On Monday, November 16, 2020, Adidas unveiled their new “reverse retro” jersey for the NHL and whenever you do something like this for the entire league, well, we have to rank them from best to worst. Here are Ray’s thoughts on the 31 new jerseys for the NHL.
31. Vegas Golden Knights
This isn’t fully Vegas’ fault. They’re so new to the league that the idea of anything retro doesn’t really apply to them. I appreciate the jersey tries to pay homage to independent league teams that once called Vegas home with its colors and stripes, but maybe Adidas could’ve thought out of the box a bit for this one and came up with a new logo instead of using the Vegas star that more casual fans will not recognize. Again, this is all a sad, glorified marketing campaign. Maybe try to market this one a little better next time.
Lee’s Pick: Detroit Red Wings
30. Arizona Coyotes
This is nothing short of an abomination. Going back and using the head of the Coyotes’ Kachina logo, slapping it on a purple desert “sky” and putting some cactus below it. It looks like a bad Christmas sweater or Halloween costume. It’s a disgusting attempt and again brings the ire of the rest of hockey who will surely ask “why does Arizona have a hockey team anyway?” That’s how bad this jersey is.
Lee’s Pick: San Jose Sharks
29. Columbus Blue Jackets
I knock Vegas for having a lack of history, but the little history they have is already better than the Blue Jackets, who go back to the worst logo in their history much like the Coyotes. The starry “CB” wasn’t great when the team first wore it, and it did not age well. If you wanted to go really retro, do something with the Civil War references the team constantly makes. A pathetic mailed in effort for a pathetic hockey team.
Lee’s Pick: New York Islanders
28. Carolina Hurricanes
The only reason this wasn’t at the bottom of the list was because of the three abominations above it. The Whalers jersey is an all-time classic. But all this jersey does is serve as a slap in the face to the city that lost this franchise. Instead of insulting a fanbase that no longer exists, maybe create something next time that celebrates the current fans some. Most Carolina hockey fans aren’t even old enough to remember the Whalers, making sure this misses the mark on a bevy of fronts.
Lee’s Pick: Edmonton Oilers
27. Colorado Avalanche
See above mini-rant about insulting cities and former homes, but with a slightly better color scheme and logo.
Lee’s Pick: Dallas Stars
26. Los Angeles Kings
The early 90s Kings logos was one of the best of the era, especially when donned by The Great One. And I understand the royal colors of purple and gold that were what the franchise started with in a way to link them with the Lakers. Combining the two, however, feels like a misfire of epic proportions and the few Kings fans I know refuse to wear this mash-up.
Lee’s Pick: Vegas Golden Knights
25. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks started off as one of the league’s most fun franchises since they were willed into existence by Disney after their trilogy and cartoon of the same name. Although they dropped the Mighty from their name, they still often harken back to those first jerseys. And although the Mighty Duck jumping from a pond on the jersey is itself fun, I feel the color scheme doesn’t work, making me think more of the Sharks than the Ducks.
Lee’s Pick: Vancouver Canucks
24. Vancouver Canucks
If you’re going to go retro, why wouldn’t you go full retro with Vancouver with either the stick or skate logos? The orca isn’t a terrible logo, but the franchise has ones it resonates with better and the blending of green and blue, with a far too large logo in the center, makes this one not terrible, but definitely a head scratcher as to what Adidas was thinking when designing this.
Lee’s Pick: Nashville Predators
23. Detroit Red Wings
Few teams can pull off a home jersey with white as the primary color and the Red Wings aren’t one of them. The classic logo remains untouched, but against a white backdrop it just seems to get lost in the worst way possible.
Lee’s Pick: New Jersey Devils
22. Dallas Stars
We are moving now from poor design choices it feels like to the uninspired more and more now. The lines and points of a star along the jersey are fine, but the primary logo gets lost in the white in the middle similar to the Red Wings.
Lee’s Pick: Winnipeg Jets
21. Edmonton Oilers
Similar to the previous two, I’m not feeling white as the primary color here, but at least the orange and blue stripes and shoulders help to tie the entire thing together back towards the classic logo on the center. Not a bad effort, but still a bit off the mark.
Lee’s Pick: Arizona Coyotes
20. San Jose Sharks
At the very least this looks like a Sharks jersey. The use of the primary colors here more as accents works nicely and the black shark emerging from the sea of white and gray in the center makes this something I’d want to wear, even if it doesn’t feel fully retro.
Lee’s Pick: Los Angeles Kings
19. Ottawa Senators
This is where business starts to pick up. The Senators borrow a lot of elements from their history and hockey in Ottawa’s history to come up with a solid red jersey accented by the black stripes and their classic logo. I don’t hate this.
Lee’s Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets
18. Winnipeg Jets
Again, this harkens back to an original logo in the best way possible. The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that sea of dark gray that surrounds it. This might’ve been a time where white, or maybe the light blue used for “Winnipeg” might’ve served better as the primary.
Lee’s Pick: Ottawa Senators
17. New Jersey Devils
I’m genuinely shocked these Christmas tree jerseys ended up even as high as the middle of the pack but turning green into the primary color of the Devils actually isn’t as nauseating as I anticipated. Maybe low expectations resulted in a higher joy factor from this, but the dark green with red accents works really well, even if it’s still Christmas inspiring.
Lee’s Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning
16. Nashville Predators
This is a team that suffers from a lack of history like several earlier teams, but instead of trying to make something happen, Nashville gets points for sticking close to home. Enlarging and focusing on the logo and tweaking it to look a bit more ferocious works here against a classic gold with white and dark blue accents.
Lee’s Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs
15. Montreal Canadiens
No one has more history probably than Montreal, and that’s part of the reason they are as high on this list. Their logo is classic and keeping it front and center is a wise choice but going to that dark blue as a primary with the inverse color choice I think is a misfire. It reminds me too much of another original six team with the New York Rangers. Montreal hasn’t had that much blue in their jersey since 1919. There’s reasons for that.
Lee’s Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins
14. Toronto Maple Leafs
The blue on blue here might be a bit much, but that old school font on the leaf actually does a lot in my opinion. But they needed to do more that change up the lettering if they wanted to crack the tops of the league. Just like the team that has fallen short every year since 1967, the Leafs jersey remains middle of the pack.
Lee’s Pick: Carolina Hurricanes
13. St. Louis Blues
This was where you took a good jersey and messed with the colors just a bit to produce something better. Inversing the red and blue from the mid-90s jersey makes a ton of sense as it helps the Blues note pop off the jersey and yet blue still remains a primary color. Sometimes less is more.
Lee’s Pick: Anaheim Ducks
12. Florida Panthers
Even though the Panthers don’t have as much history as a lot of NHL teams, this jersey is almost an exact recreation of the early-mid 2000s jersey. Some some tweaks to the white, gold, and red trim go a long way, though, to make this feel modern in terms of style, yet definitely retro with the logo.
Lee’s Pick: Chicago Blackhawks
11. Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay is a jersey that did a great job combining the past with the modern by utilizing an old logo and trim against the current blue jersey. There’s really not much else I can say about this except it’s a very solid all-around jersey.
Lee’s Pick: Minnesota Wild
10. New York Rangers
I admit I have a love-hate relationship with the Liberty jersey for the Rangers as it ushered in a period of underperformance for the team. The logo is still epic, though, and the only reason this jersey isn’t higher is I really don’t like the stripes at the elbows and where the numbers are on the sleeves.
Lee’s Pick: Florida Panthers
9. Boston Bruins
One of the simpler jerseys from this line, it works as the iconic Boston Bruins “B” isn’t lost against that gold background with some smart black trim in all the right places. Sometimes the simplest jerseys remain the best.
Lee’s Pick: Boston Bruins
8. Pittsburgh Penguins
One of the few teams that can pull off white as a primary color is the Penguins. Their fans (when they show up during winning years) is known for creating the White Out in the stands and so it makes perfect sense to represent that on the ice. And although Pittsburgh being spelled out across the front is indeed retro, and I enjoy the black and gold trim, I still would’ve liked the Penguin worked in there somewhere.
Lee’s Pick: Montreal Canadiens
7. Philadelphia Flyers
It’s a classic representation of the orange and black with a nice balancing of the colors that define the Flyers. The logo remains unchanged in the center and that’s the way it should be.
Lee’s Pick: New York Rangers
6. New York Islanders
I hate that the Islanders are this high up on my list, but the boldness of the orange trim goes a long way to highlighting the Islanders logo. The only way they could’ve gone wrong was with the Fisherman, and Adidas wisely avoided that here.
Lee’s Pick: Philadelphia Flyers
5. Buffalo Sabers
Like the Penguins, this is one of the few teams that could pull off white as the primary. Along with a blue and gold trim, and the massive logo of two swords interlocking in the middle makes this one of the better tributes to a mediocre-at-best franchise. Plus, I love that they removed the Buffalo animal and just put it in writing along the bottom.
Lee’s Pick: Calgary Flames
4. Chicago Blackhawks
Another excellent throwback to the far past, the Blackhawks logo on the front harkens back to the logo from the 40s, while against a black backdrop from the 90s and with red limited to the shoulders and trim. A great tribute to the team’s long and storied history.
Lee’s Pick: Washington Capitals
3. Calgary Flames
The horsehead logo gets some love here and it’s well deserved. Put on a black background with orange and yellow accents, this jersey is an excellent representation of the old and the new and stands out as a winner. Unlike the actual Calgary Flames.
Lee’s Pick: Colorado Avalanche
2. Minnesota Wild
The top two jerseys do an amazing job of celebrating the old and the new in one jersey. Combing the old North Stars colors with the current Wild jersey is exactly what you’d want from a retro jersey like this.
Lee’s Pick: St. Louis Blues
1. Washington Capitals
Mixing together the current red jersey with the eagle and lettering from the mid-90s jersey is the perfect combination of celebrating the old and the new. And for the team representing the nation’s capital, nothing is better than having a near-even mix of red, white, and blue.
Lee’s Pick: Buffalo Sabres