2013/14 Upper Deck Series One came out this past week, and with it came the new Young Gun cards. These collector favorites are a staple of modern hockey card collecting. Though they are not numbered, have no memorabilia embedded, and have no autograph on them, they still hold good values and are highly desired. I personally look forward to the new Young Gun cards to see how they are designed. Some years I have loved while others have left me wanting. Here are my personal Young Gun rankings from the last five years (from 2009/10-now).
5. 2013/14 Upper Deck
This year's design was by far my least favorite of the past five years. I'm all for glam, glitz, and bold designs... but this one just doesn't hit the right notes. To me, this design could have had sort of a 1970/80's glam rock feel to them. The sign could have been really crazy with the orange background and sparkling foil accents. Instead, it just looks flat and doesn't stand out at all. The previews of these Young Guns weren't inspiring, and seeing them live and in person is about the same. I can't like 'em all, I guess! But Upper Deck did have a pretty good run for me in terms of personally enjoying the way the Young Guns looked these past five years. I can't wait for next year already!
4. 2011/12 Upper Deck
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the headliner for this year's crop of rookies. You can check out his Young Gun card above. The photo on it is stellar! I can't say the same about the design though. It's not bad, mind you, it's just that it doesn't stand out significantly in any way. I remember reviewing 11/12 Upper Deck and saying how the YGs looked too much like the regular base cards. The design here doesn't get in the way of the photo or distract the viewer, but it doesn't inspire either. The best Young Gun designs to me stand out and are memorable. The 11/12 YGs are nice, but miss this key factor. I'll remember the photo much more than the Young Gun design portion of this card.
3. 2010/11 Upper Deck
This year's Upper Deck design definitely stands out, unlike the ones that came out a year later. The Young Gun logo is big and bold and right in the middle. For whatever reason, these Young Guns give me a feeling that their design was taken from the Old American West. The font and the little swirl designs evoke cowboy imagery to me. The Young Gun design here is memorable and bold, and looks nothing like the standard base card. I'm glad that there were a lot of stand out rookies this year, because this design sure wasn't wasted on a poor rookie crop!
2. 2012/13 Upper Deck
I might be one of the few, but I really, really like these Young Guns. If you read my card reviews, you'll notice I really harp on white borders... I dislike them quite a bit!!! But these cards, to me, don't have white borders 'per se'. To me, the Young Gun design is floating on a white background... yes... there is a difference. The white and the red design scheme is so unique with these cards. It really screams MODERN. And that's what the Young Guns are all about, right? The future. These cards have a futuristic design that is forward thinking. It's just too bad there was only one series of these cards, and that this rookie group was not highly thought of. Too bad... really too bad.
1. 2009/10 Upper Deck
I had to pick a different Young Gun rather than Logan Couture otherwise people who say I'm too biased! I would have chosen a Tavares one to represent this year, but I don't have one, sadly. The 09/10 YGs are GREAT. The design of these cards is definitely on the busy side, but they are so unique! The Young Gun logo is done very large, and has a quasi-futuristic feel to it. The design of these YGs invoke both retro and modern/futuristic flair. They really embody the best of both worlds. The 09/10 Upper Deck base set was so bland compared to the previous year's set. And the following years also featured some nice base card designs. But 09/10 base cards just didn't hit their mark. Well... these YGs made up for the base cards in a HUGE way. These are by far my favorite YGs of the past five years... if not ever!
Obviously, Young Gun design opinions are very subjective. Everyone has their own tastes, likes, and dislikes. Just because I like something doesn't mean you should like the same thing! I'm sure many of you have your own rankings of the Young Gun cards from the past five years. Let me know how you would order them in the comments section below!