I’ve noted before that I’m a jersey number geek. Part of that includes a desire to see players get to wear “their” numbers.
Often a player is assigned a number in his first camp with no input. Sometimes high picks get to choose: For Detroit, Moritz Seider got his favored #53, Filip Zadina got #11, and Joe Veleno got #90. On the other hand, Michael Rasmussen was assigned #27, Dennis Cholowski was given #21, and Dylan Larkin never could have had his #19, bouncing from #25 to #71.
Awhile ago I was wondering what it would take to get the most players to “their” numbers and realized that the first domino that needed to fall was Justin Abdelkader. Had he changed to #89 – as I was told he was going to do early in his career – it would have caused a conflict with Sam Gagner upon Gagner’s acquisition. Now that Abdelkader has been bought out, though, it – theoretically – opens up #8 to start a series of dominoes falling.
As I write this, the second day of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is taking forever, so I’m going to follow those dominoes a bit.
With #8 open, Anthony Mantha could claim the number he wore through juniors and with the Grand Rapids Griffins. This would make #39 available for Dylan Larkin, with Larkin having worn it with the USNTDP when #19 wasn’t available.
That leaves #71 for Filip Hronek, who wore that number with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Hronek could also go with the #79 that he wore in the Czech Republic, regardless of changes by Mantha and Larkin, which would leave #17 available. That number goes to Tyler Bertuzzi. who wore it with the Guelph Storm of the OHL.
A second chain reaction starts with Dmytro Timashov taking the #88 he wore in the QMJHL. This leaves #15 available for Rasmussen as he claims the number he wore for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL.
With Rasmussen switched, #27 is available for Dennis Cholowski, who wore it at St. Cloud State and both of his WHL stops. Christoffer Ehn then takes the #21 made available by Cholowski’s switch, as Ehn wore that number with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League, though he seems set to not be with the team much longer anyway. Ehn also wore #26 in Sweden but we’ll save that for Lucas Raymond.
All of this could happen, but it probably won’t. For a jersey number geek, though, it’s fun to look at.