The NHL Draft is the unofficial dividing line between seasons. As the league welcomes a new crop of talent, teams often use the opportunity to debut uniform changes for the next season. There's a lot coming in 2016-17 and I'll tackle all of it in the upcoming NHL JerseyWatch. But let's take a quick look at what was revealed this weekend.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had plans to steal the show Friday night with both the first overall pick and the unveiling of their new home and road uniforms. The anticipation was somewhat foiled by the accidental leak a day earlier on the team's own mobile app.
Regardless, Auston Matthews became the first Leaf ever to wear the new sweater. The team appeared to have only the blue home jersey on hand for its draft selections.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was no centennial patch to be found on the sweaters, but that could be coming later. In fact, anniversary patches were pretty hit-or-miss on draft day jerseys, as you'll see through this post.
At 4th overall, the Edmonton Oilers revealed the inaugural season patch for their new arena, Rogers Place. It's visible in the photos above but I haven't yet seen any digital artwork of the logo with clearer detail. I'm sure we won't have to wait too long.
The Arizona Coyotes unveiled their 20th anniversary patch as they drafted 7th overall. The logo features design elements from a mixture of eras in team history.
The new Florida Panthers jerseys made their first public appearance since the unveiling earlier this month. Newly acquired Keith Yandle was on hand at the draft in the white road sweater. The red jersey was given to their first round pick at 23rd overall. In the later rounds, the Panthers handed out both jerseys among their draftees.
Four teams will celebrate 50th anniversaries next season, but the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings were the only ones to have the patch on their jerseys at the draft. Both sit on the right shoulder with the Blue Note in a metallic gold the "50" in white. The shade of blue is different on the shoulders of the white jersey but I would expect the same patch to be used.
The Flyers and Penguins went with plain home jerseys on Friday but are expected to wear 50th anniversary patches next season. Both have space on their shoulders and the Flyers have special jersey in the works — but more on that later in the JerseyWatch.
On that subject, the Pittsburgh Penguins did not have a first round pick, but when they made their first selection on Saturday, it was with the new home jersey, their old third. While it had no 50th anniversary patch, keep in mind they did just have to redesign it last week to add a fourth Stanley Cup. By the way, their new road jersey was nowhere to be found at the draft.
Also without a first round pick were the San Jose Sharks, who appear to have permanently ditched the numbers on the front of their jersey. They disappeared last year while the team wore its 25th anniversary patch. But now it seems they're gone for good. Fingers crossed!
If true, it leaves the Buffalo Sabres as the only team still with front jersey numbers, which made their first appearance with the Reebok Edge introduction in 2007-08. At that time, the Sabres, Stars, Islanders, Sharks, and Lightning all wore them.
Speaking of the Sabres, they and the Philadelphia Flyers caught my eye for their use of an apostrophe on their jersey numbers at the draft. Most teams use the last two digits of the draft year for the jerseys they hand out. But this presented a bit of a dilemma for a handful of teams who've actually retired the No. 16 sweater.
The Sabres and Flyers each used an apostrophe to the left of the 16, perhaps out of respect for Pat LaFontaine and Bobby Clarke. The Kings, Blues, Canucks, and Canadiens have also retired No. 16 but didn't bother with the apostrophe.
There are a few other minor notes from the draft. The Colorado Avalanche were the only team with only their white road jersey on hand. The Panthers were the only ones with both. And the Minnesota Wild were the only team to give out their third jersey at the draft.
We'll wrap up with a look at all the jerseys handed out at the draft.