There is a lot of player movement in the NHL, even amongst franchise legends. Whether it be through free agency, trade or an expansion draft, fans have seen some of their lifelong heroes turned villains by switching uniforms. Here are nine legendary players from the last decade that look weird in different jerseys.
The Seattle Kraken expansion draft saw long-time Flames captain Mark Giordano leave the Calgary Flames and move to the NHL’S newest franchise. The former Norris winner had 509 points in 949 games with the franchise before being exposed for the expansion draft. It is too early to tell what type of impact this move will make on both franchises, but early results show Calgary is doing just fine without their former captain.
As for Giordano, he has struggled so far with the Kraken. He isn’t producing offensively like the team hoped and has missed some games due to COVID-19. He is an unrestricted free agent come season’s end, so he may return to Calgary to finish his career.
During his 17-year career with the Senators, Daniel Alfredsson did everything for the franchise. He is the franchise leader in goals, assists, and points and was team captain for 13 seasons. However, in the Summer of 2013, everything changed as he left for division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, after failed negotiations with the Senators. It was a dark day in the franchise history, and one Senator fans may never forget.
During his time in Detroit, Alfredsson put up 49 points in 68 games. He helped Detroit secure a playoff spot while his former team, the Ottawa Senators, missed the playoffs. At the end of the season, he chose to retire and even rejoined the Senators organization as an advisor in 2015-16. Still, the pain of seeing him in another shade of red is something that may haunt Senator fans for a long time.
Jarome Iginla will go down as the Calgary Flames’ greatest player of all time. The recent Hall of Fame inductee is the team’s franchise leader in games played, goals and points. He is loved in Calgary, but in 2013, the unthinkable happened, and the Flames traded their captain to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After 13 regular-season games and a 15 game playoff run, Iginla signed with the Bruins. He scored 61 points in 78 games during his only season with them. He was tied for the team lead in goals with 30 and finished third in points. After a 12 game playoff run, he signed with the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason before retiring with the Kings in 2017.
When fans think of Minnesota Wild players, the first name that usually comes up is Mikko Koivu. The all-time franchise leader in games played, assists and points spent 14 seasons with the Wild, with 11 coming as captain. However, that all changed in the summer of 2020 when the Wild decided to move on from their long-time captain.
Koivu moved to Columbus that off-season after signing a one-year deal with the Blue Jackets. He only managed seven games before deciding to retire and move into coaching. He can now be found behind the Finnish World Juniors Team bench, helping the next wave of young Finns make the NHL.
Just when fans were getting used to the sight of Marc-André Fleury in a Vegas Golden Knights jersey, the former Stanley Cup winner was moved again over to the Chicago Blackhawks. It has always been a bit odd seeing him in anything but a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey, but the Blackhawks one is bizarre. One day, his number will hang in Pittsburgh’s rafter, but fans can now see it protecting the crease in Chicago.
After a slow start, Fleury is finding his game in Chicago. He recently captured his 500th career win and should be a lock for Team Canada if they attend the Olympics. Flower, as he is nicknamed, is still a number one goalie in this league and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
Patrick Marleau spent parts of 21 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, where he put up 1,111 points in 1607 games. After a brief two-year stint in Toronto from 2017-2019, he returned to the Bay for the 2019-20. Unfortunately, the Sharks season was not going well, and he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for one last run at a cup.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Marleau only suited up for eight games with the Penguins during the regular season. When the season restarted in the bubble, he played in four playoff games but couldn’t help the Penguins get out of the qualifying round as they fell to the Montreal Canadians. He would return to the Sharks in the offseason and play one more season before retiring.
Travis Zajac may not have been the flashiest player in New Jersey Devils history, but he was a fan favourite playing parts of 15 seasons with the organization. He put up 550 points in 1024 games with the franchise and was a major contributor to the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2012. With his career coming to the close, the Devils wanted to give him a chance to retire a champion and sent him off to the Islanders during the 2020-21 season.
Zajac did everything he was expected to with the Islanders. He won 51.9% of his faceoffs during his 14 playoff games and helped the Islanders within one game of the Stanley Cup Final. After the season, he decided to retire from hockey but not before signing a one-day contract with Devils so he could officially retire with the franchise.
After 14 seasons with the Anaheim Ducks organization, Corey Perry and the organization decided it was time for a fresh start. During his time with the Ducks, he registered 372 goals and 776 points while also taking home the Hart Trophy in 2010-11. After a season with the Stars followed by one with the Canadians, he now finds himself on the Tampa Bay Lightning looking for that illustrious second Stanley Cup.
While Perry in any jersey besides the Ducks looks odd, seeing him in a Lightning jersey just feels wrong. Each of the last two seasons, he has lost to the Lightning in the Stanley Cup final, so one would think he would have a dislike for the team. Regardless, he now skates for Tampa, hoping to help them pull off the first three-peat since the Islanders in the early ’80s.
Tomáš Plekanec wore the Canadiens crest for parts of 15 seasons. He registered 606 points in 984 games during that time while also being one of the franchise’s best faceoff men. With the Canadiens set to miss the playoffs in 2017-18, they did the unthinkable and traded one of their fan favourite players to the worst team possible, The Toronto Maple Leafs.
Plekanec put up two points in 17 regular-season games with the Canadiens’ most hated rival, followed by four in a seven-game playoff series versus the Bruins. After the season, he re-signed with Montreal but only managed three games before moving back home to the Czech Republic. Fans can still catch him in action as he captains Rytiri Kladno of the Czech leagues’ top division.
Hard to See Fan Favourites in Different Jerseys
When it comes to a fanbase’s favourite player, it can be difficult to see them in another jersey, especially a rival’s one. In this day in age, however, it is not uncommon for ageing stars to leave their homes for a chance at glory. Although these players may wear bizarre-looking jerseys, fans from their markets may still have a soft spot for them, regardless of which organization they end their playing career with.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.