This article will be short because really it's more about my curiosity than anything else. I want to know what the public opinion on this matter is.
Why They Shouldn't Change or Add to the Uniform
In a word: history. If you've got a free minute, go to NHLUniforms.com and browse for a little while. Many teams will have lists of uniforms that you need scroll down to completely see. Even the 2000 expansion teams (Columbus and Minnesota) already have had 6 different incarnations of their uniforms. The Red Wings are a classic uniform, but their long tenure in the NHL has led their uniform to go through several changes including logo alterations, sleeve changes, making the crest larger, and including names. The Devils made one very early change that many will remember. In my birth year, 1992, the Devils made the switch from red and green to red and black. This red and black logo and jersey have been in existence the pair was also one of the very few designs to completely survive the switch the Reebok's Edge uniform system (the Red Wings were one of the others).
Also, according to Wikipedia, the Devils, Red Wings, and Canadiens are the only teams to not include the third jersey. Remember that the St. Patrick's day jersey is actually a throwback not a third jersey. That is some classic NHL company to hold. The Devils have not been around a long time, but this old-fashioned, understated-yet-also-daring design has put them in elite company.
The Devils have been one of the standard images of the NHL since the change and that brand recognition has to stand for something especially in such a small market. This is not even mentioning the fact that the Devils have the best logo in the four major sports. This design set has been synonymous with an era of exceptional hockey under the grandmaster GM, Lou Lamoriello.
Why They Should Change the Uniform
That GM is no longer here (nor are his quirks). Those owners are no longer here. That era of hockey is gone. That franchise is obsolete. Even the Red Wings, as classic as they might be, slightly altered their jersey in 1982 when their ownership changed from the 50 years under the Norris to current owner Mike Ilitch. This era of Devils hockey is aching for a definition. Shero has installed a new philosophy of being young, fast, attacking, and supportive. There is a strong argument to be made that with this new youth movement, new ownership, new GM, and new philisophy, the team should also seek a new image.
I don't mean literally. The logo should stay. I would NOT be okay with getting rid of the best logo in sports. However, changing the jerseys could bring in a new era of fans to a team that is transitioning between situations. We have been stagnant for such a long time that this could be the opportunity to associate a new Devils franchise with The Rock, with some offensive firepower, with some hopefully iconic players (Schneider?).
Even if we don't change the jerseys, a good compromise would be to settle on a third jersey. That would immediately skyrocket to the top of sales, it wouldn't taint the history of the original pair, and it would help keep the interest of the fans and reassure them that this is a team with a vision. That's something that this new or additional jersey would go a long way towards accomplishing. The fans of this team deserve recognition that the team is in transition and not free fall. A jersey can help represent that.
What do you think? Is it time for a third jersey? is it time for a total change of the classic pair of jerseys? Do you think we should go as far as altering the logo? Leave your thoughts below. This is an important topic as the image can do wonders for team and fan morale. I look forward to hearing what you guys think.