In the NHL offseason, everyone focuses on the new kids on the block, whether that be the shiny rookies or the coveted free agents. However, the time between seasons also provides a window for teams to take a look at their jerseys and try to redesign their image. It’s been two years since the New York Rangers last donned their alternate heritage jerseys for their anniversary, and with the new stars in town, there’s never been a better time for an alternate sweater in New York.
Since Adidas took over as the primary manufacturer of NHL jerseys in 2017-18, they’ve created 19 alternate jerseys and a new away jersey for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Florida Panthers are all rumored to be getting a third jersey. The Los Angeles Kings are slated to get a throwback jersey this season. Somehow, the St. Louis Blues will have four separate jerseys this year. The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators will have Winter Classic sweaters. That raises the question, when are the Rangers going to return to an alternate sweater? Let’s take a look at some of the options they’ll have based on Adidas’ track record.
1946-47 Arched Rangers
For a single season, the Rangers decided to revamp their uniform design by introducing an arched logo over the number. If there was a most unlikely option for an alternate, this would the top candidate. There’s almost zero sentimental value with these jerseys and they aren’t too different from the originals. That being said, a modernized version would be very unique as no other team has arched letters or a number on the front of the jersey.
1976-78 Full Crest Jersey
John Ferguson’s time as general manager isn’t seen as a highlight of Rangers history.Part of that was because of his decision to abolish the classic diagonal “RANGERS” logo and replace it with the shield. While it isn’t the worst looking jersey by any means, the very idea of the Rangers not having the classic home and away jerseys is a sin for the fanbase.
Adidas tends to lean towards recreated jerseys rather than original designs. The hockey community is usually far more welcoming of redesigns when it’s one that they’re already familiar with. These full-crest jerseys have yet to be represented or recreated by the Rangers. Current team president, John Davidson, was even on the team when they first debuted these sweaters. They may have been a poor decision at the time, but as an alternate, they’d be a fresh and welcomed sight for a historic franchise. Paired with the blue pants, these have the potential to be a sleek third jersey that pay homage to the era of Rod Gilbert and Phil Esposito.
1996-07 White/Navy Lady Liberty Jerseys
The Hurricanes shook up the jersey market when they unveiled their revamped away jerseys. They took a note from the Rangers’ book and brought in their own version of the diagonal lettering, similar to the old Tampa Bay Lightning’s ‘Bolts’ jersey or the Ottawa Senators’ ‘Sens’ jersey. Perhaps the Rangers consider bringing back the White Lady Liberty alternates that were worn for just one season.
If the Rangers were the bring back the Lady Liberty logo, it’ll likely be in the form of the navy alternates they wore between 1996 and 2007. As far as retro jerseys go, the navy Lady Liberty is by far the most popular. Adidas has recently tweaked some old school jerseys into current alternates, such as the Ducks, Flames and now the Arizona Coyotes. The resurgence of retro sports looks would suggest a return to the Lady Liberty logo is due, but it’d have to be tweaked a good bit. Both the white and navy Lady Liberty jerseys were near identical to the Hartford Wolf Pack jersey at the time. Perhaps they do the same thing and use the current style of the Wolf Pack’s jersey but place the Lady Liberty crest on it.
2010-17 Heritage Jersey
The heritage jerseys were unveiled for the Rangers’ 85th anniversary, paying homage to the 1978 -87 jerseys that had the “New York” diagonal crest. The navy blue and cream accents made these a popular jersey during the Rangers’ prime Stanley Cup contender days. It seems more likely that Adidas will want to go for a more retro look for the Rangers, but the heritage jerseys would still be a very welcomed sight.
If retro is the look the Adidas team will take, then perhaps they choose to go with the Rangers’ first Winter Classic jerseys. They embody the old style full crest jerseys and the cream color is a perfect accent on the navy and bright red. However, if the Rangers were to adopt white alternates, they’d be the only team in the league to do so. It seems Adidas would prefer to keep things simple and keep the alternates as home jerseys. Perhaps they’d take a note from the Capitals and make their away Winter Classic jerseys into a home alternate.
Perhaps the Rangers decide to introduce an entirely new jersey, one that doesn’t have anything to do with their past sweaters. It’d be a different take on the usual tradition rhetoric that’s dominated by the Original Six. If they Rangers choose to go this route, they’d be the only Original Six team that’d have an original jersey concept for their alternate.
Unless they were to create an entirely new crest, the Rangers really only have one last option for their alternate. Their current center ice logo would look fantastic on a navy/cream colored jersey. It has everything they could want in a logo. The name, the founding year, the crest. It’s a beautiful and original crest that could give the Rangers a fresh look as they enter into a new era. They could take a note from the Columbus Blue Jackets’ third jersey and design it somewhat similarly.
All in all, the Rangers have plenty of options for a third jersey. They can go to their early roots of the franchise or bring in an entirely new concept. Whatever they choose will join a rich and iconic jersey history as part of one of the most storied franchises in hockey.