The NHL revealed its
latest cash grab full lineup of reverse retro jerseys today, and the Islanders’ addition to the collection is just not what people were hoping for. While it’s not among the best, it’s certainly not one of the worst, either. Here are my rankings, from worst to first:
31. Chicago Blackhawks
This jersey isn’t the worst in its design, but the fact that the NHL’s official jersey promo thread went out of its way to not show the logo on the front of the jersey (the only one to do so!) shows that there’s something wrong with the jersey. I’m showing the front because it’s out there, but if your own league is embarrassed to show the logo, it’s probably a good idea to re-think this design.
November 16, 2020
30. Detroit Red Wings
These are easily the worst design-wise of the bunch. The Red Wings logo is so iconic that you can’t really mess with it too much, but the jersey itself is boring and bland. It’s a little surprising, too, since they’ve had some solid Winter Classic jerseys, but they could’ve leaned into their very old history with some more interesting striping and opting for red instead of gray as the accent color.
29. Dallas Stars
Another extremely bland jersey, but at least this one tried to go more retro. I actually really like the original design that this was inspired by, but the decision to go with white and gray as the main colors takes away from everything that made this jersey cool and weird. A real swing and a miss after Dallas unveiled their very cool black and neon green thirds. Maybe they didn’t want to take sales away from that jersey?
28. Washington Capitals
This one is just... bad. I like the eagle logo, but this jersey essentially just copied the old design and pasted it on a new jersey with red and navy as the main colors instead of blue and brown. The Capitals wordmark at the bottom and the very large diagonal stripe were the worst parts of the jersey back then, and should have been remedied here. This would have been way better if the bottom stripes were just straight, giving the logo a little more space. It just looks way too crowded.
27. Winnipeg Jets
I wanted to like this jersey, but it took everything great about the Jets classic logo and current color scheme and made it terrible. The logo itself looks pretty good, but gray as the main color is a terrible choice here. I think Winnipeg has so much to play with too, given that both their current jerseys and former franchise of the same name’s jerseys are so good, but this is just a total miss.
26. St. Louis Blues
The originals of these were terrible, but they’re the kind of fun terrible that people eventually grow to love (see: the Fisherman logo/jersey). This take on it is just too much. They also just recently re-released the original mainly blue version of this jersey, so it feels like overkill. I think I would’ve liked this a lot more if they had played off the away version of the original, rather than adding another red jersey into the NHL.
25. Ottawa Senators
Speaking of adding another red jersey into the NHL, Ottawa went for a basic, none-more-red jersey. Their switch back to this logo is welcome, but the rest of this jersey is unimpressive. And Ottawa has a bunch of weird jerseys from the 90s that would’ve been way better bases for a reverse retro. It just doesn’t have any character at all as it stands now.
24. Vancouver Canucks
The gradient just doesn’t work. I appreciate that they went for it based on a weird design from the early 2000s, updating it to the modern Canucks color scheme, but it just doesn’t work. This also feels a bit like trying too hard. The V jerseys or flying skate jerseys are right there and probably would’ve been more fun to play with. There’s no one design element on this jersey I dislike on its own, but it really just doesn’t work.
23. Pittsburgh Penguins
It’s clean, it fits the “reverse retro” mandate (taking an old home jersey and instead making it an away one) but it’s just not really doing anything for me. The Penguins are another team with a cool jersey history, and this was the most boring option to go with. There’s the classic baby blue jerseys, the “robo penguin” jerseys, and they went with the Pittsburgh wordmark. It’s fine. There are a lot of jersey designs in the Reverse Retro series that really are all just fine, but the Penguins lose points given the options they had at their disposal.
22. Anaheim Ducks
I want to like it, I really do. But it just doesn’t feel like an NHL jersey. I like that they went way outside the box, and I bet these will sell a lot because they’re just so weird. But the printed-on design looks cheap and we all know everyone wanted some version of the eggplant Mighty Ducks jerseys.
21. New York Rangers
This jersey brings back an old logo that a lot of fans like, but it’s boring. The original Lady Liberty jerseys had a bit more red and gray for contrast, whereas this has far too much navy. They played it safe, and ended up with something that looks like Detroit’s jersey with a better color and a retro logo.
20. New York Islanders
This is sort of like the Penguins’ one to me. It’s fine! Really. The biggest crime with the jersey itself is passing it off as a 1980s inspired jersey, rather than the 2000s. It would have honestly been cool to give that era a little love. The Shawn Bates penalty shot is one of the biggest moments Islanders fans have had if they were born after the dynasty, and this looks a lot more like the jersey his team wore than the one Denis Potvin and Mike Bossy sported in the 80s. Obviously this was the perfect opportunity for the Fisherman, and it stinks that they wouldn’t take the chance to bring that back given how many fans have been clamoring for it and the originals’ re-sale value on eBay.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets
They did what was asked of them, which was to take a retro jersey and reverse it. Columbus doesn’t have a very long jersey history, and they only wore that logo for 7 of their 20 years as a franchise. Their current jerseys aren’t great either, and reversing their color scheme makes them look like a knock off of the Caps. But.. it’s pretty good given the constraints they had, and I think the logo looks pretty good on a red background. It’s mostly just forgettable, but stuck to the concept.
18. Tampa Bay Lightning
I really don’t like this logo and I think Tampa’s current jerseys are some of the best in the league. That said, there’s not a lot of other retro options for the Lightning, and I like that it brings in their current blue rather than the old black and white color scheme. I think they could’ve gone for the fun number and nameplate lettering in this jersey’s history, rather than the style they use for their current jerseys. I just never really liked the original jersey, so this loses some ranking points. They basically did what they were asked with a retro jersey with a reversed color scheme, but... it’s just okay.
17. Toronto Maple Leafs
What’s extremely disappointing with this one is that a reverse retro Leafs jerseys should basically be a layup. Regardless of my thoughts on the team itself, they have a great color scheme, an iconic logo, and a nice set of jerseys to go with it. But one of the downsides of having an iconic logo and only two colors as your brand is that you can’t really get creative with reversals. They were better off just recreating the jersey they wore from the 70s through the early 90s, or going way outside the box with a Maple Leafs/St. Pats crossover.
16. Calgary Flames
It’s not much of a reverse retro, but it’s a sleeker take on the original Blasty the horse alternate jersey that Calgary wore in the early 2000s. With Calgary finally going back to their classic jerseys as their main set, having this as an alternate (and hopefully taking away from any time they’d wear their former main/current third jerseys, which are terrible) looks pretty good. It’s different enough that it’ll sell, without being too crazy.
15. Buffalo Sabres
I really like what they did with this jersey! Updating an old design from the 2000s to match the team’s current color scheme is a cool take on this, and gives it some staying power as a potential alternate going forward. But while they were tweaking things, they should have taken the Buffalo wordmark out and made the gray stripe white, and this could’ve been arguably a top 5 jersey. Instead, it’s a little too loyal to its inspiration, and it just doesn’t work as well as it should because of that.
14. Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers jerseys are just solid. This looks like a riff off one of their classics but with orange instead of white as the primary color, and some reversed sleeve patterns. It’s simple, but it works. It’s just a little too similar to what they already have to make it a “must buy.”
13. Nashville Predators
One of the things really going for this jersey is that it’s better than Nashville’s current home yellow jersey. An older iteration of the Predators jersey but with its modern color scheme, and without being tied to a lot of the uglier jersey designs in the franchise’s history. It’s just still not a great design and I like the Preds’ current logo better, plus it loses the guitar string detailing on the current numbers that’s a really nice touch.
12. San Jose Sharks
It’s a nice design for a team that has some of the best jerseys in the sport, but that’s what works against it, too. Teal is just such a fun and memorable color for the Sharks that seeing it relegated to being an accent on a home jersey is always disappointing. While it’s supposed to be a reverse retro, the gray just doesn’t look great, and this one might’ve been better off making black the primary color. It’s different though, and it manages to use gray without being boring, which is definitely a plus.
11. Florida Panthers
It’s hard to explain why I like this jersey, but it just works. It’s a slightly different take on ones they wore through the mid-2000s, and the logo here is much cooler than their new one (though I wish they brought back the one breaking a stick in its paws). It just feels like a hockey jersey, and makes the navy color scheme work more for them than it did when it actually was their primary look.
10. Boston Bruins
A lot of the Original Six gets it wrong, but the Bruins get this right. They’ve worn a mainly yellow jersey a bunch in their history, but this is one of the best versions of that. I really like the old Bruins logo without the black highlights on the spokes behind the B, and this jersey compliments it really well.
9. Edmonton Oilers
This is a really good entry into the reverse retros. The Oilers’ recent return to a more muted orange and blue color scheme is a little disappointing for the Connor McDavid era, and it looks like they took inspiration from the team’s Gretzky heyday, bringing back the brighter color scheme but reversed so that it’s more orange than blue. I like them!
8. New Jersey Devils
They gave the people what they want, but in reverse retro fashion. I actually like the color scheme this way more than the predominantly red with green accents. It looks good, it adds some variety to the Devils’ look, and it’s going to sell fast. Just a solid job done to stick to the reverse retro theme while making something that could stand as an alternate jersey full-time.
7. Vegas Golden Knights
I didn’t expect to like this jersey as much as I do, but given how limited Vegas’ options were, an homage to its ECHL predecessor is a solid choice, and using this alternate logo shows just how good the Golden Knights are at nailing some weird design choices. The gold accent is great, and it’s so different from its current jerseys but feels like it could be retro. Just great design work.
6. Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild created a new entry into their sort-of rivalry with the Dallas Stars over the rights to the look and logos of the Minnesota North Stars. Technically, this is a reverse retro jersey taking inspiration from the old look of a team that now plays in Texas. It has no connection with the Minnesota Wild franchise at all. But then again, the old Winnipeg Jets are in Arizona, and there are a few other entries that will be high up on this list that feature logos that have no connection to its current home other than technically being a well-liked part of the team’s intellectual property. This is just a good jersey. The color scheme is great, Dallas isn’t using it, and it seems to make fans in Minnesota happy. Why not? I honestly like this better than the green, tan, and red color scheme they’ve got now.
5. Carolina Hurricanes
The Whalers never used gray, and the jersey’s striping is a little different, but then again this is reverse retro-ing back to a different city. They’re Whalers jerseys, so they’re gonna look good, but it would’ve been cooler if the Hurricanes had done their own jersey in this color scheme. The Canes are a solid team with some fun players, and their current black third jerseys are really great. I wish the team would see less of a need to dig into its Connecticut past and do more to keep the team embedded in the Carolina community. This is still a top tier reverse retro, and part of the reason they keep going back is because they sell really well, and that’s the goal in all this, anyway.
4. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes desert jersey is one of the weirdest of the 90s, but this purple entry looks really great and fresh compared to the original, which was primarily green. The purple and orange just pop together, and it’s a weird, fun jersey. The cactus design at the bottom is no less busy than it was when the jersey debuted, and I’m not a fan of the printed-on look, but this is easily one of the best reverse retros. The Coyotes organization may be making a bunch of boneheaded decisions with their hockey operations, but their decision to bring back the Kachina jerseys has been great given how lifeless their modern jerseys are.
3. Montreal Canadiens
Yeah, these are just good. The Habs have a classic look and played it safe with this jersey, which is just a literal red and blue reversal of their current home jerseys with a red collar instead of a white one. The basic Canadiens jersey is solid and iconic, and this doesn’t take away from any part of that. I could easily see this becoming a full-time alternate, and it’s better than anything they unveiled for their 100th anniversary celebration about a decade ago.
2. Colorado Avalanche
These are really cool. The Avalanche have never dipped into Nordiques history given how quickly they won in their new market, but the look is classic and the decision to twist it by re-creating it in the current Avs color scheme rather than just making a reverse retro Nordiques jersey was a great choice. It’s a really clean jersey
1. Los Angeles Kings
I’ve wanted the Kings to go back to purple (sorry, forum blue) and yellow for years now, but this jersey combines one of their more iconic jerseys with one of the league’s unique (and market-appropriate) looks. It’s 90s retro with a 60s-80s color scheme, and the Kings really knocked it out of the park with this. They’ve worn tributes to their old “forum blue” jerseys before, but instead of just re-creating a jersey that already existed, they added a twist that creates a new, memorable Kings jersey, and the best of the reverse retros.
So, LHH, what are your thoughts? Which are your favorites? Which do you hate? Any of these must-buys for you?