Thursday, November 11, 2010

1996-97 New Jersey Devils John MacLean Jersey

John MacLean began is road to the NHL with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League in Canadian junior hockey in 1981-82. The right winger progressed from 39 points in his first season to a 47 goal, 98 point total, which led to him being drafted 6th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.

He made his NHL debut on October 5, 1983 before being returned to Oshawa. He later participated in the World Junior Championship for Canada, scoring 7 goals in 7 games, and was subsequently recalled by the Devils later in the season. He played a total of 23 games that year, which included scoring his first ever goal - the only point he would score that season.

Now established with the Devils, MacLean was a hard working player who could be counted on day in and day out, rarely missing a game. His first three seasons saw his point totals climb from 33 to 57 to 67. While his point totals dropped noticeably in 1987-88, MacLean scored the most important goal in Devils history up to that point, when on the final night of the season, April 3, 1988, he scored an overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks which clinched the Devils first playoff spot since their move to New Jersey in 1982.

From there, MacLean's offensive game took another step forward, reaching 40 goals for the first of three consecutive seasons, topping out at 45 in 1990-91. During this time period MacLean would play for Canada during the 1989 World Championships, scoring 9 points in 10 games in his only World Championship appearance.

MacLean was forced to miss the entire 1991-92 season due to a serious knee injury. He returned the following year to score 48 points. After a 37 goal, 70 point season in 1993-94, his best offensive season post-knee injury, MacLean and the Devils would win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history at the conclusion of the strike-shortened 1994-95 season. MacLean played an important part of the Devils playoff push, placing third in team scoring with 18 points in 20 games.

Stevens MacLean 1995
Devils Captain Scott Stevens hoists the Stanley Cup while MacLean celebrates

After two more seasons with the Devils, MacLean was traded to the San Jose Sharks after 26 games of the 1997-98 season, ending 15 year run with the New Jersey club. Apparently life on the west coast was not MacLean's style, as he finished out the season with the Sharks and signed a free agent contract with the New York Rangers, who played just 8 miles from the Devils home arena.

He played two seasons with the Rangers, which included his milestone 1,000th NHL game on this date in 1998, and then was traded to the Dallas Stars in February of 2001. He signed on for a second season in Dallas, which amounted to 20 games before his retirement.

While not the first name you think of when it comes to offensive players, MacLean's longevity and consistency allowed him to put together a career in which he scored 413 goals and 842 points in 1194 games. He also played in two NHL All-Star Games, in 1989 and 1991.

Today's featured jersey is a 1996-97 New Jersey Devils John MacLean jersey. The Devils original jerseys were red with green and white trim, which naturally was associated with the Christmas season.

Things changed in 1992, when the Devils dropped the green from their jerseys, and adopted a more menacing black. By resisting the frequent changes in not only jersey styles, but logos and even team colors since then, the Devils jersey is on it's way to becoming an "untouchable" jersey, not unlike the long-standing styles worn in Montreal, Detroit, Chicago and New York.

New Jersey Devils 96-97 jersey
New Jersey Devils 96-97 jersey

In today's video section, John MacLean scores on the first penalty shot of his career against Dominik Hasek on the day his son was born.

Here, Gary Thorne calls MacLean's goal in overtime against Chicago to send the Devils to the playoffs for the very first time.

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