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Note: This article is the opinion solely of its writer and does not reflect the opinion of the entire DAB staff and admins.
As we all know, Patrik Elias is going to be the fifth New Jersey Devil to have his number retired, which will occur on February 24 against the New York Islanders. There’s no question this is an extremely well-deserved honor, considering how Elias is widely considered the greatest forward in the franchise’s history. However, today we’re going to discuss another player who may or may not be just as deserving of that same honor- Sergei Brylin.
The current Binghamton Devils assistant coach is easily one of the better players during the Devils “golden years”, and is certainly worthy of at least having a discussing on raising his No. 18 to the Prudential Center rafters. I don’t believe his stats fairly describe the type of player Brylin was. He had some great puck movement, was always a team player; let’s not forget a career Devil and three-time Stanley Cup champion. He was always clutch in the playoffs, like during the 1995 run when this happened in the Stanley Cup Finals.
This is a very tough decision to make because Brylin is an old fan favorite much like Elias, but he doesn’t have the stats that a player like Elias accumulated. That’s the central argument for people who are against retiring Brylin’s No. 18. People who are in support of number 18 counter by admiring his dutifulness, respect, and loyalty to the organization throughout his 13-season career.
Stats aren’t necessarily the only qualification for getting your number retired, especially by the Devils. If that were the case, then Ken Daneyko’s No. 3 wouldn’t be hanging in the rafters, who had less than 200 points in nearly 1300 career games. Yet, he was a career Devil for 21 seasons and that is something that cannot be overlooked; much like Brylin. Consider this- Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Martin Brodeur had remarkable careers with New Jersey, but don’t have something that Daneyko, Elias, and Brylin do.
Daneyko and (soon to be) Elias are the only Devils with retired numbers who spent their entire careers in New Jersey, a milestone that Brylin also shares. Therefore, I strongly believe Sergei Brylin deserves to have his No. 18 get raised to the rafters at some point in the future.
If you feel there are any Devils players who should be discussed for a jersey retirement ceremony, please leave his name in the comments and I will do an article write up about that player in the near future.