As the NHL heads into the Olympic break and the Winnipeg Jets (save four its four representatives in the Winter Games) embark on a respite after a very hot streak following the hiring of Paul Maurice, fan interest now turns to the prospects that as soon as next year could be joining the team.
Among those are four 2013 NHL Entry Draft picks - Nic Petan, Erik Comrie, Josh Morissey and Jimmy Lodge, all of whom are featured in a new hockey card series from In The Game - Heroes and Prospects.
For the uninitiated, Heroes and Prospects is a now 10 year-old set produced by In The Game, a Toronto-based trading card manufacturer. It was first released in 2004-05 during the NHL Lockout, featuring AHL and CHL players along with alumni of the developmental ranks. Since then, In The Game has continually been producing cards of young phenoms, getting the collecting world's appetite continually whetted for the next big thing on ice.
The Winnipeg Jets have long been a part of these sets. Everyone from Andrew Ladd to Bryan Little to Mark Scheifele has been part of the series at one point or another, and this year's crop of the aforementioned four Jets draft picks are part of the set.
As you can see above, there are base cards for each player but the fund doesn't end there. Comrie in particular, being a goaltender, is featured in several insert series that include his autograph or pieces of his game-worn jersey.
The real adventure for Winnipeg Jets fans will be picking up hockey cards of players who might don the team's colors for the first time come Draft Day 2014. Aaron Ekblad is tops among these prospects waiting for graduation day, and fans in Winnipeg would love to see him in the blue, white, red and grey.
Several Winnipeg hockey card stores now are carrying In The Game Heroes and Prospects, while traders are active online and through retailers/auction sites like eBay.