Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: they are all former first-overall draft picks that made their hockey-card debut via the In The Game Heroes & Prospects brand. Every year, In The Game manages to land that next great NHL star via its official Canadian Hockey League license.
Crosby and Ovechkin were featured in the 2004-05 set, one year before their NHL rookie season. John Tavares was featured in 2005-06, a full four seasons before he joined the New York Islanders. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was first featured in 2009-10, two years before he made his debut with the Edmonton Oilers in 2011-12.
So who are the hot CHL prospects in 2011-12 In The Game Heroes & Prospects, released this week in collector stores across North America? Well, current odds-on, first-overall favourite Nail Yakupov is featured in the set, albeit he made his ITG debut in 2010-11. Yakupov is featured on the packaging box and wrap, as is fellow top-5 prospect Ryan Murray. Like Yakupov, Murray made his ITG hockey card debut last season.
Other 2012 draft prospects featured both in 2010-11 and 2011-12 are Alex Galchenyuk, Griffin Reinhart and Morgan Rielly. New to In The Game Heroes & Prospects in 2011-12 are Mathew Dumba, Mikhail Grigorenko and Malcolm Subban.
Looking ahead to the 2013 NHL Draft Class, Nathan MacKinnon is the big catch in 2011-12 In The Game Heroes & Prospects. MacKinnon is a CHL rookie with the Halifax Mooseheads. He is not only featured in the base set, but also in the autograph and memorabilia insert sets, too.