NHL 14 PHOTOS AND NHL 15 LINEUP ANNOUNCEMENT
For Hockey Fans: A Feast for the Senses
Friday, December 01, 2006
The NHL 14 lineup has been twisted, turned, flipped and is now completely finalized and ready for your approval. As mentioned in an online ToddCast, we're making a shift in the 2007 NHL Sports Picks lineups -- making each lineup consist of four players rather than the traditional six. This is a GOOD thing for our NHL collectors, so bear with us as we explain. Our 2007 NHL Sports Picks schedule called for NHL 14 (six figures) in the spring, NHL 15 (six figures) in the fall, and NHL Legends 5 (six figures) just before Christmas. Todd wanted to find a way to make NHL product more of a year-round event, particularly in Canada, where summer sales (in hockey's off season) have been strong for our Canada-direct series of the past (NHL 5, 8 and 11).
Todd's new plan is to deliver four-figure lineups more often, to preserve our shelf space in Canada and offer more total figures to our NHL collectors. The new schedule for 2007 looks like this:
NHL 14: Four-figure line due in stores in mid-March.
Wal-Mart Canada NHL 3-packs (Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa): These are due exclusively in WMC stores in early April.
NHL 15: Four-figure line will have specific Canadian appeal, and may not be carried at standard U.S. retail. U.S. specialty and online retailers will be allowed to order this product. NHL 15 is due in stores in late June.
NHL 16: Four-figure line is our first-ever hybrid line, featuring two current stars and two players from our Legends series. NHL 16 is due in stores in late August.
NHL 17: Four-figure line will hit national retailers in the U.S. and Canada in late October.
NHL Legends 5: Four-figure line will hit stores in mid-December.
That listing doesn't include our 3-inch series, or anything else we might have in development right now. The new set-up provides for 20 NHL figures next year (plus a surprise or two), rather than the 18 under the original plan. The smaller lineups could hurt case sales for online retailers, but the ones in the U.S. should benefit from the NHL 15 line, which is not likely to be carried by any mainstream U.S. retailer.
Our hockey faithful have been patient long enough -- let's take a look at the final version of our NHL 14 series:MARKUS NASLUND 2HENRIK ZETTERBERGCURTIS JOSEPH 2 (Coyotes)CURTIS JOSEPH 2 (Oilers)MARIAN HOSSA (Thrashers)In addition to the NHL 14 lineup next spring, we've also settled the NHL 15 lineup -- which was specifically created to have appeal to Canadian fans:
DION PHANEUF: The 20-year-old defenseman made a huge impact in his rookie season, delivering 49 points to Calgary's attack while providing intimidating thunder to the Flames' blueline.
ROBERTO LUONGO 2: Luongo faced more shots than any other goalie in the NHL last season, and 357 more than the next-closest goalie. After surviving a Superman-esque season in Florida, Luongo found his long-awaited exit and arrived in Vancouver as the goalie savior for a talented but disappointing Canucks squad.
ERIC STAAL: Carolina's brilliant winger is the very definition of a Phenom: try scoring 100 points in the regular season and 28 more in the playoffs to lead your team to a Stanley Cup before you turn 21...
DARCY TUCKER: I know, I know. Darcy Tucker isn't going to win any league-wide popularity contests, but his 28 goals and 61 points were career highs for Toronto last season. His play has improved this season as well, as 16 goals in his first 26 games make him Canada's top goal-scorer. Tucker's play evokes memories of Claude Lemieux -- a guy you either loved or hated, but who made an impact on the game every night.
NHL 15 is expected to arrive on shelves in late June 2007.
>> NHL HOCKEY SERIES 14