“It’s always special when nobody else is close,” said Gretzky. “You can always sit around and have bar talk about comparisons but the reality is nobody is even close to Connor. That’s what makes this so unique. His numbers this year are sort of mind-boggling.”
The Edmonton Oilers’ speedy star led the league in points (123) and points per game (1.54) for 2021-22.
A look at these numbers underscores the 25-year-old’s importance. When McDavid was on the ice, Edmonton outscored its opponents 151-71; when he wasn’t, the Oilers were outscored 180-134.
A true difference maker, McDavid keeps going from strength to strength, having added 10 goals and an NHL-best 33 points during the postseason.
We’ve taken the opportunity to bring you this list with 10 of the best Connor McDavid rookie cards ever produced.
The Best Connor McDavid Rookie Cards
The best Connor McDavid rookie cards are likely to be part of a popular collection, and will come with a limited print run. As the 2015 first overall draft pick, he has been included in all major sets released that year.
Given the high card values we’ll be looking at graded versions of the McDavid RCs whenever possible.
10. 2015-16 SPx Connor McDavid RC #169 Auto Jersey /399 (eBay)
We’ll jump right in with an auto patch that comes with a print run of just 399. (It might seem high, but it’s not bad for a McDavid RC.)
2015-16 SPx contains one of the more popular signed jersey options, with a typically busy design that puts most of the emphasis on the swatch. It’s not game-used, but it has been worn ‘for a rookie photo shoot’.
The on-card auto is found placed in the middle, signed in blue ink. It’s a popular brand, and you can expect to pay at least four figures for a copy, whether it’s been graded or not.
- Parallels: Red (/50), Green (/10)
9. 2015-16 Upper Deck Premier Connor McDavid RC #115 Auto Patch /199 (eBay)
What if we made the patch larger, and lowered the print run to just 199? The UD Premier McDavid rookie card is another which manages to stand out in a crowded market, thanks to a trio of rare parallels and an acetate finish.
It features a large image of McDavid at the top, especially for an RPA.
A vertical tab on the right notes the card is an ‘Authentic Rookie’. (It should be, as it’s another that is valued highly. For example, an ungraded copy sold for $3,800 in May 2022.)
- Parallels: Silver Spectrum (/35), Gold Spectrum (/10), Blue Spectrum (1/1)
8. 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Connor McDavid RC #190 Autograph (eBay)
A set that uses Topps Chrome as a basis, you’ll find a solid on-card auto and a range of Prizm parallels with 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Platinum.
(You’ll see a copy of the Red version in the image above.)
Parallels change the border color or background design, and work out to be some of the most valuable McDavid RCs overall.
- Parallels: Rainbow, Traxx (/125), White Ice (/99), Red Prism (/75), Black Ice (/50), Blue Cubes (/35), Seismic Gold (/25), Rainbow Purple (/15), Emerald Surge (/10), Golden Treasures (1/1)
7. 2015-16 UD Black Connor McDavid RC #85 Autograph /199 (eBay)
2015-16 UD Black is another set which contains a variety of rare McDavid rookie cards. A premium release, many of the cards have held their value well.
We’re sticking with the Lustrous Rookies Signatures subset, which features a silver ink signature set against a black background.
The 2015-16 UD Black Connor McDavid Rookie Card has a Gold parallel, numbered to 25 copies. There’s also a Black and Blue one-of-one.
- Parallels: Gold Spectrum (/25), Black and Blue (1/1)
6. 2015-16 SP Authentic Connor McDavid RC #226 Autograph /999 (eBay)
SP Authentic is a popular set within the hobby for hockey RC collectors. It has a solid reputation due to the brand power of Future Watch. (Hopefully, that gives some explanation as to how a card with a print run of 999 can be so coveted.)
The 2015-16 SP Authentic Connor McDavid Rookie Card is another with an on-card auto, coupled with a design that screams high end.
You’ll find a sole parallel with a patch attached, limited to 100 copies overall.
- Parallels: Limited Patch Autographs (/100)
5. 2015-16 Ultimate Collection Connor McDavid RC #109 Autograph /99 (eBay)
As the name implies, the Ultimate Collection contains one of the more important McDavid rookie cards.
Are Premium in every sense of the word, it lacks a hard border, and is tough to locate in pristine condition as there are only 99 copies.
Unlike many of the others, there’s a wealth of parallels, including Gold and Platinum versions numbered to 25 or less. This includes unsigned versions, and a Silver Jersey card which has a print run of 149. We’d stick with one of the Ultimate Collection McDavid rookie autos.
- Parallels: Silver Jersey (/149), Spectrum Silver Jersey Autograph (/49), Gold Patch (/25), Spectrum Gold Patch Autograph (/10), Platinum Blue Tag (/5), Spectrum Teal Autograph Shield (1/1)
4. 2015-16 SP Game Used Connor McDavid RC #197 /97 (eBay)
As we head through the list, we’re getting to some of the rarest Connor McDavid rookie cards ever produced.
For example, this SP Game Used RC limited the print run to his first jersey number, so there are only 97 copies to look out for. (That also makes it the rarest base card on this list overall.)
That’s offset ever so slightly by the lack of an autograph, but it’s still worthy of its spot amongst the best options.
- Parallels: Autographs Blue, Copper Jersey (/399), Spectrum Materials (/99), Autographs (1/1)
3. 2015-16 Upper Deck Ice Connor McDavid RC #200 /99 (eBay)
Another worthy contender, 2015-16 Upper Deck Ice Hockey is an acetate-centered release. Despite the lack of an auto, you’ll be paying top dollar to add one of these Connor McDavid rookie cards to your personal collection.
Once again, a print run of just 99 makes it tough to locate. Cards from the set were split into levels, with Level 1 being the rarest. It’s where you’ll find this McDavid RC.
2. 2015-16 Black Diamond Connor McDavid RC #BDRCM /99 (eBay)
Coming in second, the Black Diamond McDavid rookie card is another which is likely to catch your eye if you’re interested in the most valuable options. The highest of high-end, the Diamond Relic Rookie Card subset contains four real diamonds.
It also relies on brand power, and a print run of 99, making for one of the very best hockey rookie cards in existence. The parallels also include colored diamonds, and a handful of copies.
- Parallels: Gold Diamond (/5), Pure Black Diamond (1/1)
1. 2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup Connor McDavid RC #197 /99 (eBay)
The top spot is reserved for a semi-mythical card from 2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup. In keeping with the options seen above, this McDavid RC is limited to 99 copies, but this time, it benefits heavily from a large patch, an on-card auto, and being from an incredibly popular set.
The Rookie Autograph Patch subset comes with two levels, varying in rarity. McDavid is found in the rarer Level 2, which is why it has such a low print run.
- Parallels: Gold Spectrum Foil (/24), Gold Foil (/12), Red Foil Tag (/4), Black Foil (1/1), Black Foil Shield (1/1)
Connor McDavid Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
What do we think of the current market for Connor McDavid rookie cards? Is it worth the considerable outlay to add a copy to your personal collection?
There aren’t many cheap serial numbered McDavid rookie cards on the market. That’s especially true if you’re looking at autographs, but there are various base cards which sell for next to nothing.
The best investment has to be the 2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup Connor McDavid rookie card, or the UD Black Diamond RC. Options like the SP Authentic should be more attainable.
Connor McDavid Rookie Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
Having been released in 2015, there’s no shortage of valuable Connor McDavid rookie cards on the market at any given time.
Of course, you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars to have any chance of convincing owners to part with pristine options that have a great investment outlook for the next decade.
For hockey rookie card collectors, it should be seen as a no-brainer.