I’m leaving work today and as I wait for an elevator to come up to floor 15, I’m checking out Twitter. I didn’t scroll far before I saw this tweet.
Unless you’ve been under a rock (or you don’t follow hockey), you know that the Blackhawks have some work to do in order to put together a full roster under the salary cap. Patrick Sharp was a casualty of this. Consensus is that Bryan Bickell and his $4M cap hit are next on the chopping block, if a trade partner can be found. Then, next on the list is Andrew Shaw. Shaw’s 2015-16 cap hit is $2M in his last season before becoming a restricted free agent. Barring unforeseen circumstances he will get a pay raise to at least $3M per season. All of this makes him a prime candidate to be traded from the Windy City.
It’s just Twitter. Twitter isn’t life. It’s just a rumor from someone typing on a keyboard or phone. It’s a rumor that makes sense, however. Someone threw out Shaw’s name as a candidate to go (the tweets appear to have been deleted). This would break my heart. Shaw is from Belleville, ON, which is just a couple of hours from Toronto. The Maple Leafs are rebuilding and snagging some local boys isn’t the worst way to go in the meantime. Van Riemsdyk’s cap hit is more than twice Shaw’s, but Toronto could pick up some of that. JVR is also an American. He could be excited about the possibility of playing in the States. Oh, yeah…do I need to remind you that his brother Trevor is a defenseman for the Blackhawks?
Hopefully you’ve read our Supercollector Q&A piece from Saturday. Jason has already dealt with his player leaving his first team. It’s almost inevitable in today’s sports structure that players will play for at least two franchises. I’ve been asked before if (when) Shaw leaves the Blackhawks, will I still collect him? The answer to that is “yes.”
However, his going to Toronto could affect my supercollecting, both positively and negatively.
A quick look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster tells me that he could potentially be higher on the pecking order there than he is in Chicago. As it stands now, he’s a third or fourth liner in Chicago. He could be more of a second liner on the high side or a third liner in Toronto. When it comes to his cards, he is also behind more defensemen on the pecking order in Chicago than he might be in Toronto. He was in only four base sets in the 2014-15 releases, so there’s at least a chance that the number could go up.
I am placing the Maple Leafs’ sweaters on the negative side, maybe. Their sweaters are only two colors, so you won’t see beautiful patches like you can find from Blackhawks jerseys. The reason I stated “maybe” on this is that while Blackhawks swatches can be much better, the only set a Shaw jersey card was produced for was for the 2011-12 The Cup set. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized until today just how few jersey cards have been produced.
Another initial concern I had with the collecting aspect was confirmed with this tweet from one of my followers, Johnson Sports Promotions.
On the bright side, if prices jump, it might not be as dramatic as it could be. While Toronto fans are good collectors, so are Chicago fans. Shaw is a fan favorite on an Original Six team that has a strong collector base. His cards have never been cheap.
Through trading, I’ve learned that because of the Post Offices, Canadian traders are much more willing to trade with United States traders than the reverse. A big part of this is that if you take a bubble mailer to a lot of U.S. Post Offices, they will charge you over $7 just to ship. There are other methods that cost half that, but not everyone knows about them. I do, and am more than happy to trade with the friendly folks up north, so that’s one less concern that I have. There are enough “Canadian Only” items from Upper Deck that it could cause a delay, or cost more, if the circumstances were reversed.
I can’t definitely state whether there are more Blackhawks or Leafs collectors. If there are more Toronto collectors, that leaves the potential of less of the low numbered items making it to the secondary market. I feel confident stating that about 98% of my Shaw cards have been secondary market acquisitions, making this a serious concern to me.
So, if the Blackhawks could just trade Andrew Shaw somewhere like Phoenix or Carolina, that’d (maybe) be great. Although, then there might be even less cards produced. At this point, I’m not even sure what to hope for.
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