The NHL and Adidas released their Reverse Retro collection of jerseys on Monday. Each of the NHL’s 31 (already playing) teams will have a new alternate jersey for this season.
The Reverse Retro collection was largely a success. There were many positive reviews and only a handful of jerseys that truly missed the mark.
Which jerseys were instant classics? Which jerseys will appear on clearance racks for years to come? Read below to find out.
Here’s Emerald City Hockey’s Reverse Retro jersey rankings:
31 – New York Islanders
Someone with the Islanders must have missed the assignment here. Reverse? Retro? From a distance, you couldn’t tell the difference between these and the Isles’ current home jersey.
Making matters even worse, the Islanders could have brought back the “fisherman” jersey that has become a cult favorite in NHL jersey enthusiast circles. If the Ducks can bring back Wild Wing breaking through the ice, the Islanders could have brought back these beauties:Embed from Getty Images
30 – Detroit Red Wings
It’s Boring. It looks like a practice jersey or a knockoff you’d find on a sketchy website. I understand that the Red Wings have an iconic look that shouldn’t be altered too dramatically but this…what’s the point?
29 – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs decided to use a 1970-inspired concept with grey instead of white. Grey (or any color besides blue or white) just doesn’t look right on a Leafs jersey. Adding to the odd look is the 1967-1970 logo. Once you see the lowercase “n” in Toronto, you can’t unsee it. There’s a reason that logo only lasted three years.
28 – Chicago Blackhawks
With the Blackhawks having played in almost every outdoor game of the past decade, it feels like we’ve seen just about every jersey and logo permutation their history has to offer. While it’s not particularly bad, this jersey would pass for one of a half dozen Winter Classic type jerseys they’ve worn recently. Meh.
27 – Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights were given a difficult task. How do you make a retro jersey for a team that’s only three years old? Vegas opted to make red, better used as an accent color in their color scheme, the primary jersey color. They also used the little hockey history Vegas did have and incorporated the V striping pattern from the IHL’s Las Vegas Thunder, who played during the 1990s. The result is a jersey that clashes with Vegas’ main colors and doesn’t really fit their identity.
26 – Dallas Stars
The Stars earn points for brining back the star-shaped waist and sleeve striping from the 1999 Stanley Cup era. The idea is good but the execution is off. There’s just too much white on the jersey. I was going to rank it higher until I learned that the Stars also plan to wear white pants, socks, gloves, and helmets with the jersey too. Will we even be able to spot them on the ice?
25 – Columbus Blue Jackets
For a team called the Blue Jackets, red as the primary jersey color just doesn’t feel right. Unlike some of the retro NHL logos from the 90’s (Wild Wing, Islanders fisherman etc.) the Jackets’ original logo isn’t obnoxious enough or old enough to enter “so bad it’s good” territory. It’s just bad.
24 – Winnipeg Jets
I admire the Jets’ willingness to try something different. It just doesn’t come together well. The muted grey is too dull to be the primary color, looks odd in the light, and puts a damper on the more interesting aspects of the jersey. I’d like to see the minimalist jet in the blue circle as a future shoulder logo.
23 – Ottawa Senators
With the Senators already moving to 90’s-style jerseys this season, this jersey is more of a standard alternate than a reverse retro. It looks fine. Nothing wrong with it but nothing notable either.
22 – Montreal Canadiens
With a brand and history as sacred as the Canadiens have, they probably did about as well as they could have done without igniting the wrath of traditionalist fans. It’s a crisp, handsome jersey that’s easy on the eyes after the initial double-take when you see that logo on a blue jersey.
21 – New Jersey Devils
We’ve seen the Devils use green before many times but this is their first ever jersey with green as the primary color. No real surprises other than that. Well-executed.
20 – Edmonton Oilers
Similar to the Devils, the Oilers have made a slight tweak to a well-known jersey concept with orange shoulders on a white jersey. It’s a nice addition to their uniform set but I would have liked to see them try something a bit riskier.
19 – Nashville Predators
The silver shoulder striping and original sabertooth logo are a nice throwback to the early 2000s. That said, from a distance, it doesn’t look too different than their current jerseys. Acceptable but not spectacular.
18 – Pittsburgh Penguins
I’m not normally a fan of the diagonal wordmark but Pittsburgh has the history to back it up here. Seeing current legends Crosby and Malkin wear a jersey inspired by past legends Lemieux and Jagr seems fitting.
17 – Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers get points for not bringing back the awful 3-D style logo from the early 2000s. This is a good mix of old and new.
16 – San Jose Sharks
I’m pleased to see the Sharks finally embrace grey again after ditching it for orange (which always looked out of place on a Sharks jersey) 13 years ago. The Sharks paid tribute to their underappreciated 1998-2007 jersey set with their reverse retro jerseys and the result looks great. If there is one flaw, it feels like there just isn’t enough teal.
15 – Buffalo Sabres
Who knew the “Goat Head” shoulder logo would look so good in blue and gold? The primary logo of two sabres feels like it’s missing something. Swap the shoulder logo and the primary logo and it’s perfect.
14 – Washington Capitals
The Reverse Retro series teed up an opportunity for the Caps to bring back the screaming eagle logo and they did not disappoint. It works well with their current red, white, and blue color scheme.
13 – Vancouver Canucks
I must confess my bias here- I owned one of the original Canucks red and blue gradient jerseys when I was 10 years old. Gradient on a jersey blew my mind then and I’m glad to see the Canucks embracing it now.
12 – Calgary Flames
Few jerseys score higher in the “give the fans what they want” category. Blasty, the horse with flames shooting out of his nose, was a fan favorite in Calgary since the days when Jarome Iginla graced video game covers.
As someone who spent hundreds of hours of his childhood playing NHL 2003, I’m glad to see this jersey make a comeback. If you’ve never played it and have a GameCube or PS2 lying around, I highly recommend buying a copy online. It’ll be the best $2 you ever spent.
11 – New York Rangers
The Liberty jersey was the obvious retro choice for the Rangers. No brainer success. I can’t look at this jersey without thinking of what is perhaps the best shootout goal of all time. Enjoy:
10 – St. Louis Blues
Going full red with the 90s style jerseys was a bold decision but it certainly paid off. This new generation of Blues stars will absolutely rock the style worn by Gretzky, Pronger, and MacInnis.
9 – Tampa Bay Lightning
The current Stanley Cup Champions opted for a jersey inspired by the one they wore for their first Cup win in 2004. While those 2001-2007 jerseys were emblematic of the team’s early years, I think these are even better. Blue stands out more than black as the primary jersey color and is exactly the update the almost 20 year old jerseys needed.
8 – Boston Bruins
Finally, the Bruins go with a yellow alternate jersey after using black as the primary color for their last few. The simple spoked B and 70s bear logo make a welcome return and bring the classic look together. The rest of the Original 6 should take note, this is how you do a retro jersey.
7- Los Angeles Kings
As soon as this jersey was unveiled I received a text from a friend who’s a diehard Kings fan. “It’s so beautiful I could cry. I feel like they’ve missed big time with the last few alternate jerseys they’ve put together. This pretty much nails it.” I agree completely. The Forum Blue and Gold is a beautiful color combo and the striping and logo combine classic elements from the 80s and 90s.
6 – Florida Panthers
The Panthers didn’t think too far outside the box for their reverse retro jersey. No big risks, unusual colors, etc. They simply created a gorgeous hockey jersey. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. This should be the Panthers’ regular home jersey.
5 – Anaheim Ducks
Second only to Gritty in the NHL’s “so bad it’s good” department, this jersey features Ducks mascot Wild Wing, fully clad in cartoon goalie gear, leaping through a sheet of jade colored ice. Yes, the Ducks brought back what is widely considered to be the worst jersey the NHL has ever seen, complete with the goofy name and number font. The only problem this crazy jersey design ever had was that it was ahead of its time. In the year 2020 where parody has eclipsed reality on so many fronts, it works.
4 – Minnesota Wild
This Wild-North Stars hybrid is perfectly executed. It’s simple, clean, and shows off the unmistakable North Stars colors Minnesota hockey fans knew for over 20 years. The Wild logo ties the whole look together and looks surprisingly good in green and yellow.
3 – Colorado Avalanche
Another past-present hybrid done extremely well, this jersey flawlessly fuses Quebec Nordiques imagery with the Avalanche color scheme. The biggest mistake one can make with a jersey like this is to take half-measures. Thankfully the Avs fully leaned into it with the fleurs-de-lis and the Nordiques logo front and center. Magnifique!
2 – Carolina Hurricanes
The best of all the former team inspired jerseys belongs to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes haven’t been shy about embracing their Hartford past, wearing a green Whalers heritage jersey occasionally since 2018. This is the stylish alternate jersey the Whalers never had. It uses grey as the main color, which is the only color shared by the Whalers and Hurricanes.
1 – Arizona Coyotes
This jersey embodies what the reverse retro collection is all about. This isn’t just a jersey. It’s a time machine. A desert landscape complete with cacti and a moon as the waist stripe. A lizard shoulder patch. That purple! They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. In the words of Philip J. Fry, “Shut up and take my money!”