Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2011-2012 Panini Elite Hockey Review

One of Donruss' most popular brands makes its return to the hockey card world. Elite has been a mainstay for sports like football and basketball for years now... finally, after a long absence it comes back to hockey. Did Panini make a smart decision by bringing this back, or should they have just left it with the other sports? We shall certainly see!


Base Card Design -
If you collected Elite hockey cards back in the late 90's, you will instantly see the similarities between the new Elite base cards and their original counterparts. They look and feel very much the same. The base cards come on a very thin foil board card stock, each card is completely foil. Unlike the nufex cards found in this year's Pinnacle, the foil finish on these cards have no texturing - they are flat and slick. Each base card is very shiny and reflect light very well. Panini produced a very similar feeling card last year in their Playoff Contenders set. Though the foil is nice looking, it is very prone to fingerprints. Handling the cards too much will mar the card. I suggest putting them all in penny sleeves to keep them looking great.

In terms of design, the Elite base cards take the simple approach. The players name and team grace the bottom of the card along with a classy looking Elite logo. The silver foil border frames the photograph of the players nicely. In some instances, the players actually break through the border and step onto the bordering, which is kind of a nice touch. The Elite cards are uncluttered and pleasing to look at. For those who like a very simple look, this definitely nails it. For me, I think the cards could have used a touch more flair, but overall the base cards are well-done.


The Elite backs have a simple and clean design to them. All the components that make up the back of the card are spaced out well so as not to be cluttered. You will find the usual information that is expected on the back of a hockey card along with a little write-up on the player.


The rookie cards in Elite share the same design as the base cards except that they have a blue border rather than a silver one. Though it's just a simple color change, the effect on the way the cards look is dramatic. I prefer the simple silver borders to these. In a way these cards stand out a bit too much. If I were designing the cards I would have chosen maybe a softer frosted blue color for the border to match the standard base a bit more while having them still stand out as rookie cards. The rookie cards also carry a 'rookie' logo above the player's name. Speaking of which, it can be difficult to read the player's name on the card card as the black font can get lost in the blue border. Some of the rookie cards will feature autographs. The designers have chosen to leave a white-out area for the signature - a nice and practical choice. The rookie cards are separated into two different tier levels according to the checklist. The short printed rookies are the bigger names such as Ryan-Nugent Hopkins and Cody Hodgson.

Base Card Design Score:
8/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
A typical box of Elite will yield 2 autographed cards and 2 memorabilia cards. Also found in boxes are standard insert cards as well as parallels of the base set.


One of the standard insert cards found in Elite boxes are the STARS cards. These cards are unnumbered and do not have an autograph or jersey piece on them. One of the things that Panini has done with many of their sets (from low end to high end) is to include non-'hit' inserts. When Elite came out in the 90's, these types of insert cards were the norm - and many people would chase after them. It's nice to see these kind of cards back in packs, but I know that most collectors have moved on and don't pay much attention to this type of card. Still, the cards look nice and are fun extras for player collectors. The gold border of the card really gives it a premium/special feel. The Elite Series is another insert set that has the gold border look. Though probably not worth too much, they are sweet looking cards that help you feel a tad better than getting all base cards when opening packs up.


New Breed cards showcase rookies of the NHL. Single jersey versions of these cards to do not feature serial numbering, but variations with autographs like the Raphael Diaz shown above do. This particular card is numbered to 50. The New Breed inserts remind me of the Rookie Material cards from Upper Deck Series 2. I'm pretty sure that the swatches are event worn pieces. The backs of the cards say nothing to the effect that they were ever used in a game, rather they just say the player wore the piece at one time. The design of these cards is also uninspired. They sort of have a generic look about them, but still they are cleanly designed and fun to chase for rookie collectors. Unlike the UD Rookie Materials, these come in more tiers to chase. The Elite Materials cards are similar to these except they also feature NHL veterans. Again, collectors will have to chase all the different levels... simple jersey... autograph... jersey and autograph... patch version... etc.


More interesting than the standard jersey, patch, or autographed cards are the Prime Numbers cards. These cards have been designed to be put together like a puzzle. The Marc-Andre Fleury that I pulled is the left-hand side of the puzzle. On the right border of this card is a special die cut that will match up to it's partner, the middle card. A third card will attach to the middle card. The card is very thick and looks very nice with the rainbow foiling. Collectors will have a fun time collecting the three pieces. The total print run of ALL THREE CARDS is shown on the back of the card. So for example, the Fleury card I have only features a jersey and is numbered to 184. This doesn't mean there are 184 jersey cards, that means there are 184 total jersey, autos, and patch variations of the card. Collectors may not be familiar with how Panini chose to section off the cards in terms of the print run. So early on, if you see a crazy patch with an autograph on it selling for cheap... grab it! It's probably VERY LOW numbered. Be on the look-out!


Parallels exist in the Elite set for collectors to find. They are rather common to find within boxes. My box yielded 6 red die-cut parallel cards. The cards are the same as the base except for the red bordering and die-cut shape. As with the blue rookie borders, I am not a huge fan of the bold red borders of these cards - they are a bit much for me... and I'm not exactly sure what the die-cut is supposed to be of. Sometimes Panini seems do die-cut cards just to die-cut them. I've seen this in other sports as well. It's just something I am not a fan of. If you like it, that's great!

There are other inserts to be found in Elite, but I would like to mention one other that was interesting. Panini has included Social Signatures into the set. These cards carry special inscriptions of player's Twitter handles. I thought this was a pretty unique idea and I think it'd be great fun to pull one. Unfortunately, my favorite player, Logan Couture, doesn't have one... though he is actively tweeting on Twitter... maybe next year Logan!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
8/10

Overall Rating -
Elite is a solid offering from Panini. Each box will net you a couple autographs and memorabilia cards along with a slew of inserts, rookies, and parallels. With 20 packs per box, Elite takes a little longer to bust than some of the products that have been recently released. I enjoyed opening my box and seeing all the different things come out.

I was skeptical about Elite upon hearing of its return to hockey, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by it - I particularly like the Prime Numbers cards. At around $100 a box, it is a solid buy that many collectors can afford. It's worth a shot to try a box or two of Elite. Best wishes on your breaks and let me know what you get out of it!

Overall Rating:
8/10

Here's my box of Elite from D&P Cards in Sacramento, CA!

64 comments:

  1. i love panini elite hockey. i think it looks very nice and worth the money. diecuts are cool looking and there are nice autos and chase cards thank you for another contest!!

    youtube name-Priceforthewin

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like the Design of Elite and how they add so many die cuts into their product. It's cool how they made it like the old elite cards. If your collecting someone in elite, it will be annoying to collect all the parallels and stuff the player you collect in Elite. I think they shouldn't have added any base packs in this product. It would be better if it was a 15-18 pack product rather than a 20 pack product with a few packs of base cards. My favourite part of Elite is the new breed rookie jerseys and the rookie autos. They have a good concept with those puzzle piece cards but I don't like the design that much. I might try a box in the near future.

    -BrassardFan

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like that Panini has successfully resurrected and upheld the brand image of the "Elite" product from Donruss.
    Very good review of decent cards!

    -Skroeker24

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice review I really like the base cards and autos -hockeycardcollecters

      Delete
  4. Aardvaark RatnikMay 2, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Another boring uninspired release from Panini.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i actually like it honestly.. watched the case break on CnC(they got a 1/1 prime number LOL) , and got an up close look at the patrick roy prime numbers (jersey only), IMO.. if you're a fan of Victory, then this would be a nice alternative!

    YT - canucks112785
    CnC - LuSchnied

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man. I was in that break and had the Caps. Unbelievable. I was speechless when I saw it. So lucky to pull that.

      YT - DREADS613
      C&C - jmcguirk152

      Delete
  6. Nothing really grabs me about this product so I'll probably give a miss and wait for Titanium.

    - Reebz0r

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd say Elite looks solid. Nothing mind-blowing, but not half bad either. I'm always a fan of easy to obtain parallels so those are a plus. I'll probably pick up a few packs, not a box though.
    Also, what do you think of Panini Prime blacksheep? have you seen any of the photos?

    -jpbboyle

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very solid product. I will likely try some loose packs by so far I am liking what I am seeing. My favourite subset is the Social Signatures (where they inscribe their Twitter name), very creative ideas. For the price, it's not too bad at all.

    HockeyCardFan1000 (on YT)

    ReplyDelete
  9. im starting to like panini more than upper deck for some reason but i like your review i still havent opened any elite my youtube name is spartoin117

    ReplyDelete
  10. Elite looks nice and Panini is making better cards. Maybe some day they are more popular than UD. I like those Social Signatured becose they look nice. Detroit Red Wings is best!!! Hah hah:)
    My youtube name is 64AllSports

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think what Panini did with Elite this year was great! It looks exactly like the old stuff with a enhanced look! I love the look of the new breed cards and the Social Signatures is a set that would be fun for any person to collect! The only negative that I have seen in this product is the black writing on the blue background which makes it impossible to see on camera! Overall a great product that reminds me of a high end Donruss!

    - jtgoleafs

    ReplyDelete
  12. Honestly, I like the look of Elite. As well, it seems to be a step in the right direction for Panini: Few parallels, few inserts, etc.
    As well, they'd added some great ideas with the Prime Numbers, and Social Signatures set.
    Not to mention, seeing as it's a cheaper buy, it's great to see something affordable with some great hits out of it. I'd definitely consider picking up a box of it.

    TF3W // klowd1661 [YT]

    ReplyDelete
  13. I like how Elite looks. I like all of the Inserts that they put into the product. Your review told me if I wanted to buy this product and I would say yes!

    YouTube name Eoj18

    ReplyDelete
  14. im not really into this product i just think its to expensive for what you get, but I do like that puzzle sort of thing with that marc andre fleury but thats basically it. Im sticking with UD
    Youtube- MattsSportsCards

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  15. I overall like this product. It has your opportunities to get some nice hits with the prime numbers, but the design doesn't look too great. 7/10

    YT - CanucksCollector

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  16. Looks like a fairly decent product. The autos look superb on the cards and you can't go wrong with 20 packs per box, thanks for the contest!

    YouTube: OnlyTheMagnificent

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really like the prime numbers jerseys/autos and I like the design of the cards. I think that overall it is a nice product and there are some nice hits to look for. Thanks for the contest!!

    Youtube name: TheCardman29

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think this product is really cool. Since I don't get a lot of expensive boxes, this panini elite is awesome. The base cards have a nice design with the foil included and I also liked the rookies autos. The rookie cards themselves though, to me, did not please me to well because they looked so much like the base cards and not another design. I also liked how you could connect some of the jersey cards to make a picture. Overall, as I said this product is awesome. THANKS FOR THE CONTEST.

    Youtube Username: teeheekid1

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love how it has puzzle piece cards, but its pretty expensive for four hits. I also like the base too. Love your youtuber videos keep up the GREAT work and Thanks for the contests!! :)

    Youtuber name: cn2117HabsFan

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love this product. the base look great. the new breed are nice but the puzzle diecut cards would look great all together
    youtube name:phxfan19

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  21. I like this product but the price is to high! 120$! thats too much! Autoes looks cool! Base card design is pretty good! Love that jersey card like MAF with stats!

    youtube martinspridstavlaet

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  22. I love this product. especially the jersey cards.
    -Mrmat18033

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  23. This product looks like a really fun box to open! if I can save up enough money to buy one I definitely will.

    ReplyDelete
  24. It is an interesting enough set, but I dont enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed pinnacle by panini. The rookie cards do not seem to be nearly as unique as the ones offered in other sets.
    LegendOfCapone

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think Elite is overall a good box. I would definitely prefer this box over others. This is money well spent

    Youtube username: Mpb7771

    ReplyDelete
  26. i think panini did a great job on those die cut jersey, patches and overall everything. also how they numbered more stuff than they did on crown!!!

    youtube username: brendar7

    ReplyDelete
  27. Personally I think that elite is not a good product. I think that it should be priced topps at $60. I have seen some other peoples box breaks and a guy pulled a Landeskog rookie autograph. The only bad part is that the bottom of the card was crimped from the pack sealing sheet. I just think they need to play it safe and drop the price.

    Youtube username: FRhockey28

    ReplyDelete
  28. I like this product. the base and everything is very sharp I will be buying a bunch of this thanks for the contest luke.
    Phaneufcollector3

    ReplyDelete
  29. I like the product, I think it has some very nice cards in it for what you are paying. Thankyou for the contest Luke!!! SJSharkzz3

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great looking product, nice review

    - SPorts review can

    ReplyDelete
  31. Yikes. Not a fan in both terms. First, the value per box, from what I've seen, has not been good, at all. Secondly, I think it looks awful. Maybe it's just because I don't really like the look of most older products in general, and Elite is supposed to look like an older product. Overall, I'm not a fan of Elite.

    - ethannyk

    Thanks for the contest Luke!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think it's a great product, haven't been able to get my hands on any of it but I've seen many people break them!
    Great reviews and videos, keep up the good work !!


    YT- DMoffattHockeyTimes

    ReplyDelete
  33. Panini Elite is not a bad product, but in my honest opinion it sort of like a better product of donruss from last year. Elite has some really nice cards, but I personally am not a fan with it. Seen lots of breaks and seen people pull lots of nice stuff. I especially like the die cut jerseys where if you collect all three you can make it into something, that is a very smart and cool idea. As always Luke thank you for the contest. My overall rating for this product is 7/10

    -MrSport4life

    ReplyDelete
  34. Not a huge fan of the design...but I haven't seen many of the hits from this product. I like the puzzle piece jerseys, but it may be hard to collect the lower numbered one's. Thanks for the contest-Evilcise1234

    ReplyDelete
  35. Actually, I don't really like the product. The design is ok, but not good. Also, I think the box costs too much for what it has. The only thing I like is prime numbers's cards. It's very nice, but the rest is not enough for the price.

    lfcmontreal

    ReplyDelete
  36. I always love elite hockey, the base always look so nice and shiny. One thing I like about elite is that its not always about the autos,jerseys,etc. but the parellels and inserts. I like how they went back to the old elite style look and it has the nostalgic look. Elite hockey looks like a great bang for your buck and I would definitely consider buying a box or two.

    Youtube Name=GBforce12

    ReplyDelete
  37. elite is a very good product!
    i realy like the look of the cards it is a very nice die cut cards!
    look-10
    price-9.5
    overall-9
    its SJOVECHKINFAN

    ReplyDelete
  38. i think elite is o.k i dont really like the look i find its to old school looking but i like the numbering i bout a pack at the toronto expo and got a nice rookie numbered to 999




    crazymonkeydude10

    ReplyDelete
  39. Elite seems like a decent product, way better than Donruss imo. I like the foil on the base cards but the back looks less appealing. I really like the Social Signatures but the Prime Number cards look the most high-end out of all the other cards. I especially like how if you collect all three of the die cut jerseys you can create a puzzle with it because it makes the product even more fun and enjoyable to break. Overall Elite seems like a solid product, I rate this 8.5/10.

    -iginlasfan12

    ReplyDelete
  40. i think the old look of the cards look really good and also the price is perfect for what you get.

    youtube username: TheJETSMAN1234

    also it would mean alot if you would subscribe to my channel thanks man!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. elite is nice i dont really like how old the base cards look but thats o.k its a good product for your money





    getzlaf1551

    ReplyDelete
  42. After reading the replies and comments in this forum, the general consensus you can gather is that the hobby is doomed. Are you people truly believeing this is a good product? The damn cards are coming out damaged, the collation is brutal and there's no "mojo" factor in it at all.Plus slap on that 120 dollar pricetag they are stealing for junk. Stop buying garbage and they might produce something better than this waste.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Elite is a very sold product, love the design, I would really recommend getting a box, Seems like you get one really solid hit per box, and it isint to expensive either.



    Habsfan771

    ReplyDelete
  44. I thought that the prime numbers jersey was awesome!

    87leafsfan

    ReplyDelete
  45. Pannini elite is a very solid product this year although made by pannini its still a bestseller here is canada!!!
    Thanks for contest Sheep!!!!

    Youtube Account: multicold23

    ReplyDelete
  46. pannini elite is very good this year nice cards.


    multicold22

    ReplyDelete
  47. i love panini elite hockey. i think it looks very nice and worth the money. diecuts are cool looking and there are nice autos and chase cards.Elite seems like a decent product, way better than Donruss imo. I like the foil on the base cards but the back looks less appealing. I really like the Social Signatures but the Prime Number cards look the most high-end out of all the other cards. I especially like how if you collect all three of the die cut jerseys you can create a puzzle with it because it makes the product even more fun and enjoyable to break. Overall Elite seems like a solid product, I rate this 99.9 out of 100, you are the only card collecter that i know that is a die hard sharks fan, i am a die hard pittsburgh fan, sharks are second on my list, hope u don't hate me now, i colect rookies, by the way, congrates on the 300 vide, hope one day its numder 3000! sad part is that san jose lost to st.louis, on the bright side the st.loius blues lost to the kings, they got sweeped! Hope u pick me please!,

    Youtube name= Mrhockeyfan365

    ReplyDelete
  48. I've like the old Elite in past years but I am not as enthusiastic about this years. Overall mirror back ground are not my favorite but like the distribution of hits in this one as well as the nice inserts.
    Thanks
    CanesOnTheBrains

    ReplyDelete
  49. A very cool product with a lot of very good cards and I feel that it is going to be a very successful product.

    Youtube Username: beastsunleashed

    ReplyDelete
  50. I like card desing but after watching these shiny cards for hours it doent look so awesome anymore. I like to Donruss to come back to hockey. I give 7/10 to this product
    yt name : tuukkaRaskPC

    ReplyDelete
  51. still want to get my hands on a box. they look ok, their different, like the autos though, cant wait to see what titanium will be like.

    ReplyDelete
  52. i miss the 90's, like when the 1992 Fleer Frank Thomas Rookie Sensations Cello packs tore through the hobby...This definitely has that similar feel.

    aronowm2 on youtube

    ReplyDelete
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