Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Goalie, Six Cards, A New Collection

There are a lot of cards out there in the world.  I don’t hope to own all of them, just all of the ones with Vinny Lecavalier on them.  I know that’s never going to happen (too many 1/1 cards and not enough PowerBall money) but that doesn’t mean I can’t try.  However, lately I strayed a bit, my eyes wandered and before I knew it I had another flame to keep an eye on.

It started innocently enough a rookie card picked up in a trade, simply because the other guy knew I liked the Lightning. It wasn’t all that special (although it was shiny) and I didn’t think twice about it.  Little did I know that the seed had been planted.

 The next card found its way into my collection on purpose, an eBay purchase that featured an auto and a jersey swatch.  I told myself that I picked it up because it was cheap and I had some extra money in the PayPal account.  It meant nothing to me, I liked auto/jersey cards and Vincent’s were way overpriced.

Then it happened.  I crossed the line.  One dark, rainy night, while surfing eBay, I bought a lot.  Six cards for basically the price of two (with free shipping!)  I couldn’t resist, I bid and I won.  Three days later the cards were in my hands and I was officially a Dustin Tokarski collector.

The first four cards are what I call fodder.  They weren’t the cards I was looking for, but they look nice in the collection.

What you see above are four ITG cards from four different years that all proclaim Tokarski a “Future Star”.  I can cross the 2008 through 2011 ITG Between the Pipes Future Stars cards off of my needs list now. The 2008 and 2009 cards feature him in his Spokane Chiefs uniforms while the 2010 and 2011 show him adorned in the Norfolk Admirals colors.

All four cards are considered “pre-rookie” cards since they were either issued before his NHL debut, or in the case of the 2011 card, were issued by a company that doesn’t hold a NHL license.  Nice cards to have as filler but not the real meat of a collection.

Next up is the secondary card, the card that made bidding on the lot worth it.  The card I really wanted could have been had on its own, but when I saw it paired with this card for almost the same price I had to pull the trigger.

A 2010-11 Upper Deck Rookie Materials from series II.  “Tic” is shown in his Lightning gear on the front of the card and it includes a nice black jersey swatch.   Game used? Nope.  On the back of the card Upper Deck’s Dick P. McWilliam lets us know that the card is from a rookie photo shoot.  So this falls under “even used”.

Finally we happen upon the money card.  I perused several eBay pages trying to decide which auction I should bid on.  The ones with free shipping were too expensive, and the ones with cheap shipping were being bid up beyond what I wanted to spend.  So I switched tactics and started looking to see if I could score a lot that included this card.  Low and behold there was.  So it became mine.

A 2010-11 Upper Deck Young Guns #246.  Its the hockey card cornerstone for any player collector. If you’re building a player collection and that player has a Young Guns card you have to have it.  No if’s, ands or buts about it, get that card as soon as you can.

So that’s how a player collection is born, or at least my Tokarski collection was born.  Will it continue?  Probably, as long as he doesn’t get traded by the Lightning along with a number two pick and a prospect for Tuukka Rask.

I’m not sure if he’ll be in next year’s releases.  It seems, despite their woes, the Lightning are committed to keeping Tokarski in Norfolk for a full season. So far this season, he’s been splitting time with fellow prospect Jaroslav Janus. Tokarski is 10-6 with 2 shutouts, a 2.43 GAA and a .901 save percentage.  The numbers are solid, but not spectacular. 

At this point, the Lightning might opt for steady and not spectacular as opposed to what they’re getting from Roloson and Garon right now.  There would be a big risk calling him up.  The team in front of him is not very responsible and could lead to him getting barraged with shots.  A couple of bad outings could damage his confidence and he could join the long list of failed Lightning goaltending prospects.

He is only 22 years old, so I can wait another season for him to get called up.  In the meantime I can look forward to some more ITG cards (maybe he can make Future Stars for a 5th straight year).

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