When Lou Lamoriello left the New Jersey Devils organization, so too did a long-standing team rule: Mike Cammalieri will become the first Devil to wear the number “13.” Lou had a long-standing tradition of not issuing the number to players. Although the number had never been issued to any players even before Lou arrived in New Jersey, the rule is heavily associated with him. However, this switch will not be alone.
In addition to Cammalleri switching from “23” to “13,” Jordin Tootoo will switch from “20” to his traditional “22” and Eric Gelinas will go from “22” to “44.”
For Tootoo, his number is, obviously, a pun on his last name. He previously wore the number with the Predators and Red Wings. Gelinas will become the first player to wear number “44” since Stephane Richer in his time with the Devils. He wore the number with the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the QMJHL.
Although a handful of Devils have worn higher numbers, including Jaromir Jagr with “68,” Alexander Mogilny with “89” and Doug Gilmour with “93,” another long-standing Lamoriello rule was to not issue “irregular” high numbers. The players mentioned were, of course, some exceptions to the rule, but generally, the team did not issue numbers any higher than the “30s.” In fact, according to Eric Marin in an article at the Devils official website, the team has issued every number between “1” and “35” to players since coming to New Jersey in 1982 (with the previous exception of “13”).
Marin also reports that, although Cammalleri will be the first Devil to wear the number “13,” he will actually be the second player in franchise history to sport the number. Robin Burns, who is the cousin of former Devils coach and Stanley Cup champion, Pat Burns, and who played for the team when they were the Kansas City Scouts from 1974 to 1976, wore the number then.
Cammalleri has worn “13” for Los Angeles, Calgary and Montreal. He wore number “93” in his second stint with Calgary and took “23” when coming to the Devils last year.
Cammalleri told Marin that when he came to New Jersey as a free agent last season, having a conversation about what number he wanted was not even a thought. The team assigned him “23” and that was what he wore.
The team will be having a jersey buyback from August 13 to September 13, 2015 at the Devils Den Team Store at the Prudential Center. There are some restrictions, so check the Devils’ website before going up to make the exchange.
With changes to the team coming at such a rapid pace, fans have to wonder whether a trade with the Rangers or Flyers just might be incoming. Then again, maybe some things never change.