Sweater Switch 2011

Lots of players have gotten new teams in the last couple of weeks either by trade or, mostly, free agent signings. Like in the past, I'd like to start collecting photos of these guys wearing or clutching their new team's sweater. If you know of any players I'm missing, shoot an email!

Brad Richards (19) signs with Rangers / Blueshirts United

One of the biggest signings of the summer was also the saddest for me. I was one of the deluded Lightning fans hoping that Brad Richards would choose to come back to the team where he won his Stanley Cup. And the team that drafted him. Especially now that all of the pieces we got for him are gone (Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern and Mike Smith). Guess the home town discount was a little to steep for him.

Anyway, Richards signed with the New York Rangers on July 2 and four days later he was in the Big Apple being given his new No. 19 sweater. Richards is returning the number he wore during his seven seasons in Tampa Bay. He played the last three and change in Dallas wearing No. 91.

For Richards to have 19 in New York, it meant former Lightning teammate Ruslan Fedotenko had to give it up. So Rusty then took No. 26 which he previously wore in Pittsburgh. The domino effect continued with Erik Christensen who was wearing 26 last season. He now has 40. This all comes by way of the Rangers' official Twitter account, which also indicated new addition Mike Rupp will wear No. 71.

Nine new players were welcomed to south Florida / Panthers

On July 8, the Florida Panthers held a press conference to introduce nine of their newest players to the media (and there are in fact more than nine total). Matt Bradley wore No. 10 in Washington but will switch to No. 22 in south Florida (David Booth has 10). Scottie Upshall had No. 8 in Phoenix and will now wear No. 19 (Tim Kennedy has 8).

Michael Repik, now wearing No. 26, gave up his No. 32 sweater for newcomer Kris Versteeg who previously wore it in Chicago and Toronto. (Most recently in Philadelphia he wore No. 10 even though the equipment guys had 32 prepared for him.) In addition, Nolan Yonkman, who came from Phoenix where he was No. 52, will be No. 34 with the Panthers. Early in his career, he wore No. 40 in Washington. (I think he just picks them randomly.)

New goalie Jose Theodore will continue to wear his famous No. 60 while Brian Campbell will stick with 51. Ed Jovanovski returns to the Cats lineup in the same No. 55 he's always worn. Tomas Kopecky is keeping his No. 82 jersey as is Tomas Fleischmann with No. 14.

But it doesn't stop there for the Panthers club, which now barely resembles last year's team. Sean Bergenheim, No. 10 last season in Tampa, will return to No. 20, which he wore with the Islanders. Another recent signee, Marcel Goc, has picked No. 21, according to the Panthers' website. He wore No. 9 most recently in Nashville and No. 11 for several seasons in San Jose.

Still not done. Jack Skille is changing his number from 15 to 12, according to a Panthers tweet. No reason was given. No one else has taken No. 15 in Florida. Finally moving on now...

Semyon Varlmov (1) gets his new Colorado sweater / Avalanche

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov signed with the Colorado Avalanche on July 1. Six days later, he was welcomed by the Denver media and given his new No. 1 sweater by the team. He wore No. 1 last season with the Capitals but had 40 prior to that.

On a related number note, no Avalanche player will ever again sport the No. 21 sweater that Peter Forsberg made famous. According to a tweet on June 30, the team will retire it on opening night (Oct. 8) against the Red Wings.

But wait there's more. I haven't seen photos yet, but a number of other players have already settled on jersey numbers with their new teams.

Details on Dany Heatley and Martin Havlat have moved and can now be found in the July 12 update.

Jaromir Jagr is making his return to the NHL this fall. He's keeping his trademark No. 68 sweater, but this time he's bringing it to the Philadelphia Flyers. You can already buy one. That's just so wrong. Speaking of Philly, newcomer goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will keep his No. 30.

Peter Budaj is joining the Montreal Canadiens this season. He hasn't yet said what number he'll wear, but he won't be hanging on to the No. 31 he wore in Denver as long as Carey Price is around. For that matter, newcomer Erik Cole will probably have to give up the No. 26 uniform he had as a Hurricane unless Josh Gorges decides to give it up.

In a July 7 tweet, the St. Louis Blues announced Jason Arnott will keep the No. 44 he wore in Washington and Jamie Langenbrunner will keep his No. 15 jersey. Arnott previously had No. 25 in New Jersey.

And in what could possibly be the best name/number combination to ever skate on NHL ice, Mike Commodore tweeted on July 6 that he's considering sporting No. 64 for the Detroit Red Wings. He's had No. 22 for the last three years in Columbus.

Let me know if I've missed anyone important. And if you do, please provide a link to a tweet or news article for verification... something beyond a team website's roster page. Those aren't always updated.