As someone who doesn't make much if any money, my tastes do not run expensively in hockey cards. I love hockey, and love the cards, but as any buyer or collector knows, collecting requires money, so I am limited.
One card set I really like is from the KHL. They are relatively cheap if you can find them from a reputable seller. I have a bought cards from a seller friend in Latvia who sends them, when ordered, for a rate that is very reasonable, and I've never had a problem with the order or delivery time. The card set features the best players in their KHL jerseys. The cards offer a variety of signed and jersey special inserts. I am not a card expert, I realize some folks might dislike the cards for a variety of reasons, but I really enjoy the photography, and the ability to get players who I like who are no longer NHL'ers.
Another set I collect is from the Ultimate hockey set, released by Upper Deck, called "Ultimate National Heroes collection." They feature a national flag of the player and a jersey swatch, or patch from the jersey, and are numbered below 300 cards. My favorite players are often neither Canadian or US players, so this set offered to me a breadth of players I normally don't see in hockey cards.
I am a fool for the card designs of Pacific. 2003-2004 Pacific Prism cards come in a wide variety of colors, and it is rather exciting to have a cards of the players you collect in metallic colors: Red, Blue, Gold and Silver. The cards include variations and signatures, and all the bells and whistles you can imagine.
Lastly, another lovely Pacific card set, Pacific Luxury Suite, again, 2003-04. The company might well do things a bit more ostentatiously than other companies, and it is true that there is no Old School feel to these cards. However, for what they are I find the look to be very beautiful, and the cards are some I wish to collect the entire series and tangent mini sets of inserts for.
In my next installment I will let you know, my Favorite Sellers on Ebay. I will name names, and provide links. I am not going to do so for reasons of reward, in fact, I will offer a disclaimer that I am not an agent for any of the sellers, nor do I guarantee that your experience will match my own. But I think of what I am going to do as a service to you the reader. If you like to collect cards in a lust filled rage of opulent purchases, well you might want to ignore my advice. If you like to collect, from people who do a good job, and you can save money by going through, then you'll appreciate my advice.