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As the hockey world descends to Los Angeles for all-star weekend, fans will be getting ready to enjoy the usual display of skills, entertainment and stars.
This year, however, there will be some more fireworks than usual because the NHL will be including in the festivities a special event to unveil the 100 greatest hockey players of all-time. There were 33 players who played before 1967 already announced on Jan. 1, and the remaining 67 will now be made public.
Card collectors should always being paying attention anytime there is a special announcement that acknowledges great players, whether it’s for the hall of fame or a greatest players list. These kinds of special announcements will likely impact hockey card valuation of certain players. Our question then is, “Whose cards might see the biggest boost?”
First keep in mind that valuations fluctuate the most once something new and unexpected happens. What does this mean?
Let’s take Mario Lemieux for example. His legacy is that of a top 5 player in the history of the game, but what position he holds in the top 5 will depend on who you talk to. When Lemieux’s name is called as one of the greatest 100 players of all time no one will be surprised, and we would not have learned anything new by which to evaluate his legacy. Therefore, after tonight, most collectors won’t be running out to aggressive get his card and potentially impacting his valuation.
This principle will apply to anyone else that is considered a slam-dunk candidate in the top 50-75 range. Therefore, don’t go crazy to buy a Martin Brodeur or Joe Sakic card expecting that their valuation will see a spike, they probably won’t.
What are we looking for then? The rule of thumb is to target players whose legacy will be impacted by this decision. This will include two groups of players: (1) active players whose legacies are not yet settled (2) fringe candidates who would see a boost getting validated as a top 100 player.
There is speculation that six active players will be included. Among the names being considered are three, which should be automatic: Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and in that order. Because it’s expected that these three will be named, their valuation should not change too much. But because their legacies are still being solidified, being named a top 100 player will be considered as a good story, which will give them a small bump.
After these three, it becomes really unclear who should be considered. The names that are being thrown around include Joe Thorton, Jerome Iginla, Jonathon Toews, Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty, Patrick Kane, Evgeni Malkin and Duncan Keith.
I’ll go out on a limb and give it to Thorton, Iginla, Toews and Malkin. In the end, because of the uncertainty, whoever it is that emerges from this group, you can expect to see a bump in valuation of their cards.
While deciding who among the active players will be included in the top 100 is hard, picking the fringe candidates is almost impossible. There are a lot of top 100 lists being thrown around by writers that you can read to help you make a best guess at who will be in and who will be out, there is very little noise out there on who is actually going to get the honor.
One observation that I have is to be careful sleeping on any defensemen in the bottom half of the potential top 100. While players like Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens and Brian Leetch are usually found in the bubble territory, they are still always on the right side of the divide. These are all important players who left an impact on their generation. It appears that there is more uncertainty surrounding the forwards.
The time to speculate is running out, and soon we’ll see who can officially call themselves a top 100 player of all time, and who will see a post-announcement bump in their card value.