Usually the middle of November means a regular season in full swing for the NHL. The league would be nearly six weeks in, and Nathan MacKinnon would be well on his way to another MVP-caliber run in which he gets robbed of the Hart Trophy. That’s not the case right now.
Due to a world-altering pandemic, this year November falls in the dead of the offseason for the NHL. The 2020 entry draft finally took place a month ago, and the vast majority of the offseason transactions are behind us. Add to that the fact that the league still hasn’t confirmed plans for when the 2020-21 season will begin and it’s been an incredibly quiet November for the NHL.
That is, until Monday morning.
In an attempt to grab headlines—and find a desperately needed revenue stream—the NHL and Adidas released a “Reverse Retro” lineup of jerseys. The collection consists of a new alternate for each of the 31 teams with designs that are meant to build the future from each team’s past.
While reviews were mixed, when the lineup was released it was instantly clear that two designs stood out above the rest. Opinions may vary on some, but the defining take away from the collection is that there were a lot of missed opportunities. With that said, here is the definitive ranking of all 31 designs:
1. Colorado Avalanche
These are without a doubt at the top of the rankings. The jersey recognizes the team’s history during the 25th anniversary season while updating the design with Avalanche burgundy and blue. Any criticism has come almost entirely from Vancouver, where fans seem to be projecting their angst over the loss of the Grizzlies. The time in Quebec is a valuable period of franchise history, and the fact the Joe Sakic is the face of both the Nordiques and the Avs lends validity to that.
2. Los Angeles Kings
These are essentially tied for first. They’re incredible. The Gretzky-era logo with the Forum Blue and gold color palate—what more can you ask for? The Kings are going to be a bad team this year, but at least they’ll look good for a few games.
Amazing—unless you hate fun
3. Arizona Coyotes
The Space Coyote is back, and this time he’s sitting on an incredible purple sky. In a league that is afraid to take risks, these stand out. From the color scheme to the logo, this design will stand out on the ice—in a very good way.
No jersey in any sport has so perfectly defined “come do peyote in the desert.”
4. Anaheim Ducks
Speaking of welcomed returns, the Ducks are giving Wild Wing back to aging Millennials. He brings nostalgia of the Disney era and reminds us all why the Ducks were everyone’s second favorite team in the ’80s. Just keep him away from fire.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
Maybe it’s the call back to Snoop Dog’s Gin and Juice video. Maybe it’s that these make us think of the greatest mullet in hockey history. Whatever it is, they’re outstanding, they’re simple, they’re clean and they stay the hell away from that Robo-Penguin design. A big win for the Pens.
6. St. Louis Blues
If the greatest hockey player of all time put on your jersey, you’re smart to call back to that time. The Blues are another franchise throwing it back to the team’s Gretzky era with these well done jerseys.
7. New Jersey Devils
“They look like a Christmas decoration.”
Yeah, exactly. Why would anyone ever say that as if it were a bad thing? Throw this together with red pants and helmets and you have one hell of a look.
8. Florida Panthers
These are nice. Like, really nice. The leaping panther has always been the team’s best logo, and they added it to a design that puts a twist on a classic.
9. Tampa Bay Lightning
A solid look, but they would have been a lot higher on the list if Tampa hadn’t been a coward and incorporated part of the old storm design. Lightning bolts on the sleeves or rain drops on the front—you don’t have to give us both, but at least give us one.
Nice but not as nice as hockey hispters want you to think
10. Carolina Hurricanes
The green Whalers jerseys Carolina wore last season were a step above, making this version seem to miss the mark. Add to that the fact that while a good look, the love for the old Hartford design has become quite overblown in recent years.
11. Calgary Flames
They brought back the best possible logo, but the design of the jersey leaves a lot to be desired. It looks like they just slapped the flaming horse onto an old Canucks jersey and called it a day. Given how many free agents made the jump from Vancouver to Calgary this offseason, it kind of make sense.
At least you tried
12. Washington Capitals
These had SO much potential. The design is great and the colors are solid, but they picked the wrong logo. Put the old Capitol Hill crest on the front, and you have an elite-level jersey.
13. San Jose Sharks
Honestly, are these even new? If you said they were the exact same jerseys Vincent Damphousse and Mike Ricci wore in the early 2000s, we’d believe you.
14. Vegas Golden Knights
It’s hard to draw inspiration from history when your franchise is only a few years old. Vegas came up with a nice design, but there are a lot of hockey fans who would need a few guesses before they could answer which team it belongs to.
15. Vancouver Canucks
Another good design with the wrong logo choice. Throw any of the other options on the chest of this jersey, and you’d have a winner. Similar to the Calder race, Vancouver came up just a bit short.
16. New York Rangers
While other jerseys chose the wrong logo, the Rangers put a great logo on an incredibly boring design. Any design without striping at the bottom almost always come off as looking like a practice jersey.
17. Buffalo Sabres
With a great logo and a nice color scheme, you’d think this design would be higher on the list. But the Sabres had to go and ruin a solid jersey by inexplicably adding the ugly BUFFALO text in the bottom striping.
New logo, who dis?
18. Columbus Blue Jackets
It’s an OK design, but it really just looks like they put a Blue Jackets logo on the front of an old Washington Capitals jersey.
So incredibly boring
These jerseys are all so bland, we’re falling asleep just looking at them. They’re either old designs with reverse colors or a very slight modification on a previous design. They’re not necessarily bad, they just come across as the kid who had to rush through a homework assignment while on the bus in the morning.
19. Nashville Predators
20. Edmonton Oilers
21. Chicago Blackhawks
22. Montreal Canadiens
23. Philadelphia Flyers
24. Boston Bruins
They look like knockoffs
25. Toronto Maple Leafs
These had potential, but the logo is too big and for some reason they thought grey was a better idea instead of white. The problem is that Toronto has already used its two nice retro designs as alternate jerseys over the last 15 years, leaving it with little else.
26. Dallas Stars
The Stars’ took a great design and then deleted most of the color. There’s just not a whole lot to it. The fact that they plan to wear white gloves and pants just ads to the overall questionable look. Are they trying to compensate for how loud their other alternates are?
27. Ottawa Senators
The Senators are going back to the better logo, but the overall design is just so bland. One black stripe on a sea of red—no thanks.
Just plain ugly
28. Minnesota Wild
It’s obvious what the Wild was trying to do here, but they didn’t pull it off. They’re drawing on the history of another team while putting together a jersey that looks like promo swag for Subway. Do you at least get a free sub when you buy this jersey?
29. Winnipeg Jets
We’re just as confused as you are. Where does this color scheme come from? Why so much grey? These are just...not it.
30. Detroit Red Wings
Boring, ugly and dangerous. There are going to be a lot of people leaving Little Caesars Arena with pizza sauce stains all over. The Red Wings know that looking bad doesn’t help the tank, right?
Come on, man!
31. New York Islanders
I guess Lou Lamoreillo wanted to stick with the grumpy old man shtick and decided not to play along. These are literally just an old design of an Islanders jersey. That’s bad enough, but the fact that they didn’t go all-in on the Fisherman logo is reason enough to be at the bottom of the list.