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What to Expect When You're Expecting: NHL Thirds

This is largely an opinion article. The view expressed are a reflection of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the fellow writers. Except maybe Chicago. I think we're all sick of Chicago.


Well, the Stanley Cup has been awarded, the team captain has been drunk for a solid two weeks, and with the Toronto Marlies taking home the Calder Cup, hockey season is well over. Now that the playoffs are gone, here on the blog, we can now officially start looking forward to the NHL thirds jerseys. Using what we know, I've compiled a list of what we know, shared what will be, as well as what I'm hoping for.


Anaheim Ducks
Status: Very Likely
Design: I'm guessing throwback, possibly fauxback

Source: Limouines-Megeve

The Not-Quite-Mighty Ducks have been using their popular "Orange" County thirds since 2015, using the ever-likable Disney duck mask. Earlier this week, the Ducks released a short clip showing their mascot Wild Wing opening a time capsule. First of all, I suppose it's worth mentioning that this isn't necessarily related to the third jerseys, but it almost certainly is. I would almost certainly expect the original logo, or recolored original logo, proudly on the crest. The rest is a toss up. Will it be a straight up throwback? This is my guess, as a "time capsule" theme wouldn't really allow for a new look.

If it's a new design, I would't expect to see the original colors return. The team hasn't hinted at this in any recent branding, so eggplant and jade would be an appearance right out of left field. If it's a new design, I wouldn't expect another orange jersey; it wouldn't make much sense to go from an orange jersey to another orange jersey. Would it be black, like the current home? Don't rule out the possibility the team brings back the orange jersey, makes it the home, and then have a black alternate.

Could we just get the previous orange third back, and this build up is overblown? That's possible, too.


Arizona Coyotes
Status: Confirmed
Design: Anyone's guess is as good as mine

Source: HFBoards

This is a team that could go a lot of different directions on their jersey reveal during the draft. The team has a bevy of secondary logos, any of which could go on the crest if they really wanted it. If that's the case, the team will stick with its maroon, black, and sand kit. I'm hoping this isn't the case, because none of their secondary logos are strong enough to carry the team banner on the crest, and they're much better suited as shoulder patches.

What I'm hoping we'll see is the team turn back the clock to the 90's for the Native-inspired logo and pattern. The team has used direct throwbacks a few times over the past few seasons, so it's quite likely this is the trail the desert team will take. Whether or not it will be a direct throwback or fauxback is anyone's guess. I'd love to see Adidas take a stab at recoloring the existing logos using the 90's palete.

What I love about the original look is its clear connection to the Southwest; its colors and patterns scream Arizona without going flamboyant or tacky.


Boston Bruins
Status: Unlikely for Full-Time Third, Very Likely for Winter Classic
Design: It's the Bruins, it's a Winter Classic, so yeah, it's a fauxback

Source: Zimbio

We'll have a whole Winter Classic watch this upcoming season, so there's no sense in focusing on the Bruins quite yet. We may see the team throw back on the Winter Classic sweater next March, but don't expect a true third jersey.


Buffalo Sabres
Status: Unlikley
Design: Whatever it is or isn't, it won't be the shade of blue we want

Source: NHL.com

I was skeptical we'd see last year's Winter Classic jersey as the full-time third because it was white, typically a color you don't wear on home ice. With as much fanfare for a new jersey from the team as 2019 playoff ticket sales, I think it's safe to say we're not seeing anything new next season. Next season is their 50th anniversary... maybe next year?


Calgary Flames
Status: Likely
Design: idk

Source: NHL.com


As one of the more tight-lipped clubs, the Flames third was semi-confirmed in the Adidas catalog-image leak, and that's the extent of our knowledge. The team has done a number of alternates the past 2 decades, most of them celebrating the color black as part of the scheme. The most recent iteration has been a throwback (above) dropping black entirely. Was this the beginning of a trend or an outlier? I really can't say.


Carolina Hurricanes
Status: Confirmed
Design: Wow, a teaser release before an accidental leak and everything!

Source: Twitter


No speculating here, the 'Canes have released a teaser, full release on the 22nd. From the looks of it, we're getting a brand-new design of a black jersey with the warning flag logo on the crest.


Chicago Blackhawks
Status: See Boston
Design: No really, go look at Boston. It's exactly the same

Source: Puck Prose

With their seemingly annual outdoor game, I don't think the United Center closet has enough room for another jersey. As with Boston, we'll come back to Chicago (begrudgingly) when its gets closer to New Years.


Colorado Avalanche
Status: Likely
Design: Too risky to try something new, just pull the last one out of the closet

Source-NG-Creations


A team whose thirds all tend to fall flat, Colorado finally found an above-average look last season, using the C logo on the mountain background. With little fanfare up until now, don't expect anything crazy.


Columbus Blue Jackets
Status: Likely
Design: *Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture plays in background*

Source: Jackets Canon

Hate it or hate it, it's more-than-probable that the cannon is going on this jersey, meaning the Jackets are probably keeping the last one. And why shouldn't they? Fauxbacks are the go-to in the NHL, and there's very little risk involved from a selling standpoint. And it has a freaking cannon on it.


Dallas Stars
Status: Unlikely
Design: It will probably incorporate the current.. wait, what? Unlikely? Really?

Source: Hockey by Design

No speculation, no leaks, no fanfare. Yep, this team probably isn't going to have a third jersey next season. Given their age and the fact they haven't changed their last major brand change was a whole five years ago, I certainly expected the Stars to add a third jersey into the rotation. Maybe this should't be too surprising, given the team's unfortunate history with thirds (Exhibit A, see above).


Detroit Red Wings
Status: *Dr. Strange looks into 14 million possible futures, and only in one does it happen*
Design: Yeah, no, it's not happening

Source: NHL.com

Rumor had it that all 31 teams were going to have an alternate jersey for the upcoming season. This was dispelled rather quickly when certain teams, most notably Detroit, were clearly not going along. With a look essentially unchanged since the FDR administration, look for Detroit to keep its continuity streak.


Edmonton Oilers
Status: Likely
Design: Officially unknown, but you can act surprised when it comes out, if you want

Source: OilersNation

When it was announced the team was shelving the then-home blue jersey in favor for the then-alternate orange jersey for '17-'18, it basically confirmed the blue jersey was coming right back off the shelf. With no indication from any source suggesting otherwise, this is my most confident prediction of any team.


Florida Panthers
Status: Unlikely
Design: Patience, young grasshopper

Source: Lemon City Live

Still getting use to the new logo, the Panthers are most likely holding off on an alternate, for now. I'd expect to see one as early as next season once the team gets a firm grasp on how it wants to use its still-new logo set. Could be an interesting idea for a concept?


Los Angeles Kings
Status: Likely
Design: Could be good, could be bad. Could be really bad

Source: Getty Images

Here's another team with little known and a lot of potential. The Kings haven't done anything major with their identity recently, and don't seem to be in love with any particular logo or look (or era, for that matter). Last season, the Kings unveiled a grey third (pictured above), their first full time since 2013. After only one season of use, is it too early to throw it away? Possibly, so there's at least a decent chance we don't see anything ground-breaking from LA.

What about a return to forum blue and gold? This is my preference. The team hasn't used forum blue full-time since dropping the alternate in 2013, and haven't used gold full time since the ill-fated burger king in '95-'96. The team has flirted with one-off throwback occasionally during the Reebok era, but I'm not sold that this is a indication of long-term commitment.

The Kings also have the distinction of creating my personal second-worst jersey during the Reebok era (the split-color 2015 Stadium Series jersey), and their insistence on the horrifically bland batting plate logo is annoying. I'm keeping my expectationz low here.


Minnesota Wild
Status: Unlikely
Design: Lots of directions this could go, but don't expect one

Source: NHL.com


The team was a strong contender for biggest-winner in the Adidas overhaul. Given the such recent rebrand, it follows that it'll be another season or two before they start expanding their options, as has been the standard in the past.


Montreal Canadiens
Status: Super Unlikely
Design: Don't expect change

Source: Montreal Gazette

Apparently once you've won the Cup for the twentieth time in a certain uniform, you never take it off.


Nashville Predators
Status: Unlikely
Design: For the love of everything good and decent, just change already!

Source: Boston Herald

Another recent jersey-swap, teams typically don't go forward with a third when they're still breaking in their first two. Which is a shame, because this team needs something decent for once.


New Jersey Devils
Status: Unlikely
Design: Well, it couldn't be any worse, right? Right?

Source: SB Nation

Get a new look, hold off on the third. Noticing a trend here? New Jersey was possibly the worst off after the switch to Adidas, taking advantage of Lou Lamoriello's departure, just to realize that his "no change" jersey policy might have actually had a purpose. We may see a St. Patrick's throwback as in previous years, but don't expect anything full time. Which I'm sure is for the best.


New York Islanders
Status: Confirmed
Design: Probably something that everyone will find better except Monday writer Jets

Source: Hockey by Design


As Wednesday writer Phil has confirmed, the Isles will have a third next season. What else we know for sure is that it will be orange. Beyond this is speculation, although it's very likely the crest logo will be the simplified NY logo from the previous "Brooklyn" third. Knowing this, all indications point towards good for the Isles. The last two alternates have been unmitigated disasters, mostly due to forcing black for black's sake. Third time's the charm? We'll find out soon.


New York Rangers
Status: Uber Unlikely
Design: Don't hold your breath waiting for it

Elite Sports NY

Here's another Original 6 team with no reason to mess with the tradition-heavy brand.


Ottawa Senators
Status: No one can keep up following this debacle anymore
Design: We're not getting anything soon, are we?

Source: Hockey by Design

What the h-e-double hockey sticks is going on here? Ottawa has had a mediocre brand for most of its history in the club's current incarnation, it's pretty safe to say. Then the team hit a stroke of genius, modernizing the historic barber pole stripe pattern. The response from fans was overwhelmingly positive. It was miraculous why the team insisted on keeping the Reebok cookie-cutter template for so long. Every so often we'd see an article in the news; the team was ready for a rebrand, seeing the need for change, just going over the specifics of what they wanted. But nothing ever came of it.

Then, it was announced Adidas was coming in. Finally, we thought, this is Ottawa's chance to go through with the rebrand. The big day came, the jerseys were revealed, and: an Adidas version of the Reebok template. Bleh.

Well, surely, we thought, the Senators at least couldn't pass up bringing back the barber pole jersey with a third? It was hinted at with the NHL 100 Classic outdoors. Yet here we are, less than a week until the draft, and there's still no indication of any change.

 For a team that's had lightning in a bottle for so long, with no will or ability to pull the trigger on it, I wouldn't expect them to do anything with it, at least under current management.


Philadelphia Flyers
Status: Confirmed
Design: Also confirmed

Source: Zimbio

The only team with a jersey we know for sure to a full-time third, the Flyers will hold on to their 2017 Stadium Series jerseys. An interesting, but unsurprising move, as it was widely speculated at least one outdoor jersey from last season would go on to be a full time third. Seeing such large numbers and names indoors will be new, but the guys in the broadcast booth will probably appreciate it.


Pittsburgh Penguins
Status: Likely
Design: Blue? Yellow? Whatever the color wheel lands on?

Source: PensBurgh

There's basically only two directions this team can go: blue, or yellow and black. With the team so tight lipped, it's a 50/50 chance as to which direction we'll go.

Though the previous third jersey became the full time primary, the last two thirds from the team were both blue, worn between '08-'13. Both jerseys were inspired by the team's original look when entering the league. They've made comebacks during outdoor game, and throwbacks are almost always received well by fans.

Another yellow and black jersey would definitely be interesting. Most of the concepts for Pens thirds here on HJC have been yellow, though occasionally we se another black jersey. A yellow would better fit the current identity rather than throwing back all the way to the club's founding. Would we see the RoboPen? Script diagonal Pittsburgh? This could be the most exciting reveal of the summer.


San Jose Sharks
Status: Very Likely
Design: Likely going to be the newer shark

Source: CBS Sports

San Jose has slowly been integrating new logos into their brand, but none have managed to hit the ice beyond a shoulder patch. This season seems the ideal opportunity to bring them on to a third, especially the new "open mouth" shark on the crest. A throwback has also been rumored. Also to look out for, as San Jose hosts the All-Star game this year, look out for something different. We already know there will be a patch, but behind that, it could be fun to speculate how the new logos will be brought in to the team's arsenal.


St. Louis Blues
Status: Likely
Design: From what it sounds like, something similar from the recent past

Source: St. Louis Game Time

One might expect the team to go back to the previous third (pictured above), but since it was axed even before Adidas took over, I wouldn't count on it. The 2017 Winter Classic was received well, and given the current trend of throwbacks/fauxbacks, it's a safe bet to say it'll be that or something similar.


Tampa Bay Lighting
Status: Likely
Design: New? Different? Another toss up

Source: theScore

The 'Bolts have been using a third with a script Bolts across the front since '08. Will they be using the switch to Adidas as the opportunity for change? There's no strong indication either way. If they do, what direction would they go? Back to the 90's? It could be a risky move, with only Anaheim really able to pull it off lately. What about the colors? Do they keep it simple with blue and white? Add black? Go even crazier and add black and grey?

If they do stick with the Bolts, there's even more questions we could ask? Will they keep black, or go back to blue? I have a lot of questions I hope I'll see answered soon.


Toronto Maple Leafs
Status: Possible
Design: St. Pats or bust

Source: Yahoo Sports

Considering the Leafs are Original 6, and the guy in charge for the last 3 seasons was Lou Lamoriello, it was surprising to see the Leafs were on the leaked Adidas catalog image. The most logical explanation is that we'll see a one-off St. Pat's jersey around St. Patrick's Day, similar to New Jersey's throwbacks with green. If this isn't the case and it's a true full time third, it's really anyone's guess what'll happen.


Vancouver Canucks
Status: Likely
Design: Stick-in-Rink, Probably

Source: Puck Prose

The Canucks had used their initial third from Reebok all the way until last season. If the team is looking for something new and fresh, now seems as good as any. It's possible we could see Johnny Canuck get a more prominent role, as could the color green, but in my opinion, I think the previous third is a look Vancouver wants to take in to at least the near future.


Vegas Golden Knights
Status: Unlikely
Design: For a team with no history and a Stanley Cup Final appearance? Who knows?

Source: Review Journal

I'm somewhat surprised we're not seeing anything for Vegas this season, though it's the norm for new teams to not have thirds in their first few seasons. It seemed like having a new supplier in Adidas and a new team at the same time, the supplier would want to showcase their product on a team willing to try something new, because in one year of existence, pretty much anything is new, (except losing, apparently). We'll have to wait for now and see what aspect of the Knights identity is the most enduring, other than their 100% success rate in the Western Conference.


Washington Capitals
Status: Likely
Design: Throwback or fauxback, most likely

Source: Capitals Outsider

Any alternate or specialty jersey the Caps have done recently has in some way called back to the 70s and 80s. To go in a completely new direction for a design wouldn't have much evidence supporting that opinion. Given how poorly their Stadium Series jersey was received, don't expect to see it, or its cummerbund, again. If I had to guess, I'd say we'll see a direct throwback or close fauxback, as in the seasons right before Adidas.


Winnipeg Jets
Status: Likely
Design: Could be anything

Homegrown Sporting Goods

Here's a franchise who hasn't had a third since their days in Atlanta. The only indication we have of any direction they might go was the Heritage Classic, but given that it's the Heritage Classic, only a traditional look would do. Winnipeg could go a more modern look; their secondary logo could complement a modern look on the crest. Until it comes out, we can only speculate. This could be another fun team to make concepts for this summer.



That's my take on Year 2 of Adidas. What do you think? What teams do I have spot on? What teams do I have dead wrong? Let me know in the comments, and keep your stick on the ice.
What to Expect When You're Expecting: NHL Thirds Reviewed by Ben Shaffer on June 21, 2018 Rating: 5

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