Artistic Impressions: NHL’s Top Youngsters Get Creative for Panini America Sketches

November 06, 2013

2013 NHL Sketches Main

When it comes to flat-out physical artistry on the ice, it’s tough to beat the brand of beauty and brawn displayed by NHL rookies such as Nathan MacKinnon, Tomas Hertl and Mathew Dumba. But let’s be honest,¬†hockey fans across the world have come to expect physical masterpieces from the brightest young stars in the game. It’s their ability to create hand-drawn handiwork that excites all of us here at Panini America.

So every year during the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, we give the sport’s next generation of superstars a rainbow array of colored markers, some blank trading-card canvases and put their illustrative skills to the test. And every year, we leave the event impressed, amused and intrigued by the results.

During this weekend’s 2013 Toronto Fall Expo, Panini America will unveil a new series of Original NHL Player Sketch Cards, penned by the likes of the rookies mentioned above as well as by fellow young stars such as Brendan Gallagher, Emerson Etem, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nicklas Jensen, Tom Wilson, Sean Monahan and many more. In addition, the company also is adding two Canadian-born NBA rookies to the checklist with sketch cards from Anthony Bennett and Kelly Olynyk.

As you’ll see in the art gallery of sorts that follows, these one-of-a-kind masterpieces delve deep into the souls of the respective artists, revealing much about, among other things, their patriotism, their loyalty, their friendships, their pets, their hobbies, their daydreams and their families. As the appropriate finishing touch, the back of each card includes the artist’s signature.

For what it’s worth, here’s our quick take on the artwork you’re about to appreciate:

  • The California-cool Etem has legitimate skill as an illustrator and an obvious passion for the ocean — and ocean-like sights.
  • Dumba’s Pringles-tinged tribute to his father, Charlie, might just be our favorite sketch yet.
  • Canadian loyalty is alive and well among NHL and NBA youngsters as evidenced by the sheer number of maple leaves and blue jays.
  • Something about Morgan Rielly’s skyline struck us as cool.
  • Although we’re partial to Hertl’s Panini sketch, there’s something comforting about his colorful rendition of home.
  • Jensen and Christian Thomas consistently display bold, effective use of color.
  • Boone Jenner’s golf scene makes us want to take the rest of the afternoon off and play a quick 18.
  • Dougie Hamilton’s freehand sketch of the Boston Bruins’ logo is pretty crafty, as is his request for someone to teach him how to dance.

Enjoy the exhibit . . .