Sunday, July 29, 2012

2011 - 12 Panini Rookie Anthology Hockey Box Break Recap And Review

A lot of the elements found in 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology Hockey are based on some of the best-designed cards from this year's Panini hockey products.  Surprisingly, bringing them all together in one update-formatted package, then combining them with brand new cards makes for a confusing release rather than a box of the best of the best.  The exclusive-to-Rookie Anthology 100 base card set turns out to be the bulk of the cards found in this box, a set that does not include a single rookie, which makes for a release that is incorrectly titled, struggling to figure out what it wants to be. 

The interesting thing here is that the base set would work beautifully for any other release, but for inclusion in this release, the better way to go would have been just rookies, no veterans. Now I realize that a product made entirely of rookies might not have enough mass appeal, so as an alternative that includes veteran players, the base set could have been made of various Rookie Reprints, or even have new cards that utilize photos of the players from their rookie season.

And if Panini took the literal definition of Rookie Anthology, a collection of various chosen works, in this case Rookie Cards, brought together and issued as a single release, just utilizing the rookie hits found in this product would have been fantastic.

Even after all of that, there are some gorgeous hit cards to be pulled, so there is a lot of value here to be found.

Rookie Anthology falls into our premium cards category.  Each hobby box contains 10 – 5 card packs with 2 memorabilia and 2 autograph cards per box with a bonus hit card pack.

Here is a look at some of the cards we pulled.

Base set
Anze Kopitar, front and back

Claude Giroux, P.K. Subban, Jeff Skinner

Phil Kessel, Antti Niemi, Ryan Kesler

Rick Nash, Shane Doan, Taylor Hall

Teemu Selanne, Jarome Iginla, Patrick Kane

Pinnacle Ice Breakers Inserts
 Carl Klingberg, Erik Gustafsson

 Marcus Kruger, Matt Fraser

Other Inserts
 David Ullstrom Crown Royale Rookie, Mark Borowiecki Calder Contenders #/999

The Hits

Rookie Rivalry Dual Swatch Memorabilia Cards
 Adam Henrique & Erik Gustafsson, Ryan Johansen & Craig Smith

 Cameron Gauce Rookie Treasures Mem/Auto, Zack Kassian Limited Phenoms Auto

Bonus Hit Card Pack
Marc Staal Luxury Suite Combo Swatch and Stick

Overall Look
These cards look great, from the base set to the inserts to the hits. One minor point of confusion, I was a bit into collating my cards when I released the card number was in the middle of the card and not at the  top of the card.  If you look at the back of the Anze Kopitar base card you will see it has his sweater number, 11, at the top left but the card number, 30, is found in the middle.  The Crown Royale  Silhouettes and Certified Freshman Fabric Autographs are standouts.

Quality and Variety of Players
While there is tremendous quality and variety of players, I’ve already touched on some of the issues I have with the set as a whole.

Do the Hits satisfy?
As individual hits, these cards deliver. The bonus hit card pack is fantastic.  Collectors would be happy to pull any of these hits.

Will you keep coming back for more?
The real question for collectors will be “do I bust boxes or look towards the secondary market.”  There is enough here to hold interest and certainly enough to try a few boxes, but the best route in determining whether this product is for you is to go over the checklist rather carefully.  Here is a link to a great one found at Sport Card Radio.  One possible detractor for collectors ties into any update release.  Many of these cards are new and can’t be found in the previous releases they are based on so certain collectors will not appreciate having to chase these cards after they have already built sets for Crown Royale, Contenders or Pinnacle.

4 out of 5

2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology Hockey slightly reconfigured could be one of the best releases of the year, but as it stands it might be a little too much variety for its own good.

Review box provided by Panini

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