The venerable hockey jersey obsessives at Icethetics have gone even further, finding a previously unused prototype for an Islanders jersey that predates the RBK Edge designs that the NHL went to in 2007 (and a stick tap to LHH reader @molemanfilms for bringing this to our attention).
Here's a shot of the jersey, which looks familiar to those of the RBK era save a few tweaks that would come later. In a weird and prophetic twist, the piping across the shoulder is gray, which would find its way onto the Islanders jerseys a few years later.
From the write-up:
Minimalism seems to be the name of the game for this design. Two large blocks of color on the sleeves and shoulder piping in grey — which isn't even an Islanders color. It's hard to imagine a design like this was ever actually in the running for the Isles.
That said, the elements present in this jersey were all present in the final design in some capacity — three big blocks of color on the sleeves, albeit divided by thin piping between the lower blocks, as well as the contrasting piping around the shoulders. The biggest difference is the addition of piping around the waist and a tie-up collar.
The post also goes into decoding the tags that come affixed to the prototypes. It does appear that the jersey predates the NHL's mandatory switch-over to Reebok that would lead the Islanders to the patch-oriented design the prototype resembles.
I've never been a fan of those RBK "pajama" jerseys - yes, even with the sartorial minefield of bizarre Islanders jersey choices - and I never felt more detached from the team than I did when they wore them. I'm still not sure I like these, but it is interesting to see that the basic idea for the design was in the garage for a while before it finally hit the streets.