Sweater Switch '09, Part 1

I've gotten a lot of great suggestions from you guys about new features for Icethetics. Obviously, I haven't lost sight of our other unfinished projects (IceHL, logo tourneys, etc.). They'll be back soon enough. In the meantime, Evan writes in with an idea that's much closer to the heart of Icethetics than the Summer Moves Tracker.

We're all about jerseys here, right? Tonight marks the first edition of Sweater Switch '09, a summer series taking a look at players wearing new uniforms — and sometimes new numbers. As teams hold press conferences to introduce blockbuster free agent signees and other new players to their local media, I'll start gathering photos to share.

This should come as no shock, but I'm kicking things off with my team. Today, the Lightning introduced first round draft picks Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton to the public.

Carter Ashton (seated, left) and VIctor Hedman

Hedman opted for the No. 77 jersey because he "always looked up to Ray Bourque," according to the Lightning's Facebook page. Meanwhile, Ashton has declared he will not choose a number until he actually makes the NHL. Wise.

John TavaresDrafted first overall by the New York Islanders was John Tavares.

He was also introduced to fans and media on Long Island at the Nassau Veterns Memorial Coliseum. He donned his No. 91 sweater. No surprise there.

Tavares wore the same number through juniors and while I haven't been able to track down his reasoning, I can tell you it's not his birth year. He was born in 1990.

If anyone knows, drop me a line and I'll update this post. UPDATE: Scroll down to the comments and look for Jacob's extended explanation of Tavares' choice.

Sticking with the draft day theme, it was then that Chris Pronger was told he'd be joining a new team.

Chris ProngerOn Monday afternoon, Philadelphia media got their first look at him in his new orange Flyers jersey.

Pronger will wear the No. 20 sweater this season to honor his father who wore it in a senior hockey league.

He previously wore No. 25 with the Ducks, now worn by teammate Matt Carle. And earlier in his career Pronger was No. 44 during his long tenure with the St. Louis Blues. Kimmo Timonen wears that one in the black and orange.

We'll end Part 1 with new Minnesota Wild member, Martin Havlat, seen below.

Martin HavlatI haven't been able to track down much on Havlat's intro to the local media, aside from this picture and the fact that it took place last Friday, July 3. According to the team's web site, he's got the No. 14 jersey, though you can't tell here.

Last year in Chicago, Havlat wore No. 24, but Derek Boogaard already has that one tied up in Minnesota.

And that wraps things up for this edition of Sweater Switch '09. As ever, if you've got any pictures or links to share, you have my email address. Part 2 will be about as soon as I have another handful of players to talk about. I can tell you that Mattias Ohlund and Matt Walker arrive in Tampa on Thursday. When pictures from their presser surface, I'll have them.

One more thing. Thanks again to Evan for the idea of this series!