When one thinks about the No. 9 and its place in hockey lore, notable names come to mind. Names like Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull automatically come to mind. Now the newest member of the New Jersey Devils is hoping the number is “Taylor made,” for him. Taylor Hall will join a group of great players who have also donned the sweater in Devils history.
Before Hall, 19 players wore No. 9 with New Jersey, starting with Don Lever in 1982 and most recently Jiri Tlusty in 2015-16. Below we take a look at the prime nine of New Jersey.
Granted Hall has yet to touch the ice with New Jersey but his impact is already being felt. No offense to the players who wore No. 9 between Hall and Zach Parise but the change represents one toward a positive present and future. Hall can’t wear his Edmonton No. 4, for obvious reasons, yet he’ll have a chance to make the new one his own in his new setting.
— NHL (@NHL) July 13, 2016
Bicek wore his heart on his sleeve and besides that a tattoo of the “NJ” logo on his body. Up and down from playing parts of seven seasons in AHL Albany, Bicek skated in 62 games with New Jersey, from 2001-04. Bicek posted 13 points in a New Jersey sweater and was a member of the Devils’ 2002-03 Stanley Cup championship team.
The first man to wear the jersey number, from 1982-85. Lever, who came over from the Colorado Rockies when the club moved to New Jersey, posted 47 markers with the Devils, including the first in club history.
While Morrison had a solid NHL career, his biggest contribution to the Devils was probably helping them obtain Alexander Mogilny from the Vancouver Canucks. Playing at the University of Michigan, he also likely helped the Devils uncover teammate John Madden. Morrison wore No. 9 from 1997-00. During that stretch, the former Hobey Baker Award winner notched 23 goals, 58 helpers and 81 points across 131 games.
Though most Devils fans remember Chorske for wearing No. 17, he did don the No. 9 from 1991-93, until relinquishing it to Bernie Nicholls. Across those two campaigns, Chorske netted 26 tallies.
Speaking of Nicholls, like Hall, the Devils acquired him from the Oilers, in exchange for Zdeno Ciger and Kevin Todd in 1993. Nicholls played parts of two seasons with New Jersey, from 1993-94. In that time, Nicholls registered 24 goals, 42 assists and 66 points in 84 contests. Nicholls was also a big time postseason performer in 1994, posting 13 points in 16 games.
A key missing piece, Broten helped the 1995 Devils win their first Stanley Cup title. Broten was acquired from the Dallas Stars for Corey Millen. From 1995-97, Broten skated in 88 contests with the Devils, recording 15 goals and 52 points. Broten helped propel the Devils down the stretch in 1995 and during the Stanley Cup playoffs, recorded 19 points in 20 games, while netting four game-winning goals.
Though he started out with No. 27 in New Jersey, Muller switched to No. 9 in 1985, wearing it until 1991. During that stretch, the former First Round Draft Pick was a four-time All-Star. Wearing the number, Muller scored 168 goals, including three consecutive campaigns of thirty plus goals. Muller’s 185 goals rank fifth in franchise history and his 520 points place third.
While Parise wore No. 11 with the University of North Dakota, AHL Albany and wears it now with the Minnesota Wild, the Devils adorned the former First Round Draft Pick with the No. 9. Across seven seasons, Parise played 502 games with New Jersey, posting 194 goals, 216 assists and 410 points. In 2008-09, Parise was an NHL All-Star, netting a career best 45 goals. Parise had four additional campaigns of more than 30 goals scored. In 2011-12, Parise captained the Devils to an Eastern Conference flag, leading all postseason scorers with eight goals across 24 games. Parise’s 194 tallies rank fourth in Devils franchise history.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.