A Guide To The Upper Deck 2021-22 Extended Series Young Guns

As all hockey collectors know, the Young Guns line is the most iconic hockey rookie card series available.

Traditionally, it appears in the Upper Deck Series 1 and Series 2 releases. However, in the last two years, Upper Deck has also issued the Upper Deck Extended series to complete its flagship releases.

That means the Young Guns release has been extended significantly to 150 per year. But are the prospects diluted considerably as a result? Find out in our 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series Young Guns guide.

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We have already seen two relatively strong crops of Young Guns cards appear in the 2021-22 NHL season. Series 1 was led by the strong Cole Caufield. Meanwhile, Series 2 was headlined by Moritz Seider and several other promising rookies.

So, you have to wonder: how much gas is left in the metaphorical Young Guns tank? Are there really any future stars in there? We looked at every single name on the list to provide a complete answer in our 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series Young Guns guide.

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Tier 1 Of The Upper Deck 2021-22 Extended Series Young Guns Guide

Alexander Holtz – Right wing – New Jersey Devils

Holtz is a no-brainer as an investment. At only 20, he already has the chops we expect from a pro. The wing has been ever present on the solid Swedish teams of recent years at all levels up to juniors.

Perhaps he was a crucial part of the gold-winning team at the  IIHF U18 World Championship. His AHL tally of 51 points in 52 games speaks for itself, and Alexander has also shown a good deal of promise at the NHL level. A true stud.

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Aliaksei Protas – Center – Washington Capitals

For a 21-year-old, Protas looks very mature and sure-handed. With 9 points in 33 appearances in the NHL for 2021-22, it is easy to imagine him contributing a good deal more in a couple of years.

He is big and uncoordinated, but steady progress on that front is likely. Aliaksei is already a regular for the Belorussian national team after starring for them at all youth and junior levels.

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Scott Perunovich – Defence – St. Louis Blues

Scott went only 45th in the 2018 NHL Draft, but he has consistently overperformed. Perunovich helped the US in 3rd place in the 2018 World Juniors Championship in Buffalo, New York. The player was later selected multiple times to the NCHC First All-Conference Team.

So far, his performances in the NHL have shown significant evidence of exceptional potential. After all, Scott’s defensive skills are unquestioned, and the offense is starting to gel.

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John-Jason Peterka – Center – Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are building on Peterka as one of their key pieces. While the center has good technique, he is mainly known for the energy and competitiveness he brings to every play.

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Alex Turcotte – Center – Los Angeles Kings

The fifth overall pick in the 2019 Draft has star quality, which can’t be taught. According to HockeyProspect.com, “His playmaking ability and vision both compliment his ability to read the ice, where he’s capable of making high-end passes at full speed.”

Some people are holding his slow NHL start against Alex. But at age 21, I don’t see any reason to worry.

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Sean Durzi – Defence – Los Angeles Kings

Sean was 52nd in the draft but burst out of obscurity in 2021-22. First, he put the AHL on notice by tallying 16 points in 13 games. Then, Durzi was swiftly promoted to the Kings. He looked remarkably effective in the pros as well. Durzi is going places.

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Jack Drury – Center – Carolina Hurricanes

He is a player who deserves more recognition than he currently receives. He represented the US ably at the World Championship and looked excellent in the AHL and in his few NHL appearances.

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Justin Barron – Center – Colorado Avalanche

Justin has some chops. According to Elite Prospects, he “loves to transport the puck up-ice, accelerating away from forecheckers while switching from one skating lane to the next. When he breaks in the offensive zone, he looks to cut to the slot or drop a pass to a teammate.”

Of course, it also helps that he plays for a big market team and is only 20 years old.  

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Seth Jarvis – Center – Carolina Hurricanes

A fine young player from the traditional breeding ground of Manitoba. While most players in this series have a few games in the NHL, the young center racked up 68 games and excelled throughout the 2021-22 season.

When drafted, Elite Prospects described Jarvis as “one of the best attackers in the draft with a defender on his back; he seeks out pressure with gear-changes or stops-and-starts, then creatively pulls away with an arsenal of moves.”

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Tier 2 Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series Young Guns Guide

Connor Dewar – Left wing – Minnesota Wild

At age 23, Connor is definitely good enough to hold down a starting spot for the Wild. The left wing did not have a particularly notable pedigree. Therefore, his performances at the AHL level were definitely above expectations.

I can also see him becoming one of their better players. However, stardom appears to be out of reach for Dewar.

Brett Leason – Right wing – Washington Capitals

Another solid young player. The Calgary, Alberta native did play for The Canadian juniors in the 2019 WJC. However, he was never considered a genuinely first-rate prospect. Nonetheless, the Capitals recently signed him to a three-year contract and seemed to believe in him.

Sean Day – Defence – Tampa Bay Lightnin

The Belgian was drafted 81st overall. And at age 24, we would like to see Day a bit further along in his development. Still, he has some strong skills.

Eliteprospects.com describes Day as “A mobile two-way defenceman who boasts an elite-level skill package. Strong on the forecheck and delivers hard shots and crisp passes.”

Ryan Merkley – Defence – San Jose Sharks

Ryan has phenomenal skating skills on and off the puck, and they got him picked 21st overall in the 2018 draft. At 22, he has plenty of room to grow as well. Still, neither his AHL form nor NHL form has lived to expectations.

Some blame his attitude and work ethic. Will Merkley right the ship in the next couple of years? Hard to say.

Janis Moser – Defense – Arizona Coyotes

Janis is the kind of all-around talent that every team needs. Equally comfortable in offense and defense, the Coyotes prospect is notable for his skating skills.

With solid performances for the Swiss national team and a surprisingly confident NHL rookie season, the defenseman may be among the league’s best at his position. The Swiss youngster also has the brains to excel in the powerplay.

Egor Sokolov – Left Wing – Ottawa Senators

Egor has represented Russia well and showed much promise for the Belleville Senators in the AHL. However, elite prospects noted his assets and room for improvement: “He used the threat of his big shot a couple of times tonight to freeze the defense and thread the puck inside the defensive box to a teammate in a shooting position.

Sokolov remains more of a shooter, but he has developed a setup ability, too. “He didn’t look particularly good in his first few NHL games, but that could change.

Josiah Slavin – Forward – Chicago Blackhawks

The brother of Jaccob Slavin is following his brother into the NHL. Without exceptionally high expectations, Josiah made significant progress in the AHL. He notched 32 points in 49 games for the Rockford Icehogs, earning a call-up.

His career could go either way from here. The good news is that Chicago needs good players, and Josiah should get an opportunity.

Arvid Soderblom – Goaltender – Chicago Blackhawks

Arvid has not much of a reputation, but he has consistently over-performed at every level. He should also get a shot for the Blackhawks. It is not inconceivable that Soderblom will emerge as the starter.

Fabian Zetterlund – Left-wing – New Jersey Devils

According to Hockeyprospect.com, Fabian “combines speed with an excellent motor, as he has a strong desire to retrieve pucks and forecheck.” The 23-year-old Swede was sensational in the AHL last year and looked solid in the NHL. One to watch.

Mason Shaw – Center – Minnesota Wild

The 23-year-old turned some heads in the 2016 Under-18 tournament, with 7 points in 7 appearances for Canada.

Unfortunately, he has not always lived up to that potential. But strong performances with the Iowa Wild in 2021-22 suggest the Center may be ready to turn the corner.

Zachary Sawchenko – Goaltender – San Jose Sharks

Zach seems to be pulling it together just as it matters. As a result, there is a good chance he will end up as the Sharks’ goalie in the near future.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Left wing – Montreal Canadiens

Rafael was undrafted but just keeps getting better and better. Of course, it also helps that he is a Quebec boy playing for the big-market Canadiens. Worth keeping an eye on.

Alex Steeves – Forward – Toronto Maple Leafs

One of several fighters in this crop came up strong in the AHL despite being undrafted. Toronto will need him next year, so he seems like a reasonable investment.

Daniil Tarasov – Goaltender – Columbus Blue Jackets

Daniil hasn’t quite put it all together yet. However, the talent is there, and he has been a strong performer for mother Russia. Worth at least holding.

Nico Daws – Goaltender – New Jersey Devils

I believe Daws will end up as a starter in the not-too-distant future. Elite Prospects described him as having “great positional awareness, staying deep because his size enables him to get in front of the puck simply.

He doesn’t leave shooters with a lot of open areas, and he doesn’t allow a lot of rebounds to test his speed and recovery.”

Artemi Kniazev – Defense – San Jose Sharks

Artemi looked good enough in the AHL last year, especially considering his age, to at least be worth a hold. However, don’t be surprised if he turns into a very good player further down the road.

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Tier 3 Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series Young Guns Guide

Gabriel Fortier – Left wing – Tampa Bay Lightning

Gabriel was the 59th overall pick in the 2018 draft. At the same time, he has broken into the Lightning at the young age of 22 after a solid string of performances for AHL Syracuse Crunch earlier in the 2021-22 season.

However, the wing has not looked up to par in his 10 appearances so far. He should stabilize, but there is limited upside there.

Justus Annunen – Goaltender – Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche backup may or may not have starter quality. But we don’t think he has what it takes to be collectible.

Riley Tufte – Left wing – Dallas Stars

Riley was diagnosed with Diabetes at age 11 and overcame health problems to become an outstanding prospect. So, you know, the left wing is authoritarian. He got three assists in the 2018 World Juniors Championships as well.

So when Riley was picked up 25th in the 206 NHL Draft, a lot was expected of the boy from Coons Rapids. However, his progress has been slow. Probably too slow to ever meet his potential.

Markus Niemelainen – Edmonton Oilers

Markus was a highly touted prospect coming up. In 2016, Elite Prospects described him as “All-in-all, a quick-thinking defenceman that, honestly lacking nothing, has the potential to develop into a reliable two-way defenceman.”

But things haven’t really turned out right for the Finnish player. It took him a long time to make the NHL, and he has looked positively clueless on the ice so far. However, it could turn around at some point.

Akira Schmid – Goaltender – New Jersey Devils

A fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft, Schmid wasn’t exactly a blue chip prospect. Still, he has been good enough recently to have a realistic chance at starting for the Devils.

Paul Cotter – Left wing – Vegas Golden Knights

Cotter will be thrown into the action in the deep end as Vegas is set to struggle. That may be good for his development. He showed enough sparks at the AHL level to raise some curiosity. But I don’t think he is good enough to be valuable in the hobby.

Cole Schwindt – Center – Florida Panthers

Calgary is a big hockey town, and Cole has good two-way potential. At 21, he will improve. But does Schwindt have what it takes? The odds are not quite. The pedigree and performance numbers are just not there.

Felix Sandstrom – Goaltender – Philadelphia Flyers

Felix lost all his games in 2021-22, but that is deceiving. The Flyers looked terrible, and the Swedish goalies often looked beautiful out there. Still, he is 25 and on a bad team.

Robin Salo – Defence – New York Islanders

Selected in the second round of the draft, Robin does have some skills. According to Elite Prospects, he “skates well with solid balance and overall mobility…has impressive vision reading the forecheck and poise when pressured.”

Hugo Alnefelt – Goaltender – Tampa Bay Lightning

Hugo will ultimately struggle to be a starting goalie in the NHL. Therefore, I don’t see him as an investment.

Lassi Thomson – Defense – Ottawa Senators

While Lassi lacks offensive skills, he is more oriented toward defense. With his young age, that may change. It will have to if he is going to make a collecting impact.

Cam Dineen – Defense – Arizona Coyotes

Cam is no blue-chip prospect but has a good deal of talent. However, at 24 and playing in Arizona, his value will not be exceptionally high.

Adam Beckman – Left wing – Minnesota Wild

He has a valuable role-player written all over him.

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby – Left wing – Washington Capitals

Axel was a low draft pick, but you wouldn’t know it from his stunning performances for the Hershey Bears in 2021-22. Still, he is 24 and hasn’t completely figured things out yet.

Isaak Phillips – Defense – Chicago Blackhawks

A low draft pick who has not shown too much potential. The best thing working in his favor is youth.

Alexey Toropchenko – Right wing – St. Louis Blues

A large and somewhat ungainly player. If he puts it together, a strong career awaits. But not stardom.

Riley Damiani – Center – Dallas Stars

Dallas is not hockey Mecca, and Riley is no blue-chip prospect. While he put in a strong season at the AHL level, he doesn’t look like much of an investment.

Tier 4 Of The Upper Deck 2021-22 Young Guns Guide

Michael Pezzetta – Left Wing – Montreal Canadiens

When Montreal has a strong prospect, investing is always a good idea. However, Pezzetta just aint it. Unfortunately, his 11 points in 51 games for the Canadiens were uninspiring, and at age 24, his ceiling is not exceptionally high.

Kasper Bjorkqvist – Winger – Pittsburgh Penguins

Kasper is 25, which is ancient by Young Guns standards. While pretty good for Providence College, the Finnish player never really found himself at the AHL level, and his prospects at the NHL are not very bright.

Ben McCartney – Left wing – Arizona Coyotes

Ben was a low draft pick and never enjoyed much fanfare. Elite Prospects describes him as playing a “simple, meat and potatoes sort of game. He spends a lot of time in front of the net and does a good job fighting for positioning.” In other words, not a star.

Daniil Miromanov – Defense – Vegas Golden Knights

While not devoid of skill, Daniil is an undrafted 25-year-old-player.

Bryce Kindopp – Right wing – Anaheim Ducks

An undrafted player who has managed to overperform. But will it be enough? Probably not.

Justin Danforth – Center/ winger – Columbus Blue Jackets

A feel-good late bloomer story. But at 29, not one you will want to pull.

Mattias Norlander – Defense – Montreal Canadiens

Mattias can play, but his offense is simply not strong enough.

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Bottomline of the 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series Young Guns guide

The extension of the checklist has watered down the prospects somewhat. Still, the Young Guns release has a few top-notch prospects and a heavy roster of above-average talents.

It makes the product worth buying at the low prices boxes are going for. Still, Series 2 is where the real studs for 2021-22 reside.

Upper Deck 2021-22 Extended Series Young Guns Checklist

Here is the complete list of Young Guns in the 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series release

  • Young Guns 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended odds – 1:4 in every pack format

Parallels:

  • French 1:120 Hobby
  • 1:288 Hobby
  • Exclusive #/100 (Hobby/ePack)
  • High Gloss #/10 (Hobby/ePack)

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701 Alexander Holtz – New Jersey Devils
702 Connor Dewar – Minnesota Wild
703 Brett Leason – Washington Capitals
704 Gabriel Fortier – Tampa Bay Lightning
705 Michael Pezzetta – Montreal Canadiens
706 Aliaksei Protas – Washington Capitals
707 Scott Perunovich – St. Louis Blues
708 Justus Annunen – Colorado Avalanche
709 Sean Day – Tampa Bay Lightning
710 Ryan Merkley – San Jose Sharks
711 John-Jason Peterka – Buffalo Sabres
712 Janis Moser – Arizona Coyotes
713 Riley Tufte – Dallas Stars
714 Kasper Bjorkqvist – Pittsburgh Penguins
715 Markus Niemelainen – Edmonton Oilers
716 Akira Schmid – New Jersey Devils
717 Egor Sokolov – Ottawa Senators
718 Josiah Slavin – Chicago Blackhawks
719 Alex Turcotte – Los Angeles Kings
720 Paul Cotter – Vegas Golden Knights
721 Cole Schwindt – Florida Panthers
722 Arvid Soderblom – Chicago Blackhawks
723 Ben McCartney – Arizona Coyotes
724 Sean Durzi – Los Angeles Kings
725 Felix Sandstrom – Philadelphia Flyers
726 Robin Salo – New York Islanders
727 Hugo Alnefelt – Tampa Bay Lightning
728 Lassi Thomson – Ottawa Senators
729 Fabian Zetterlund – New Jersey Devils
730 Mason Shaw – Minnesota Wild
731 Jack Drury – Carolina Hurricanes
732 Cam Dineen – Arizona Coyotes
733 Adam Beckman – Minnesota Wild
734 Axel Jonsson-Fjallby – Washington Capitals
735 Isaak Phillips – Chicago Blackhawks
736 Daniil Miromanov – Vegas Golden Knights
737 Alexey Toropchenko – St. Louis Blues
738 Bryce Kindopp – Anaheim Ducks
739 Zachary Sawchenko – San Jose Sharks
740 Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Montreal Canadiens
741 Riley Damiani – Dallas Stars
742 Alex Steeves – Toronto Maple Leafs
743 Justin Danforth – Columbus Blue Jackets
744 Justin Barron – Colorado Avalanche
745 Seth Jarvis – Carolina Hurricanes
746 Mattias Norlinder – Montreal Canadiens
747 Daniil Tarasov – Columbus Blue Jackets
748 Nico Daws – New Jersey Devils
749 Artemi Kniazev – San Jose Sharks
750 Alex Turcotte/Alexander Holtz CL

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is a former history and political science professor at UCLA. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary. Shai also worked as a diplomat and journalist on three continents.


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