Hello everyone! In today's post we have concepts for the AHL, ECHL, QMJHL, the IIHF, and naturally, the NHL. It's a varied post, with lots of great artwork.
Tonight I'll be heading to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville to see my first NHL game of the season. It's been a long time coming, as I haven't been to a Preds game since Pekka Rinne went down with the hip injury last year and we got trashed by the Blues. Tonight's game against the Jets is fitting then, because Rinne is back, and it just so happens to be Pekka Rinne Bobblehead Night. I didn't even realize that when I bought the tickets, but if I were to have a bobblehead of any Preds player, I would pick Rinne. That got me thinking about who my favorite Predators were. I thought I'd share my top three with you.
3. Shea Weber
The Captain has a very rare skillset. Defensive ability? Check. Puck handling ability? Check. Nasty side? Check. Wicked slapshot? Triple check. The majority of defensemen in the league don't make an easily observable difference on the ice. With many, it seems the less you notice them, the better they are playing. They aren't driving possession, and they aren't scoring the goals, but they aren't losing the game for you, either. Not so with Weber. He's one of those generational blueliners that you notice on every shift, in a very positive way. Our typical powerplay strategy is fondly called "Pass it to Shea, and Get Out of the Way," and for good reason. Webs can put the puck in the net, or through the net with his slapshot. Heck, he even put it through the boards. The best part? He'll be under contract until I'm in my mid-30s, and no...he won't be going to Philadelphia.
2. Filip Forsberg
Yes, I know Forsberg is very young, and this might seem like a bandwagon pick, but Prince Filip, or "Scoresberg," if you will, is the first player we've had with legitimate offensive superstar potential. When the Forsberg-for-Erat/Latta (everyone forgets Michael Latta) trade happened, I knew it could be the beginning of the end for the gritty Trotz era. Martin Erat was an alternate captain, a player who seemed to be the embodiment of a Barry Trotz forward. Forsberg seemed to signal a shift in priorities for GM David Poile. Since then, we've acquired several offensive prospects in Kevin Fiala, Vladislav Kamenev, and Victor Arvidsson, and added James Neal, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Calle Jarnkrok, Matt Cullen, and Olli Jokinen in trades and free agent signings. We even have a new coach for the first time ever. The roster turnover has been dramatic, but it has produced great results so far. The movement simply doesn't happen without the Forsberg trade and subsequent emergence as an offensive threat. He is the catalyst of a culture change in Nashville.
1. Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne, "The Finnish Fortress," is the cornerstone of the Predators organization. I've seen Pekka steal a game for Nashville when we were getting outplayed more times than I care to admit. The last time Peks was truly healthy (his hip injury originated in Finland during the lockout) was during the 2012 season, when the Preds defeated the Red Wings in five games, ending the career of the great Niklas Lidstrom. Go back and look at the Preds roster for the playoffs that year. It's a joke. A top line of Erat, Fisher, and Sergei Kostitsyn is a 3rd line on just about any other team. Roster acquisitions were Andrei Kostitsyn (flamed out to the KHL), Hal Gill (retired), Alex Radulov (he of the perpetual hangover), and Paul Gaustad (4th liner). The defense was weak past Weber and Suter. Pekka Rinne was the difference maker. When all else fails, he doesn't. He currently has a GAA of less than 2 goals per game. Basically, if the Preds can get him three goals, we usually win. He's back to his Vezina form. Do yourself a favor and watch him play sometime. Watch how he uses his glove and swallows pucks up like a tractor beam. I honestly believe he is the best goaltender in the world, and he is my favorite Nashville Predator.
So who are your top favorite players for your team?
Here are the last of the CHL entries (and there's a lot)
Now let's move on to today's concepts.
Los Angles Kings Concept - Center Ice Design
Positives: I miss the purple. It made so much sense for the Kings, and they could take ownership of the color as part of their brand. Their current brand aesthetic is just boring. I like the use of the LA monogram logo on the shoulders. That's a good alternate logo. Striping pattern works well.
Negatives: Pixelization is a big issue here. The muddied pixels makes it difficult to discern any detail. White numbers on a white jersey doesn't work. Some details of the template have been colored over or erased. NHL and Reebok branding is needed.
Overall: The design itself isn't bad. Cleanliness is the issue here. (6/10)
Team Sweden Concept - Phil B.
Positives: I want to see Sweden in a jersey like the blue one shown here. These jerseys are very clean.
Negatives: I've seen a few concepts like this over the years; even made one pretty similar to this that won a COTW. To be clear, I'm not accusing Phil of copying. I just feel like I'm not seeing anything new. The flag striping just stops arbitrarily in the middle of the yoke. That wasn't well thought out. That stripe should end where the yoke stitching begins. Sweden's jerseys typically don't have yokes, so the design here reminds me of recent Team Canada designs. The blue background is not working well with the blue and yellow jerseys. A muted, neutral tone would work better. A smaller ID would help with presentation as well.
Overall: This has been done enough times that it would need perfect, flawless execution to stand out from the crowd, unfortunately, it doesn't. (7/10)
Utah Lakers Concept - Coby S.
Positives: Interesting choice to put the AHL affiliate of the Canucks in Utah. The striping pattern is good. I like the emphasis on green.
Negatives: The stick-in-rink is a stretch here. I see the 'U' in the logo, but that's it. Nothing about it says "Lakers" to me.
Overall: Logo notwithstanding, the design is pretty good. I respect making your own teams, but the branding isn't strong here. (7.25/10)
Halifax Mooseheads Concept - Taylor R.
Positives: Very effective use of the color scheme here. With these colors, it could be easy to unintentionally make it look like a Christmas jersey, but this is balanced very well. I really love the striping pattern. Execution is very good, as the details are done right.
Negatives: The dark gold name could be hard to read on the white jersey. I think green would be more easily readable from the stands.
Overall: Very solid set for one of the best brands in junior hockey. (8.8/10) COTW nomination from me!
Winnipeg Jets Alternate Concept - Jarrett T.
Positives: This is an interesting angle to take, drawing inspiration for an NHL team from their minor league affiliate. The striping pattern looks great. Greater use of gray helps draw a definite distinction between this and what the Jets wear already.
Negatives: Contrasting cuffs don't help a jersey. I'm not sold on that Jets wordmark as a primary logo, also it's up too high on the jersey. There's not enough room for a captain or alt. captain patch. The number on the back is too small in proportion to the rest of the jersey.
Overall: The overall design is strong. Some minor adjustments would make this a great alternate. (8/10)
Quad City Mallards Concept - Jacob S.
Positives: The striping colors look great together. Execution is pretty good. The concept is very clean, and presentation is excellent. I like Jacob's ID logo as well.
Negatives: Two roundel logos? From far away, the primary looks like a duck with a life preserver around it, and there's not enough color on the logo, especially against a beige jersey. The name bar is too big on the back.
Overall: A lot of great concepts were sent in for the Quad City contest. Unfortunately, this concept, and many others that were even better, didn't make it to Quad City's top 5 (as picked by Stevie Wonder, I guess). I would have preferred this to any design they picked. (8.25/10)
New York Islanders Concept - Tyler G.
Positives: This is a pretty conservative concept, but it looks good. The casual fan would hardly notice the difference if these were introduced over what they normally wear, but you don't need to modify the Isles' aesthetic too much. The NY Stadium Series logo looks great on the shoulders. Presentation and execution is very good. Tyler's Presentation has gotten much better recently.
Negatives: I don't like the pants striping. I'm of the opinion that the Isles won't win another cup until they stop referencing the four cups they have on their jerseys. You know, karma, etc. It feels too forced.
Overall: A good set for the Islanders. (8.5/10)
That's all for today. Sign up for HJC's Mailing List to make COTW and COTY voting even easier!
See you all later!