Preview: 2006-07 SP Authentic

Given its stale photos, skimpy team sets and relatively weak Future Watch checklist, the 2006-07 SP Authentic is worthy of pausing before dropping big dollars. Yes, you stand a good chance of pulling a sweet autograph. Beyond that, though, I'm not so sure.

As usual, my biggest beef with this 100-card set is that it's another late-season product that fails to show traded players in their new uniforms. Case in point: St. Louis' Brad Boyes is shown playing for Boston, even though the product's so-called "release date" is three weeks later than the trade deadline.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, today's printing and distribution technology means, to me, nothing more than a lack of effort at Upper Deck. A last-minute seeding that freshens the lineup, even if it adds 72 hours to the production process, would certainly generate some urgency and, hopefully, create some positive press.

Thin teams sets are inherent to any 100-card offering. Take Tampa Bay's team set -- Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis. How many more cards do I need of them? I'm sure Lightning fans would have traded at least one of those guys for a Johan Holmqvist card. My trio would be Paul Ranger, Shane O'Brien and Holmqvist.

My final disappointment? The base Future Watch lineup. Other than Columbus' Fredrik Norrena and San Jose's Joe Pavelski, there's not much there. Even Phoenix's Enver Lisin, who bolted home to Moscow after 17 games earlier this season, has a card. Again, pretty thin.

Sabres collectors, however, should take note cards of five prospects: Mike Card, Adam Dennis, Michael Funk, Mikko Lehtonen (as a Predator) and Clarke MacArthur. The Flyers have five as well.

My advice: Check online auctions for must-have trophy cards, but wait for bargain bags of base sets to show up at stores.

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