Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jaden Schwartz Autograph Card

One of last year's most expensive set on a per-card basis was without a doubt Panini's 2013-14 Playbook set, with packs going for $85-100 for three cards (many stores have since discounted them to $75, which still makes for a whopping $25 per card, made out of cardboard, without any gold or diamonds encrusted in it). There was no way I could afford or justify spending that kind of money on paper, but a dealer was offering to get in on his opening a case (12 packs, 36 cards in total) provided he could keep the jersey cards of superstars and all booklet cards - and I was fine with that.

Arguably my ''biggest pull'' was this card of the St. Louis Blues' Jaden Schwartz, #FD-JSC of the First Draft sub-set:
Schwartz was chosen with the 14th overall pick in 2010, ahead of teammate Vladimir Tarasenko (14th), Beau Bennett (20th), Jarred Tinordi (22nd), Brock Nelson (30th), Justin Faulk (37th), Tyler Toffoli (47th) and Brendan Gallagher (147th). All told, a wise pick by the Blues.

He'd been breaking records and awing onlookers since his bantam years, leading his school to a Saskatchewan championship, then in midget when he broke Vincent Lecavalier's 39-goal record, as well as Brad Richards' 72-assist mark.

He was either a Rookie Of The Year or scoring leader until he reached the NCAA, where he still led his team in scoring - just not the league - in both years he played.

He also dressed for Team Canada twice at the World Juniors, with a silver medal in 2011 and bronze in 2012; he was the captain of the 2012 squad.

He decided to forgo his final two seasons of College hockey to play with the Blues immediately after signing his entry-level deal in March of 2012, and scored on his first shot, in his first NHL game. He seems to be the perfect fit for the Blues' system, as a dependable two-way forward who can be counted on to eventually crack the 30-goal barrier (he had 25 last season in his second full year), and he should crack the 60-point on a regular basis (he had 56 last year).

He's quick and has a great set of hands; he just needs to bulk up a bit to be more effective in the long run and come playoff time, when opposing defensemen use their size and the lax application of the rule book to their advantage.

He took a while to sign his most recent contract with the Blues, but eventually agreed to a two-year bridge deal with the team; he currently has 7 points in 4 games so far in 2014-15, including his first career hat trick last night.

You'll notice on the card his hard-signed autograph, in thin blue sharpie, with the number 9, which was his jersey number until this season; he has since changed for 17, in honor of his late sister Mandi, who wore that number at Yale.

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