What is the worst kept “secret” in the NHL right now?
Definitely the announcement of the Ottawa Senators jersey re-branding, which uses a slightly modified version of the 1997 Senators logo.
Is it time?
Are we ready?
Will it help?
And who really cares, anyway?
Since this incarnation of the Senators joined the league in 1992, the team has had nearly 10 different jersey designs. From the inaugural “2-D gladiator,” to a slightly refined version that removed the team name on the right side of the logo to the more current “3-D Gladiator” logo as well as several color enhancements and heritage “O” versions, there really have been a ton of changes.
In April 2017, the Senators were a hard-working club that marched through the NHL playoffs and wound up one double overtime goal shy of their second modern Stanley Cup appearance. Since then, we all know the trajectory of the franchise and their loss of practically every player from that infamous squad through free agency and or trades. The prospects for a new arena met with failure and legal troubles for the current owner and, as expected, attendance has plummeted.
The past two seasons have not been kind to the Senators or their fans with a combined 54 wins out of 153 games. The current Senators record has more closely resembled the early years of this version of the franchise where they lost considerably more games than they won, but with the promise of a brighter future. The players received back in trades as well as those drafted since 2017 are showing signs that the Senators are a team on the rebound rather than one without hope for the future. Over this same period, the NHL changed jersey manufacturers to Adidas and every team got what amounted to a style update with their own new Adizero jersey along with several teams (excluding the Senators) adopting a new third-jersey as well.
As the new version of the Senators have begun taking form the sense of a jersey re-branding became something the franchise simply had to do. They organized focus groups with season ticket holders and while we have all had more time on our hands the last few months creative fans have dreamt up what the new Sens jerseys could look like. Slowly but surely the rumors took shape and a few weeks ago, a wayward listing on the NHL team shop all but announced the change and at this point it is believed that the team will showcase the new version of their jersey at the NHL Entry Draft in October. The new logo itself takes the Senators’ primary logo from 1997-98 to 2006-07 and changes the outline of the wing from red to gold.
Will the new logo help the Senators win more games next season?
Will it generate more buzz for the franchise?
Will it do anything to help a franchise that has become a basement dweller of the league vs. a team that can contend for a playoff spot each season?
The answer to all of those questions is…..maybe. With a budding power forward like Brady Tkachuk and future team captain and all-star defenseman Thomas Chabot on the fast track to becoming NHL superstars — in addition to blue chip prospects like Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, Erik Brannstrom and Alex Formenton — there is a lot to be excited about heading into next season. Plus, the Senators will be adding several more prospects at this year’s NHL Entry draft owning the 3rd and 5th picks in in addition to another first round pick, 15th overall, from the New York Islanders.
What the new logo will do is continue to build on this Senators team forming a new identity, one that is tied to today while still honoring yesterday and that is all any fans can ask for. ■
Follow Larry Berman on Twitter @PaigesFall.