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Hockey Rookie Cards

The NHL has very stringent guidelines governing rookie status. This in term makes the identification of hockey rookie cards fairly straight forward. Regardless of where and when the player is drafted, a hockey player is designated a rookie only after they take the ice in their first official NHL game. This strict criteria provides ample opportunity for hockey card manufacturers to spread out the release of rookie cards throughout the entire product release calender..

In recent years the current NHL sports card licensees (Upper Deck and Panini America) have been tagging all players drafted in the NHL Entry Draft as rookie cards in hopes that most of the players, particularly those selected in the first round, will make the team sometime in that calendar year. If a drafted player is designated for assignment elsewhere in the team’s organization, for example to their AHL affiliate, technically that player is not a rookie until he is called up to the NHL roster and plays in a game.

Browse our ever-growing database of hockey rookie cards which features individual NHL player RC checklists, analysis, price comparisons and rookie card image galleries.