lot of rookies like SPx or ITG Heroes and Prospects. The cards you pulled were very good. I hope I'll have as good as you. The only problem is that you can have some poor players that will never play for the NHL, but it's always the risk with these products.

    lfcmontreal

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love this years h and p! they did an amazing job on all of the subsets and you dont get alot of no name players in each box any more. a lot more for your money more hits than a lot of other products that are even more highh end.

    ytname- Priceforthewin

    ReplyDelete
  15. you do some very nice card reivews man and i think you know my youtube account and if you forgot its spartoin117
    these cards look great the best one is the jersey cards

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really really like this product. It is in my top 3 to buy. I personally think that everything, even the base cards in it go well with eachother and flow. I would definitely like to pick up a box.
    YouTube: danboyle13

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really love the look of the jersey and auto. But I think that the base cards from last year were nicer looking than this year. It's always a fun product to open and it's not too expensive. Except for the base cards, the other cards look better than last year.

    Thank you

    12iginlacalgary12

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think the product this year is very cool and love the designs of the tribute cards.
    Thanks for all of these great contests!
    -C2netsniper

    ReplyDelete
  19. Its great to see the younger players and older players get appreciated a bit more in this set. Im friends with people from the Q and it's cool that you could get there hockey card in a pack. The cards look better then ever this year, in my opinion.

    -wackywally12

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great set! I also wish they would serial number cards.
    KING

    ReplyDelete
  21. Another top-notch review. I love those massive ITG swatches. Makes me wanna go out and bust a box!

    -Skroeker24

    ReplyDelete
  22. Those massive swatches are awesome, especially for the price point of a box. Compare those swatches to a similar priced set, say, UD series 1 Game Used, and it's really impressive. Not a huge fan of the base design though.

    - jpbboyle

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awesome product. Heroes and Prospects never fails to put a smile on peoples faces. I dont have much to say about hap because well let's face it. It is the same old same old. The designs are different though which is nice. I will try a product of hap in the future, but some reason it is not my thing. Congratz on your box luke. For this box i have nothing to say about hap haha it isnt my forte :)

    - MrSport4life

    ReplyDelete
  24. Every year, this is the product I look forward to busting. At the price, you really can't go wrong. ITG gives great value and it is always cool to collect the top prospects such as Nail Yakupov before he is even drafted. It is great to see the selection of players in this product, really loving the designs as well. Great box and review Luke!

    HockeyCardFan1000 on Youtube!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love H & P! It is always a sought after product every year! 91thestammer

    ReplyDelete