young-guns-cards

The 12 Most Valuable Upper Deck Young Guns Hockey Cards

Hockey card collectors have swarmed to Young Guns rookie cards. These 12 cards are the ones collectors should be targeting for investment.

Updated Sep 29, 2023

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Upper Deck first developed Young Guns (YG) hockey cards with their inaugural hockey set in 1990. Young Guns cards have been quite popular with collectors over the years. The cards include the first cards of many star players and future Hall of Famers.

Hockey card collectors expect the release of Series 1 and Series 2 Young Guns each year. It's incredible that thirty-three years later, the Upper Deck Young Guns rookies are still the main staple in the hobby.

Young Guns cards are not 'rare,' given that the cards are part of mainstream Upper Deck sets with large print runs. But, Upper Deck has started to issue more limited variations, including serial numbered and clear-cut copies.

Hobbyists view Upper Deck Young Gun's base rookie cards as a player's key rookie card. Many have already been designated as their future PSA Hall of Fame Rookie Registry card.

Gem-Mint, PSA 10 graded examples of many big-time Young Guns rookie cards are popular and have seen a significant increase in value in the past few years.

This list focuses on the twelve most iconic and valuable hockey Young Guns Rookie cards of all time. We conclude with two lists of Young Gun cards that we think have good long term investment potential.

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1. Alexander Ovechkin - 2005 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #443

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Alexander Ovechkin recently scored his 800th career goal and is within 80 career goals of passing Wayne Gretzky's all-time goals record. In early 2019, there was a time when you could have bought Ovechkin's Young Guns rookie for $400 in a PSA 10 example. The same card today is worth between $6,000 to $7,000. Even despite his accomplishments, Ovechkin feels somewhat underrated. His PSA 10 Young Guns rookie card is now amongst the most valuable for any YG card ever created. Despite the massive price increase, we consider high grade Ovechkin rookie cards to be one of the best investments for hockey card collectors. 

2. Connor McDavid - 2015-16 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #201

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Connor McDavid is already considered one of the most talented players in the NHL. McDavid is well on his way to winning his third career NHL MVP award this season. He is only 26 years old and is widely regarded as the best player in the NHL. McDavid's Young Guns rookie is approaching nearly $5,000 in value in a PSA 10 example. In a couple of years, it may not be much longer before McDavid's YG Rookie surpasses the value of Ovechkin for the highest-selling base Young Guns rookie. As with Ovechkin, we consider McDavid's PSA 10 Young Guns rookie card as an excellent investment.

3. Sidney Crosby - 2005 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #201

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Sidney Crosby debuted the same season as Ovechkin, and "Sid the Kid" quickly lived up to the hype. Crosby would win the MVP award in his second season at 19. He was being compared to Gretzky early in his career until a few seasons of injuries occurred during the early 2010s. Crosby has won three Stanley Cups in his career and was already one of the all-time great hockey players by age 30. Crosby's Young Guns rookie was a big chase card during its initial release, and collectors and buyers still have a considerable interest in this card. His Young Guns rookie card is worth between $3,500 to $3800 in a PSA 10 grade. Still a great buy for long term hockey card collectors

4.Henrik Zetterberg - 2002 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #234

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Henrik Zetterberg spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings from 2002 through 2018. Zetterberg scored 960 career points in his career and won one Stanley Cup. Zetterbeg's YG Rookie is a tough card to obtain in a PSA 10 example, and only 95 exist. PSA 10 copies are worth between $800 to $900. Zetterberg wasn't elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first-year of eligibility last year, but he could get inducted this year.

5. Marc-Andre Fleury - 2003 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #234

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Marc-Andre Fleury debuted with the Pittsburgh Penguins debating back in the 2003 season. Fleury is a three-time Stanley Cup award winner and won the Vezina during 2020-21 with the Vegas Golden Knights. His Young Guns Rookie card is challenging to find in a high-grade example. Only 89 have been graded a PSA 9 and just 31 have earned a PSA 10 grade. A PSA 9 example is worth about $1200. Fleury is a lock for a future Hall of Famer, and this card is becoming more challenging in high grades.

6. Auston Matthews - 2016 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #201

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Auston Matthews is one of the best players in the NHL and is a big-time superstar. Matthews won the NHL MVP last season; as a result, his Young Guns Rookie reached an all-time high in value. Matthews YG RC is now valued at around $1200 in a PSA 10 grade. He is already on a HOF path and is still only 25 years old. His YG RC has the next best chance to get closest to McDavid's value.

7. Leon Draisaitl - 2014 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #223

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Leon Draisaitl is regarded as one of the best players in the NHL and is teammates with Connor McDavid. He has already scored 100+ points in a season three times in his career and is on pace again to do it again this season. Draisaitl Young Guns Rookie is worth about $900 in a PSA 10 grade, but it still feels undervalued, given his dominance. Draisaitl is already on pace to become a future Hall of Famer, and his YG RC is a great buy.

8. Andrei Vasilevskiy - 2014 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #478

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Andrei Vasilevskiy is considered one of the best goalies in the NHL and has already won two Stanley Cups. Vasilevskiy is still only 28 years old and on a Hall of Fame path early in his career. His Young Guns rookie is worth about $650 in a PSA 10 grade. Only 178 of these cards have been graded a PSA 10. Vasilevskiy is still undervalued, and this card is already becoming more challenging in high-grade examples.

9. Cale Makar - 2019 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #493

Cale Makar won his first NHL Finals MVP and Stanley Cup Championship in 2022. Makar is today considered he best and most talented defenseman in the NHL. Makar's YG RC reached nearly $900 in value in a PSA 10 example when he won the Stanley Cup last season. Today, his Young Guns rookie is worth $600 in a PSA 10 grade. Makar's Young Guns rookie is an excellent buy at current prices; given his young age (24) and massive list of achievements thus far. 

10. David Pastrnak - 2014 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #495

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The Boston Bruins are favorites to win the Stanley Cup during the 2022-23 season and Pastnak is arguably having his best season of his career. His 2014 Upper Deck Young Guns RC continues to trend up in value. PSA 10 (Gem-Mint) copies today sell for under $1000, seemingly a good longer term investment.

Note that the Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov Young Guns rookie cards from the 1990 Upper Deck Hockey set are not as valuable as some of the more modern Young Guns rookie cards, many of which we have listed in the end of this article. The reason for this is the massive production run of Upper Deck Hockey cards in 1990. However, we felt it necessary to include these two iconic cards as a part of this list.

11. Pavel Bure - 1990 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #526

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Pavel Bure played in the NHL from 1991-2003 and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bure was a dominant goal scorer and helped pave the way for other young players to join the NHL from overseas. Bure's Upper Deck, Young Guns card was the first of its kind and helped introduce the YG cards to hockey collectors. His Young Guns Rookie in a PSA 10 example is worth about $80 to $100; a great buy, even despite the 1000+ PSA 10 graded copies.

12. Sergei Federov - 1990 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie #525

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Upper Deck really stacked the decks with the inaugural 1990 Upper Deck Young Guns cards. Not only did we get the rookie card of Pavel Bure, but also HOF great Sergei Fedorov. Fedorov had the speed and scoring ability that all hockey players could only dream of. Former Red Wings great Steve Yzerman called him "the most talented player I've ever seen". Like the Bure card in the set, Fedorov's Young Guns card had a massive production run, with over 900 copies earning a PSA 10 grade. This is good news for collectors who can scoop up a PSA 10 Fedorov rookie card for $50 to $100.

Young Guns - Honorable Mentions & Possible Future HOF Players 

Nathan MacKinnon - already on a Hall of Fame path, and his YG RC long-term is still a great buy under $1000 in a PSA 10 grade.

Jonathan Toews - a lock future HOF player, his YG rookie is an attractive buy under $500 in PSA 10 grade.

Carey Price - another tough goalie YG RC to find in high grade. Price is a future HOF.

Evgeni Malkin - is another lock HOF player; his YG RC is still undervalued.

Patrick Kane - another HOF lock. Kane could possibly be traded this season, and his YG RC is a solid short-term or long-term buy.

Patrice Bergeron - is most likely a future HOF, Begeron's YG RC in PSA 10 condition is tough to find and getting more expensive!

Steven Stamkos - is another HOF lock; Stamkos has been under the radar for several years, and his YG RC is still undervalued.

Nikita Kucherov: Already on a HOF path, Kucherov's YG RC is still undervalued.

Erik Karlsson - Karlsson is arguably having the best season in his career points-wise and is already considered a future HOF. His YG RC looks attractive for longer term potential.

Henrik Lundqvist: HOF bound this year; great time to pick up his YG RC before he's inducted.

Young Guns - New Up and Comers  

Jason Robertson - Robertson ranks towards the top five in total points scored and is only 23 years old. His 2020 Upper Deck YG rookie card could be a good long term buy.

Jack Hughes - Hughes is having a breakout season in 2022-23,
his YG RC could be the next one to increase a ton more in value especially if he reaches his full potential.

Kirill Kaprizov - Kaprizov won the ROY a few years ago and
his 2020 YG RC is a great long-term buy.

Igor Shesterkin
- Igor is regarded as one of the best goalies in the NHL and won the Vezina Award last season.
His YG RC is a great short-term or long-term buy.

Vinnie Rullo

About the author

Vinnie Rullo is a passionate sports fan, with a hardcore loyalty to the Yankees, NY Giants and New York Knicks. An avid sports card collector, Vinnie has also worked a collectibles specialist for one of the bigger online auction houses.

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  1. Dude ,I’ve got an extensive card collection. All sports ,magic , pokemon etc I’m thinking about downsizing . Interested? ((

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