Jagr decided to return from the KHL to finish his sure-to-be Hall of Fame career in the NHL. After manipulating the free agent system to squeeze every last dollar out of the highest bidder, he landed with the Philadelphia Flyers. Jagr had an average season recording 54 points in 73 games. He was held out for a small chunk of the season due to a groin injury, something that has hampered Jagr throughout his career.
An NHL all-time great like Jagr is always going to bolster jersey sales when playing in a big market like Philadelphia. However, when we look back at his stellar career, Jagr is going to be known for his two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of his glory days with the New York Rangers. These two teams took up the majority of Jagr’s career. This off-season, Jagr signed a one-year, $4.55 million contract with the Dallas Stars. Therefore, the #68 is not going to be seen on the back of a fan wearing a Flyers jersey very often this season.
9. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
An established name throughout the league, Datsyuk is one of the most popular players in Hockeytown. Datsyuk is one of the most creative players of his generation and pulls off dekes some of us can’t even imagine. His flare certainly causes for his jersey to fall off the shelves. He is one of the best players at both ends of the ice and is a Selke Trophy finalist almost every season. Datsyuk and the Red Wings seem to be a favorite coming out of the west on a yearly basis.
With all of the up-and-coming young talent in the league, Datsyuk’s jersey being this high on the list of jersey sales may be surprising to some as he has been hampered by injury over the past two seasons. Additionally, the Russian’s statistics have also dropped the last two years.
A rising superstar who is fresh off of a Stanley Cup series winning goal two seasons ago, Patrick Kane had the eighth highest selling jersey in the league this past season. Kane, a former number one overall pick in 2003, is an up-and-coming young talent who is one of the faces of the NHL. Kane connects with the young fan base which the NHL has created since the last NHL lockout.
Kane, being a bit of a free-spirit, and speaking what is on his mind, has attracted fans from all over the league. He plays for an original six NHL franchise and scored a goal which will be remembered forever in the city of Chicago. Kane will finish his career as a hero in one of the largest sports markets in the country. His jersey will continue to sell and will more than likely creep towards the top of the list as one of the highest grossing jerseys in the league. Being selected number one overall has never seemed to hurt anyone’s jersey from selling either.
A Vezina Trophy winner and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Tim Thomas will go down as a legendary goaltender in the New England area. Thomas has a blue-collar appeal to many fans. He was drafted in 1994 by the Quebec Nordiques, but didn’t make his NHL debut until 2002-2003 season with the Bruins. Thomas fought his way to the top. When many thought he would never transform into a formidable NHL net-minder, he proved the opposite to the hockey world.
Although Thomas is taking this season off and even possibly retiring forever, his jersey will always be sold in Boston due to his playoff heroics in 2010-2011 when he captured the first Stanley Cup for the Bruins in nearly 40 years. Due to the fact that Thomas will not be playing for the Bruins this coming season, his jersey sales will definitely take a hit.
6. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Known as one of the best captains in the NHL, Jonathan Toews is one of the most popular players in the league. The third overall pick in the 2006 draft, Toews has been a fan favorite from the beginning. He has the uncanny ability to score big goals at the most crucial times for the Blackhawks. In the 2009-2010 season, he captained the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup since the 1960-1961 season.
Toews leadership and determination becomes more and more prevalent each season. He continues to gain respect and fans. Not only does he already have the city of Chicago in his back pocket, but the rest of the NHL community is constantly realizing just how great of a player Toews has been and is going to be in the future. His jersey sales should continue to soar as he continues to play out an exceptional NHL career. Toews will be beloved in the Windy City for a very long time.
5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
In most sports there is constant debate over who is the best player at a particular position. If you were going to pick a goaltender first in your fantasy hockey draft, you would unquestionably select Lundqvist. “King Henrik” has solidified that he is the best goaltender in the NHL. He convincingly proved this to all of us throughout the 2011-2012 season. The Rangers finished first in the Eastern Conference with one of the highest point totals the franchise has compiled in years. Lundqvist was at the center of all of the Rangers’ success. He carried their team from start to finish.
Playing for an original six franchise, being labeled as a world-class goaltender, Lundqvist jersey sales will continue to fly high. Playing in New York City, the largest NHL market in the league also helps the Ranger’s #30 jersey to sell at a quick pace. Henrik Lundqvist’s jersey has the possibility of climbing into the top-three highest grossing jerseys next season if he continues to play like he did this past year.
4. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
“Alexander the Great” is one of the most popular hockey players in the world. Not only is he a fan favorite in the North America, but he is the most sought after hockey player in Russia. Ovechkin has the appeal of a Hollywood movie-star and may be the most exciting player to ever hail from Russia. His flare is portrayed on the ice as he is probably the most dynamic goal scorer the world has seen over the past decade. He has never been shy about celebrating one of his many spectacular goals, and has never hidden from the limelight. Ovechkin will usually state exactly what is on his mind.
Ovechkin is a one-of-a-kind talent. He has scored over 50 goals in four of his seven NHL seasons, including 65 goals in 2007-2008. His goal-per-game average is mind-blowing as he has scored 339 goals in 553 games. His jersey continues to be one of the highest selling in the league. With a large number of followers in North America and Russia, Ovechkin’s jersey will always be one of the highest selling hockey jerseys in the league every season.
3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Surprised that he is not at the top of the list? Many NHL fans will be shocked. “Sid the Kid” also has a universal fan base as does his counterpart, Ovechkin. Crosby is Canadian hockey royalty who has won everything a player could wish for in a career. However, Crosby has accomplished all of this by the age of 25. He has a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal, an Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy to go along with countless other awards. Crosby is revered throughout the hockey world for his accomplishments and his demeanor. Crosby is the polar opposite of Ovechkin, but the two players being different from one another probably contributes to their high selling jerseys.
Some may have taken the news as a shock that Crosby’s jersey is only third on the list of the highest selling sweaters in the league. However, Crosby has not participated in the better part of a full season since 2009-2010. This might be the reason why his jersey is only third on the list. If he plays more games and the majority of the upcoming season, Crosby should see his jersey stock rise. He is one of the faces of the NHL and his jersey has been a popular sell since he entered the league. Crosby’s jersey will continue to sell until he hangs up his skates.
2. Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers
The captain of the Rangers is an example of hard work and leadership. Callahan is willing to do whatever it takes to win at both ends of the rink. He isn’t the highest point scorer on his team but is the most respected due to his blue-collar style. Callahan plays on the power play and penalty kill. He is willing to throw his body in front of any shot that may cross his path. The Ranger’s leader seems to improve every season and he is captaining a Rangers team which is finally winning on a regular basis.
The Rangers have signed some high price free-agents in the past and those previous teams were more known for underachieving than meeting expectations. Callahan has been the leader who has brought this original six franchise back to relevancy. He captained them to an Eastern Conference title this past year. The Rangers were not Eastern Conference favorites on many preseason lists, but winning attracts attention, especially in “The Big Apple.” When you wear the “C” on your jersey and your team was the best team in the Eastern Conference in the biggest market in the league, your jersey is going to bring in some dollars.
1. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
When your team ships out the two faces of their franchise and gives you the keys to the car that is a lot for someone to handle. That is a huge burden when those two faces are named Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and they led your team to the Stanley Cup Finals a few years earlier. The expectations were down, and many thought the Flyers were in a rebuilding year going into the 2011-2012 season.
None of this fazed Claude Giroux. Everyone knew he was extremely talented, but he came out of the gates setting the league on fire this past season. Giroux’s expectations of the Flyers had not changed and he was determined to lead them back to the playoffs. He did that and some. Giroux was in the thick of the scoring race for the entire season. He missed some games due to injury and finished third in scoring. On top of that, Giroux led his team to a first round playoff victory over cross-state rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Giroux was a fresh, young face, who exploded onto the NHL scene with his extraordinary play this season. His charisma and leadership got an entire city behind him as he is beloved in Philadelphia. Giroux did plenty to have the top grossing jersey in the NHL. Everyone wanted the jersey of the new superstar on the scene. The #28 jersey is going to continue to thrive as Giroux looks like he is only going to get better every year.