(The AHL has undergone big changes in the past year and one third of the league will change locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new campaign, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise.) Big changes came to the New Jersey Devils organization this off-season, but it’s yet to be seen exactly how those changes will alter the future of the Albany Devils, the franchise’s AHL affiliate. With longtime Devils GM Lou Lamoriello out of the Garden State and off to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ front office, the organizational shift has already begun. Longtime scout David Conte is out, former Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes is in behind the bench, veteran
Dainius Zubrus has been bought out and the organization is seemingly getting younger by the day. Does that mean a shift in mentality for the Devils, who finished a pair of points outside of the post-season in 2014-15 campaign? This past season, the club was led by winger
Joe Whitney, who scored 23 goals and 60 points in 67 games. But Whitney won’t be back, having signed a one-year, two-way deal with the New York Islanders. Scoring might be left to young guns such as
Reid Boucher and defenseman
Team History: The franchise itself has been around since 1998, but the club was originally called the Lowell Lock Monsters. Though they started as an affiliate of the New York Islanders, they would switch affiliations several times before pairing with the Devils in 2006. They became the Lowell Devils to kick off the 2006-07 season. For 13 seasons, the Devils’ affiliate had been the Albany River Rats. But when the Devils affiliated with Lowell, the River Rats became the farm club for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes set to move the River Rats to Charlotte — where they became the Checkers — which left Albany without an AHL club.
The Lowell Devils were having difficulties locking up a lease extension at their current building, which led to the Devils’ AHL affiliate taking the spot vacated by the former River Rats. The Albany Devils franchise has never won the Calder Cup and have never advanced to a conference final. Whitney is the club's all-time leader in goals (86) and points (208). Mike Zigomanis is the franchise's all-time assists leader with 121 helpers.
Logo History: The Lowell Lock Monsters’ logo was very much a logo from the 1990s. It had simple font faces, a dark triangular background and the color scheme was a simple black, red and purple. In a way, it looks a bit like a twist on the early San Jose Sharks logo. When the club switched affiliation to the New Jersey Devils, however, the club adopted some of New Jersey’s traits.
The Devil tail logo, which has been a staple of New Jersey’s crest since the team came into the league in 1982, was adopted and altered to take the shape of an ‘L’. One of the best touches of the Lowell Devils’ logo was the addition of a cartoon devil, equipped with a pitchfork/hockey stick combination.
Current Logo: Albany’s logo was ranked last in the AHL because there’s not enough of a departure from New Jersey’s logo. Originality in logos, as one will notice as the countdown continues, played a major part in where the clubs ranked. The logo is clean, but it’s too simple and too exact a match to the mark the NHL’s Devils use. It doesn’t have the classic feel of other clubs that use simplistic logos, rather feeling more like a replication of a logo than giving Albany its own identity. Should Albany have had more influence from the Lowell Devils mark, the logo may have actually fared better in our rankings. The cartoon devil, while dated, would have been enough of a departure from New Jersey’s crest to stand out.
(All logos courtesy of Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net)