Senators, Islanders prototype jerseys unearthed

Every once in a while we get a peek down the road not taken. It's rare, but now and then prototype NHL jerseys turn up for sale on eBay. A couple days ago we looked at an unused Lightning jersey. Today we have a couple more teams.

First up is a current listing for an Ottawa Senators third jersey.

At first glance it looks like the third jersey the Sens wore between 2008 and 2011. Then you notice the number on the front beneath crest. The balance of the jersey is thrown off with the addition of the captaincy letter so dropping that number was a good call.

You might also notice the crest is outlined in white here. It looks better without the outline on the actual jersey. The striping and piping are mostly the same as the final design. But there's one very cool detail that's easy to overlook.

Photo from strongs_sports via eBay

That shoulder patch is a logo introduced as part of the Senators' 2007 rebrand. But it was never actually used on any of the team's uniforms before being abandoned a few years ago. The actual third jersey featured the primary logo on the shoulders.

It's too bad though because I always felt this logo was a much better design.

The tag on the jersey is dated to January 2008. The final design was eventually unveiled on Nov. 22, 2008. There's also writing on the tag that reads "Proto 1256" and "08-122-TJ-01" — which doesn't make any sense to me. Any ideas what it might be referring to?

Another listing worth noting is from September. It appears to feature a very early New York Islanders prototype road jersey.

Minimalism seems to be the name of the game for this design. Two large blocks of color on the sleeves and shoulder piping in grey — which isn't even an Islanders color. It's hard to imagine a design like this was ever actually in the running for the Isles.

That said, the elements present in this jersey were all present in the final design in some capacity — three big blocks of color on the sleeves, albeit divided by thin piping between the lower blocks, as well as the contrasting piping around the shoulders. The biggest difference is the addition of piping around the waist and a tie-up collar.

And here's some trivia. The tag dates this prototype to Nov. 14, 2005 — exactly a decade ago today! The tag also numbers the prototype as "124WJ.01" which doesn't exactly follow the numbering seen on other prototype jerseys.

It's also interesting to see how early this prototype was created. Reebok Edge jerseys didn't first appear on NHL ice until the All-Star Game in the 2006-07 season. All 30 teams were fully outfitted by Reebok the following year in 2007-08.

Oddly enough, both jerseys that came from these prototypes are no longer in use. The Sens retired their third jersey in 2011 in favor of their Heritage Jersey. The Islanders switched to a throwback road sweater styled after their original uniforms in 2010-11.