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Could In The Game End Up a Winner as a Result of the NHL Lockout?

September 23, 2012

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The NHL lockout has now passed the one-week mark and in the past seven days there has been a flurry of activity when it comes to player movement.

Some NHL stars have bolted to any number of the leagues scattered across Europe.  Players with remaining junior eligibility are starting the year on Canadian Hockey League squads they otherwise wouldn’t be playing for if not for the labour situation.  Up and coming young superstars will find themselves playing for their parent club’s American Hockey League affiliate.

Should the lockout continue for any significant amount of time, the current situation with assignments and signings of should-be NHLers is almost certain to be a boon to the teams that have newfound talent in their respective folds.

How great must it be to be an Oklahoma City Barons fan right now knowing that in a few short weeks you’ll be seeing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle take to the ice?

Same goes for fans of my hometown Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League as they’ll be treated to an extra season of Winnipeg Jets top-prospect Mark Scheifele.

Seeing all of these players signing with/being assigned to teams not in the NHL got me to thinking about how hockey card manufacturers might use the situation to their advantage during the lockout.

The last time we saw a lockout Panini wasn’t in the picture, so one can’t be sure what, if anything, they have in store in terms of a non-NHL product. 

Upper Deck released “All-World” in the 2004-05 season, showcasing players who suited up in European leagues, but it could hardly be called a blockbuster success of a product as far as I can tell.  Who really knows if they’ll even bother with anything this time around.

In The Game, on the other hand, used the last lockout to establish a stronghold on the prospect-focused product niche, releasing what has now become their flagship set; Heroes & Prospects.

I have only bought this product on a couple of occasions in years-past, but if ITG releases it again this year I might have to give it some pretty serious consideration (I say “if” only because I haven’t seen any news about 2012-13 H&P yet).

Heroes & Prospects is usually loaded with top-flight talent in the first place, so one can only imagine how great it might be this year with so many star NHL players suiting up for teams covered by ITG’s CHL and AHL licenses.

If the situation in 2012-13 is similar to what it was in 04-05 I can’t see how ITG doesn’t end up benefitting in a big way.  I, for one, am pretty excited to find out if that ends up being the case.

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What do you think the impacts of the NHL lockout will be on hockey card manufacturers?  Do you think ITG stands the best chance of significantly benefitting from it or am I missing the mark on this one?  Will you be buying Heroes & Prospects if it includes some of the players who otherwise only would have been in an NHL uniform this year?

Post a comment, email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com, connect with me on Facebook and Twitter and let me know your thoughts.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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