To kick things off, I'm going to showcase what is currently the pinnacle of my Whalers autograph collection, the 2010-11 Panini Dominion Brass Bonanza set. This 10-card autograph set was a really great concept, based on the theme song that the Whalers used to play at home games (Brass Bonanza). I knew I wanted these as a cornerstone of my Whalers collection, and my collection in general, and luckily this set hit shelves at a time when I had some disposable income burning a hole in my pocket. I was lucky enough to track down all 10 within just a couple months of the set hitting shelves, and I'm glad I did as I don't stumble across these too often anymore.
#1 - Bobby Hull - #'d/24
The first two cards in the set are serial numbered to a scant 24, and they're also two of the bigger names as far as what an average collector would be seeking, so it's no surprise they were the toughest two to nail down. Bobby Hull could be seen as an odd choice, as he played just 9 games with Hartford at the tail end of his career, but I'm glad he was included.
#2 - Brendan Shanahan - #'d/24
The other more scarce card was Brendan Shanahan, another guy who wasn't around in Hartford too long. On top of that I think we can say there was a "mutual dislike" between Shanahan, the team, and the fans during his time here, so this is a strange selection. When I posted this card on my other blog a long while back it was noted in the comments that it seems like Panini chose the players who skated with Hartford that average hockey fans would recognize most, rather than the players who fans of the team really identified with. I agree with that wholeheartedly.
#3 - Keith Primeau - #'d/50
From here on out the rest of the cards are serial numbered to 50 copies...
#4 - Nick Fotiu - #'d/50
A much more fitting selection for the set, Nick played with both the New England Whalers of the WHA and the Hartford Whalers of the NHL.
#5 - Paul Coffey - #'d/50
Another guy chosen for his recognizable name only, given that he played just 20 career games with the Whalers. Still an on-card autograph of a Hall-of-Famer though!
#6 - Ray Ferraro - #'d/50
#7 - Tiger Williams - #'d/50
#8 - Daryl Reaugh - #'d/50
#9 - Ron Francis - #'d/50
Ron is one of the select Whalers that gets hobby attention from Upper Deck as well, so he's actually got a few certified autographs out there in a Whalers sweater. Can't argue with that, he is the all-time best Hartford Whaler as far as I'm concerned.
#10 - Pat Verbeek - #'d/50
In closing, another very fitting selection, one of the under-rated players of all-time.
So there you have it, the 2010-11 Panini Dominion Brass Bonanza set! You can gripe a bit about player selection, but I applaud Panini for this set. I'm obviously heavily biased, but I think these cards have a fantastic design, front and back, an interesting premise that's a bit different than your average insert set, and best of all the autos are on card. I don't deny that Panini has its share of issues, but they get one mark in the 'Pro' column as far as I'm concerned for having a wider focus when they look back to hockey's past in their releases. Sets like this one, or 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures, give collectors a chance to score some autographs of players who are often overlooked or forgotten by Upper Deck...