This year's NHL JerseyWatch debuted nearly three months ago, so it's time for an update!
Wish I could say I have a ton of new knowledge to drop on everyone today, but it seems teams have gotten better at keeping their secrets secret. Instead, I'll be using the opportunity to collect what we have learned over the last three months in one place — with a few new nuggets here and there.
NEW THIRD JERSEY expected
Reebok is telling retailers to expect the Ducks to hop back into the third jersey fray in 2015-16.
This season, the team debuted new home and road sweaters based on its previous alternate uniform, which launched in 2010.
What can we expect with this new design? I suspect an orange jersey for the club from Orange County. (Perhaps something like this?)
For what it's worth, Sporting News recently ran a piece on the Ducks' 2006 rebrand — which included a look at previously unreleased concepts from the design process.
The Ducks haven't said anything about when to expect an unveiling, but we usually see new thirds around the beginning of the new season.
NEW HOME/ROAD JERSEYS; UNVEILING JUN 26
It's official! The Coyotes announced this week that their new home and road jerseys will be revealed June 26.
The team's draft day party will serve as the launch pad for the new look, which will presumably also be present at the NHL Draft itself in Sunrise, Fla.
No details on the design have escaped quite yet, but we do know the primary logo will not be changing.
HOME/ROAD JERSEY TWEAKS; UNVEILING JUN 26
New to the JerseyWatch report is word that the Avalanche are making changes to their uniforms, according to Denver Post writer Mike Chambers.
Chambers did not detail what "minor alterations" means — because that would be too easy. It could be as simple as the addition of a 20th anniversary patch or possibly the removal of the often-mocked apron string piping.
Reebok has not listed any changes to the Avs' primary uniforms, so anything beyond the addition of a patch at this stage would be surprising. We'll find out soon.
NEW THIRD JERSEY EXPECTED
On the other hand, Reebok is telling retailers that the team's third jersey status is changing. Either a new design is on the way or the one added in 2009 will be retired.
Could a new third jersey be the change Chambers was referring to? Unlikely, but something to keep an eye on.
By the way, as host of a 2016 Stadium Series game, Colorado could become the first team ever to introduce four new sweater designs in a single season — assuming the home and road jerseys do get the reported alterations.
New York Islanders
NEW THIRD JERSEY EXPECTED
A new home comes with a new jersey for the newer New York team in the new season. (Nailed that.)
When the Islanders move into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this fall, they'll mark the occasion with a redesigned alternate uniform.
This season, the team used its 2014 Stadium Series sweater for a handful of games. That will give way to a new black-and-white design perhaps inspired by their new housemate, the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.
From a BloombergBusiness article in March:
After the move the Islanders will have a black-and-white third jersey as a way of incorporating Brooklyn, [Barclays Center spokesman Barry] Baum said.
The story was about how the "I" in the team's logo points to the location of the NVMC on Long Island, but that the logo will not change when the team moves to Brooklyn.
NetsDaily, an NBA blog, found in a public records search a couple of trademark applications filed by the Islanders' owner — which also owns the Nets — depicting new "Brooklyn Hockey" logos (tweets to the right).
The logos are styled after alternate marks used by the Nets. Are the Isles planning a Brooklyn-themed third jersey featuring one of these new logos? It's possible.
Or it could simply be that the logos will be used for new arena signage, T-shirts or other merchandise.
Regardless, the team's name will not be changing — they will not be the Brooklyn Islanders, for example — nor will their primary colors of blue and orange.
No word yet on when we should expect to the see the new third. But if I had to put money on it, I'd bet on a mid to late September unveiling.
San Jose Sharks
25TH ANNIVERSARY LOGO
The Sharks have been through enough jersey changes in recent years, so their inclusion in this year's JerseyWatch is strictly for the introduction of a new anniversary logo.
The club will mark it's 25th year in San Jose next season and a unique diamond-shape logo will symbolize that.
Wearing an anniversary patch has proven difficult for the Sharks in recent years. Because they already have patches on both shoulders and jersey numbers on the chest, they had to improvise — placing their 20th anniversary logo beneath the TV numbers on the left sleeve in 2011.
Maybe they'll find a better solution this season, or maybe they'll keep the logo off their sweaters entirely.
NEW THIRD JERSEY EXPECTED
The Capitals are the team I get the most questions about. "Hey, the Caps have been wearing their throwback jerseys a lot. Are they changing their jerseys next season?"
In truth, Washington doesn't wear its third any more often than any other team. They just tend to clump the dates together toward the end of the season. This probably has to do with the fact that the jersey is white.
It means they either need to coordinate with their opponents to wear them at home or use them on long road trips so they don't have to pack multiple sets of jerseys.
Reebok says the Caps will have a new third jersey next season, so with all this in mind, I'd have to say a red throwback is the obvious choice.
Alternatively, they could go with this season's Winter Classic threads. Bear in mind the white throwback was first introduced at a Winter Classic as well.
2016 NHL Winter Classic
BRUINS vs CANADIENS · JAN 1
Boston will host its second Winter Classic next season in an Original Six showdown with Montreal. The New Year's Day Game will take place at Gillette Stadium, home of the Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots.
We're still waiting on official logos and sweaters for the game. But in a meeting of two storied teams with great uniform histories, there's little doubt this will be epic.
The Bruins played in one previous outdoor game when they hosted the Flyers at Fenway Park in 2010. They wore yellow sweaters, inspired by a look from the 1940s. For this one, they'd be wise to go all the way back to their inaugural season in 1924 when they wore brown.
As for the Habs, they played in the first two Heritage Classics at Edmonton (2003) and Calgary (2011). This will be their first outdoor game on U.S. soil.
In those earlier games, the Canadiens simply wore their standard primary jerseys — red in against the Oilers and white against the Flames. I'm hoping they're a little more interesting in 2016.
Thing is, Montreal hasn't really been through any significant uniform changes since becoming a founding member of the NHL in 1917. However, they did have a few prior to that — most of which were used during their centennial celebration in 2009-10. Perhaps one of those could return for a night?
2016 NHL STADIUM SERIES
Two more outdoor games were announced for 2016 as part of the Stadium Series, which enters its third season.
WILD VS BLACKHAWKS · FEB 21
Hosting their first outdoor game, Minnesota will take on Chicago — who, in turn, is playing its third outdoor game in as many years. That happens at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota campus.
AVALANCHE VS RED WINGS · FEB 27
Later that same week, Colorado will host Detroit at Coors Field. This will be a first for the Avs, but the Wings have played two previous Winter Classics — 2009 and 2014.
As we await details on the logos and jerseys, don't get too excited about any North Stars or Nordiques throwbacks. First, the Wild aren't interested in wearing a sweater from another team's history (hello, Dallas Stars). And second, the Stadium Series is typically reserved for futuristic, modern jersey styles (with chrome or carbon fiber crests and unusual lines).
As well as retro sweaters would play in Minneapolis and Denver, the NHL seems to prefer using these games as a testing ground for experimental designs.
I would argue that they already do that at the All-Star Game and throwbacks are crowd-pleasers. It should be obvious, but this is the NHL we're talking about.
2016 NHL All-Star Game
NASHVILLE, TN · JAN 30
All-Star Weekend hits Music City next winter when the Predators host the NHL's elite. And on May 30, the club unveiled the logo that will represent the big event.
The NHL hired Fanbrandz to create the design collateral. For more on the genesis of the 2016 All-Star look, head over to their web site and read up.
As for the uniforms, the previous set of All-Star jerseys was used in back-to-back seasons. Does that mean an encore for the neon green numbers we got this season? Needless to say, they were not exactly greeted warmly. Let's hope the NHL tries again in 2016.
The 2015-16 season could be used to mark significant anniversaries for a few more NHL franchises beyond those noted above. You know what that means... more shoulder patches!
The Arizona Coyotes will mark 20 years in the desert after moving from Winnipeg in 1996. A special patch could feature prominently on the new uniforms coming next season.
The Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and New York Rangers all joined the NHL in 1926, marking 90 years in the league. The Bruins wore a 90th anniversary patch this past season.
As of this fall, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild will celebrate 15 years while the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks each mark 45 years.
Lastly, I should note that the Reebok catalog lists alternate jerseys for the Flyers, Penguins and Lightning as "TBD." However, since these three teams just launched new thirds this season, I find it hard to believe they'd be changing them again already. But we'll certainly keep an eye on it.
Now let the speculation continue. What are your hopes and expectations for 2015-16?