Upper Deck's Young Guns series has taken many shapes, forms and detours on its way to becoming one of the hobby's most popular rookie cards. In a period defined by new technology, low-numbered autographs and parallels, Young Guns represent one of the last pure aspects of the modern collecting world. However, it took a few attempts before the concept earned it's place in hockey collecting.
Young Guns first appeared in 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey. The subset featured rookie cards for Sergei Federov and Pavel Bure. But Young Guns didn't immediately take hold with collectors. After the 1992-93 hockey card season, Young Guns disappeared for several years only to resurface following the 1994-95 NHL lockout in Upper Deck's budget brand, 1995-96 Collector's Choice. After two largely forgettable seasons in Collector's Choice, the Young Guns series vanished again.
Several years later, the much-maligned subset was given another chance in 1999-00 Upper Deck Hockey, and the rest is history. Since then, Young Guns has evolved into one of the hobby's best, non-autographed rookie cards. Their values have increased due to greater rarity and parallels have been added to the mix. Today, the cards are short prints, but fall often enough that it's possible to build a set without a ton of work. Upper Deck Young Guns are among the most iconic rookie cards in the history of the hobby, and one of the few base rookie cards to carry substantial weight.
The complete visual guide to Upper Deck Young Guns can be seen below. Follow the transformation from year to year with a card from each edition. You can also view the set details and a full checklist from most of the releases in our Upper Deck Hockey product profiles.
2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1 Young Guns were are some of the most anticipated in some time thanks to the loaded rookie class led by Connor McDavid. The 2016-17 UD flagship set also boasts a strong group of rookie talent including Auston Matthews.
2017-18 Upper Deck is the most recent set and, of course, it brings with it a new Young Guns design.
Do you have a favorite design from the popular rookie line? Let us know in the comments.
Upper Deck Young Guns Visual Guide
Click the links or images to shop for Upper Deck Young Guns from each season on eBay.
*2004-05 did not include rookies because of the NHL lockout.
2016-17 Upper Deck
2015-16 Upper Deck
2017-18 Upper Deck
Please note that multiple writers contributed to this article.
View our other Upper Deck Young Guns guides:
- 2016-17 Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns Guide
- Top 10 Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns Rookie Cards
- 2015-16 Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns Guide, Gallery
- 2014-15 Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns Guide, Gallery
- 2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns Guide
- 10 Best 2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns Rookie Cards
Also, find our complete guide to Upper Deck Hockey cards.