New Jersey Devils: New Jersey Numbers


Looking at possible jersey number changes in 2015-2016

As I previously mentioned in my post on Lou Lamoriello’s quirks, the jersey numbers in 2015-16 will be different for the New Jersey Devils. Previously, Lamoriello only allowed players to take jersey numbers 1-35, while sometimes giving out higher numbers for renowned veterans (44, 68, 89, 93) and goalies (40).

With Ray Shero in charge, the jersey rule has been lifted for Eric Gelinas and, presumably, for the entire team. Devils fans may bear witness to numerous jersey number swaps. In this post, I will speculate on some of the other switches that could be made to players’ numbers.

Confirmed Jersey Swaps

Confirmed: Mike Cammalleri switches from #23 to #13

Previously, #13 was off-limits, presumably because former owner Dr. John McMullen was a firm believer in the superstition. Lamoriello refused to give the number to any player, but Shero does not have that connection and has thus allowed Cammalleri to take his trademark number.

Confirmed: Eric Gelinas switches from #22 to #44

Again, Gelinas was given the OK from Shero to take his old number from juniors. Gelinas is excited about the change (to say the least), as per his recent Instagram post.

This move helped to set up the next one.

Confirmed: Jordin Tootoo switches from #20 to #22

In all likelihood, Tootoo grabbed the first number he could find when he earned a contract at the end of preseason. At the time, Tootoo was desperate to show the league that he still had something left to offer and likely was not getting bent out of shape about a number. Now that Tootoo has another one-year pact with New Jersey, he was able to regain his old jersey number.

Other Possible Switches

In addition to these three, there could be many more swaps as the team prepares for the 2015-16 season. First on that list is Jon Merrill, who could be a prime candidate to take Bryce Salvador’s #24 (assuming Salvador’s career is over). Merrill donned the number as a Michigan Wolverine even when #7 was available.

Merrill moving to #24 allows for Damon Severson to reclaim his old jersey number, #7. Severson had great success in Kelowna with #7 stitched on his sweater and still feels strongly about the number, as per his Twitter handle.

Jacob Josefson (16) may be settled on his current number, but he has donned many others in his hockey career. Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Further, Jacob Josefson could take Marty Havlat’s #9 as he had worn in Sweden. However, it is worth noting that Josefson has had numerous opportunities to take the number and he has not done so.

Finally, Stefan Matteau could see a change in his number. Having never stuck to one number, Matteau wore #23 both in his time with the United States National Team Development Program and in his brief stint in the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Since then, Matteau has worn #18 both in the AHL and NHL but that is likely a direct result of Darcy Zajac and Mike Cammalleri donning #23 in Albany and New Jersey, respectively.

Dealing with Newbies

Moving onto the offseason’s acquisitions, the Devils brought in a myriad of young players who will vie for a spot in the starting lineup. Because it seems that many new jerseys are available for next year’s Devils, I wanted to look at what numbers these players may take.

John Moore (17) has donned the same number for almost five years. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

First, John Moore is likely to take the #17, which he has worn throughout his six-year NHL career.

Also on the defensive side are Vojtech Mozik and Raman Hrabarenka. Mozik, who signed in May, could wind up with #74, which he wore in the Czech Extraliga. Hrabarenka’s situation is a little more complex. He has worn numbers 41 and 29 in Albany but donned 34 in his lone appearance in New Jersey last season. However, Hrabarenka wore both 81 and 84 in the QMJHL, so what his next number will be is anyone’s guess.

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  • Offensively, Blake Coleman, Jim O’Brien, Joe Blandisi, Sergei Kalinin and Pavel Zacha will all be looking for numbers. Coleman wore #25 in his college days and that number appears to be open now. Jim O’Brien has mostly worn #42 and should likewise receive that number. Kalinin wore #40 while in the KHL and he could very well wear it again this year. Blandisi should be uncontested in his search for #10, which he wore as a Barrie Colt. Finally, Zacha has only worn numbers 14 (in Sarnia and the World Junior Championship) and 97 (in the Czech Extraliga).

    That leaves the final jersey breakdown (per my projections) as follows:

    [table id=18 /]

    What do you think? Is it too much to have all of these high numbers? Will it complicate matters as the season goes on? Will it stop fans from buying new jerseys for a while? Leave a comment with your thoughts on the new setup. Thanks for reading!

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