Connor Bedard isn't just taking the ice by storm with his impressive start for the Chicago Blackhawks; he's also fast becoming the name on every Upper Deck NHL trading card enthusiast’s list. Industry experts, including Cherry’s founder Grayson White, are drawing parallels to Zion Williamson's entrance to the NBA in 2019—a time when trading cards flew off the shelves.
"We’ve seen a surge in Upper Deck NHL trading card pre-orders already," says White, capturing the essence of the Bedard buzz. His impact on the market is reminiscent of Zion's debut, which disrupted the basketball card scene significantly. "When Zion came into the NBA in 2019, it was hard to keep product on the shelves, and we can already see Bedard having a similar influence," added White.
Bedard's striking performance on the ice, like the deceptive shot that became his fifth goal in just 10 games, is also making a splash in the singles market on eBay. Performances like these add value to trading cards, as they capture the player’s spirit and promise.
"Upper Deck produced an Easter Egg rookie card of sorts in the 2023-24 Series 1, and it blew up on eBay, selling for almost $1400 AUD," White remarks, highlighting the immediate impact of Bedard's entrance into the league.
Hockey card collectors are indeed always on the prowl for the next big hit, and Bedard's cards are trending to replicate the eBay trajectory seen with basketball's recent stars. As White points out, "It often takes NHL rookies years to even hit the ice, let alone start racking up the points Bedard has already."
The anticipation for Bedard's first key rookie card, the Young Gun in the 2023-24 Upper Deck Series 2 Hobby Hockey, is mounting. This product is still considered a good buy by White, even though prices have already doubled—echoing the market's response to Zion's cards. "We sold our first few cases at $250 AUD per box, but they are now almost at $500 according to Waxstat.com," he notes.
Reflecting on the recent Global Games event in Melbourne, which saw an impressive turnout, White is optimistic about the NHL market in Australia. Although he warns, "Supply is always hard in bull markets," the opening of several trading card stores across Australia points to a robust market. And with Bedard’s rising star, hockey will likely be at the top of their buy lists.
Bedard's maturity and team spirit, as acknowledged by Coach Luke Richardson, further endear him to collectors who value character as much as performance. This makes his cards not just a passing interest but a long-term investment, as collectors seek to secure a tangible connection to what many hope will be an illustrious career.
Connor Bedard's start with the NHL is not just a win for the Blackhawks but a win for the trading card industry. His early successes and the excitement they generate are reshaping the landscape of NHL card collecting, promising an exciting season for enthusiasts and investors alike.