There is a lot of change headed the way of the New Jersey Devils for the upcoming 2017-18 season. We will not just see it in personnel, but our overall appearance. I feel like I need to say this to the Devils fanbase (which I am a part of), change Is good, just give it a chance. Listen, there is a lot of change that I did not like, such as the changing of our goal song and some of the arena policy changes that have taken some of the fanbase out of the game. When it comes to our draft picks and jersey though, why are we so quick to be negative.
New Jersey for New Jersey
OK we got a new jersey…breathe it is going to be ok. Every fan page, Facebook group, and passerby on the street has a negative comment about the jersey.
“It is not our heritage”
“Where did the bottom stripe go”
“It looks like a college sweater”
I have to say that I loved the Devils twitter account trolling all of the negativity by changing their bio to state, “they are not fashion designers.”
If we were the Islanders and this was the Gordon Fisherman Jersey redesign I might be siding with you, but it is not. Our logo remains untouched, the lines were made cleaner and OMG Adidas added stripes to the sleeves! I will put myself in front of the firing squad, I like the jersey. Our “classic” jersey is dated and not in classy way. I had a conversation with one of my cousins where we both agreed that our old jersey looked straight out the 90’s.
We are no longer uttering “In Lou We Trust” and Marty is no longer the #1 goalie in the league. We have new leadership and a smart, young team. This jersey reflects that, the next chapter of the Devils. Plus, I would give Adidas a chance, especially when it comes to stripes. Adidas (and their iconic three stripes) finished their last fiscal year with 24.7 billion dollars in worldwide sales, growing their market share over 20%.
Draft Day in Newark
Getting to go the Devils Draft Party in Newark was pretty awesome in my opinion. The Devils’ staff did a great job having players and alumni on hand to meet and greet fans that made it out to the event. They had a mini street hockey rink for kids to play a fun game and the restaurants along the alleyway were ready to serve the fanbase. NJ Devil was out and about in the Devils Den Team Store where my nephew was getting a new plush replica of him. The Devil signed it for him before his dad’s credit card had finished being swiped. My lucky nephew was also standing under the tent during a rain delay when Devils alumni Bryce Salvador walked over to him and handed him a signed puck. That is how great our team past and present is, they love interacting with their fans. Even his dad got an autograph, he had the Devils Den turn a blank jersey into a Zacha jersey. While he was walking back to where we were all standing, Zacha was walking past him and signed the jersey…not even five minutes old.
To enjoy some photos of the great Draft Day event, click here.
Welcome Nico Hischier
So, I will admit it, I was hoping for Nolan Patrick. I thought he fit the Devils program perfectly. However, I am not John Hynes nor am I Ray Shero. They won the first pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and had the pick of everyone up for drafting. They choose Hischier. Shero and Hynes have a vision for the team and this is the year they need to execute that vision.
Remember, Ray Shero basically crafted the Penguins dynasty we are seeing play out today, so with him taking Niko over Nolan, there has to be a reason. Plus, it might also have been a little fate. You might have seen the picture of a 5-year-old Hischier wearing a Devils jersey. At the Press Conference, the Devils held on Monday afternoon to introduce Nico, he explained that at a hockey tournament in Switzerland the kids that come to play are all assigned NHL teams and given those jerseys.
It seems like the fanbase is already complaining though. The 19-year-old first round pick has not even set foot on the ice in the Rock and they are already conceding the season. Their first complaint is that Nico doesn’t work with out system. While that is my thought processes because I feel (like many other fans and hockey enthusiasts I know) that Nico is a little more flashier of a player. Nolan is more of a grinder. When I took a step back and looked at the team again I noticed something beyond the fact that we have a lot of young talent coming up…we don’t have a star. We have (Jersey) household names like Henrique and Zajac but Elias, Jagr, and Marty are gone. Now I don’t want to put pressure on a teenager but he has the potential to be a franchise player. He has flair. He is exciting to watch.
On Monday Shero was asked the question that is also plaguing the fanbase, will he be a starter. The Devils faithful fear he will be placed in the AHL and forgotten about while Nolan has basically been guaranteed to be a starter by the Flyers. Shero answered simply with “We have a spot for him”, referring to Hischeir having a starting spot at center for the ’17-’18 season. I think that Shero and Hynes though will see how he does at training camp with what is expected of him before the make him a starter. That is fair, you don’t want to end up with a Joba Chamberlin situation making a bunch of rules for someone who maybe needs another year in the minors.
So here is the take-away Devils fans, keep an open-mind this season, I think there is going to be a lot of excitement from this team.