2016-17 Upper Deck Series 1: Blaster Hunting For Auston.

Here I am, back again! I decided to start from scratch and pick the hobby back up for the meantime. I've just really missed collecting and blogging about hockey cards as a pastime.

What better way to kick things off than with Upper Deck's annual flagship release. A set that I have decided to pursue in putting together. As per usual, the set contains 200 cards featuring veteran players and as expected, 50 Young Guns cards - off course, I'll be chasing those as well.

Speaking of chasing, on a whim I broke the seal by picking up a few blasters. I thought it would be a good way to get my feet wet again while accumulating the base set as well as whatever inserts and Young Guns may fall. I'm not going to lie, pulling a coveted Auston Matthews rookie was certainly dancing like sugar plums in my head.

I've decided to post the contents of each box individually showing my favorite cards from each break.

In my opinion, the design looks fantastic! The photography selection is a step above from last years release as I thought there were way too many close-ups in the 2015-16 Upper Deck set.

#199 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins/Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks CL
Let's strike the match with one of the two checklist cards included in the 200 card base set; featuring two captains who helped lead their teams to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

#12 Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes
I've always had a special place in my heart for the Phoenix Coyotes inaugural Aztec jersey.

#24 Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo Sabres
I've recently taken a liking to Ryan O'Reilly since watching him play at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey as well as his tenure with the Buffalo Sabres thus far.

#99 Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens
Galchenyuk has been an exciting player to watch for the Canadiens. Hell, I'll swallow my pride and go so far as to say that the Habs have been a fun team to watch this season in general.

#112 Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils
Another throwback jersey and just in time; very festive looking Henrique!

#121 John Tavares, New York Islanders
Nice shot of one of my favorite players in the league right now.

#146 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
#144 Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
Despite having very solid numbers for a rookie netminder, Murray's name doesn't drop as much as Laine and Matthews when it comes to the 2017 Calder race. I think the fact that he is technically still considered a rookie is overshadowed by how much he stood between the pipes for Pittsburgh and accomplished last season during the playoffs.

#145 Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
Nice card featuring Phil the Thrill in the retro Penguins threads.

#148 Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
It's crazy how far this guy has come in the NHL. From being moved around like currency, Burns has finally found his place as a Shark. From helping San Jose make a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, capturing the World Cup and being an early favorite for the Norris Trophy - Burns has taken his hockey career to new levels.

#131 Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Here's a card capturing one of the feel good moments from last season. Spoiler alert: Ryan scored a goal in the second period and the kids received their puppy as promised which they conveniently named 'Bobby'.

#152 Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

#180 Derek Dorsett, Vancouver Canucks

#183 Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks

#195 Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

#212 Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets YG RC
Kyle Connor was picked in the 1st round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and has seen a fair share of ice with the Winnipeg Jets so far into the season.

#215 Zach Sanford, Washington Capitals YG RC
I'm unfamiliar with Zach Sanford but he has seen 19 games with the Capitals thus far this season, recording one assist.

#244 Austin Czarnik, Boston Bruins YG RC
Czarnik has been a regular member of the Bruins lineup, recently snapping a 16-game goalless drought.

C113 Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes YG
Although my Young Guns weren't named Matthews or Laine, I did end up with a consolation prize - a 4th Young Gun, a UD Canvas to boot. The UD Canvas Young Guns are a tougher pull than their normal counterparts so it's always more special when you uncover one.

Lawson Crouse has been having a promising rookie year with the Coyotes, developing into a valuable role-player on the team whilst showing flashes of power-forward potential.

I also pulled a couple UD Portraits and Shining Stars but those insert sets haven't 'done it for me' since their inclusion in the annual flagship roll-out.

It was a fairly decent tin of cards overall, no complaints here. I picked up nearly half the base set and although I didn't hit any of the highly touted rookies that I was hoping for, it was a good mix of cards all-around. I'm looking forward to sharing what's inside the next box.

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