With the release of all 31 NHL Reverse Retro jerseys last month, we at Rahl Reviews decided it would be a good idea to go through the list and rank all 31 jerseys. While each jersey has a numerical rank, I also took each jersey and placed them in 1 of 5 tiers. With Tier 1 being the best and Tier 5 being the worst. Now I understand that ranking jerseys is about as objective as ranking movies or bands. There is no right or wrong answer, it all depends on personal taste and preference. A prime example being the jersey that I like the least out of the bunch made the top 5 in my friend’s list. So, it may be a good idea to let you know what I am looking for here. I am a “less is more” kind of guy. I like it when teams keep it simple with their uniforms. The goal for the creation of these jerseys was essentially to put a modern twist on past looks & logos. So, I took that into account as well. There was one factor that I took into higher account than anything else, however, and that was whether or not the jersey is aesthetically pleasing.
As always, contact the Rahl Reviews sports staff on Twitter (@RahlBets) to give us any feedback or suggestions that you may have regarding our rankings! We look forward to hearing your remarks! Enjoy!
TIER 5: This is the “What were they thinking?” tier. These are the jerseys that got botched so badly that they should be on a clearance rack at Goodwill.
TIER 4: Tier 4 contains the jerseys that I consider as disappointments. Most of the teams in Tier 4 had an opportunity to create something special but took the wrong path, and the others, to be frank, I just don’t like.
TIER 3: These jerseys are the ones that are on the right track, but just didn’t come together as well as they should have. The intentions were good, but the execution came up short.
TIER 2: The jerseys in Tier 2 are still top-notch. Each fan base should go out and buy one of these with their favorite player’s name on the back immediately. Each one of these are just one twist or tweak away from being included in Tier 1.
TIER 1: These are the best ones. The crème de la crème. The teams that find themselves in Tier 1 are doing so because they knocked it out of the park. If I were a collector, I would buy each one of these tomorrow.
31. DETROIT RED WINGS
Come on. I mean… just come on. I know I said I’m a “less is more” type of person, but these are just too much. Or should I say too little? I don’t feel like there was any real effort put in here. These look like they were made on an iPhone app for designing uniforms, where they took a blank jersey template, applied the logo, and then called it quits.
30. ANAHEIM DUCKS
I am just not a fan of these. I was not a fan of the duck jumping out of the ice on their alternate jerseys in ‘95-‘96, and I’m not a fan of him jumping out of the water now. I have never really cared for landscapes on jerseys either. A lot of people love these though, and I guess I can understand why. I just prefer it when teams keep it simple.
29. WINNIPEG JETS
I don’t understand the thought process here. Where did the idea to go with grey come from? Winnipeg had plenty of options for these. They could have gone with a brighter blue & red combo. They also could have followed the lead of Carolina & Colorado and paid respect to the franchise’s history by bringing back the Atlanta Thrashers logo. At the very least they could have gone with a brighter blue instead of something so bland.
28. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
In all honesty, the jerseys themselves don’t look too bad. It is the disappointment that surrounds the jerseys that lands them so low on my list. First off, these are hardly any different from their current primary jerseys. The biggest disappointment however is that they kept the current logo. This was a prime opportunity to go with the universally loved “fisherman” jerseys. Had they gone with the “fisherman” look they would be the talk of the league. They still are the talk of the league with these jerseys, but for the wrong reasons.
27. ARIZONA COYOTES
From what I have seen, opinions of these have been mixed. Not only mixed, but they have also had some extreme polarity. It seems like people either love ‘em or hate ‘em, with no feelings in between. I guess I would be in the latter group, though hate is a strong word to use when describing a jersey. I am a fan of the logo, but once again, the landscape at the bottom ruins it for me.
26. VANCOUVER CANUCKS
I feel like Vancouver missed an opportunity here by not going with the “skate” jerseys. I know they had just brought them back for the team’s 50th anniversary, but for good reason. They are universally loved. The Reverse Retro campaign gave them an opportunity to bring them back with a yellow or red primary, though. Or they could have at least changed up the blue & green combo and reverted to the blue & burgundy. Not to mention I am not a big fan of gradient jerseys.
25. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Over the summer I saw an incredible YouTube video that was essentially a virtual tour of Scotiabank Arena. Except it was on Roblox. A Leafs fan had created an entire replica of Scotiabank Arena on Roblox, complete with locker rooms, offices and a media room. It was magnificent. Unfortunately, these jerseys also look like they were created on Roblox.
24. DALLAS STARS
I had a friend tell me that these give off a sense of modernity more so than feeling retro. While they went with an old logo, the team name being highlighted in white against the grey background reminds me of the recently unveiled LA Rams uniforms in the NFL. I just don’t like that look. They do get some points for the star outline at the bottom, however.
23. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
The Lightning were close here, I think. I love the logo. The bottom white stripe feels too thick, however. The same goes for the white across the shoulders. It draws in the eye more than the crest does. When designing a uniform, you typically do not want the accents to be the first thing that people notice. Hence why they are called “accents”.
22. ST. LOUIS BLUES
It may be unfair of me to have the Blues so low on this list when they did exactly what they were supposed to do. They brought back the look that Brett Hull wore in the mid-’90s and then inverted the colors. Which is exactly what the campaign dictated. I just don’t like the predominantly red jersey, and they could have applied more of a modern touch.
21. NEW JERSEY DEVILS
I know that the red & green color combo is part of New Jersey’s history, but making green the primary is just a put-off to me. This looks more like a Christmas sweater than a hockey sweater. Bottom line: I do not like New Jersey’s new jerseys. Pun intended.
20. SAN JOSE SHARKS
As far as grey jerseys go, these aren’t so bad. Keeping it simple with just the teal trim was a nice touch. Going back to the all-black shark gives it the retro feel, which after all was the main point of all this.
19. FLORIDA PANTHERS
I have seen these getting some love online. While there is nothing bad about them, there isn’t really anything to warrant much love either in my opinion. I guess the logo is technically retro even though they wore it as recently as 2016. I just can’t get into these for some reason. Maybe it’s the color combos.
18. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
I understand what the Pens were going for here. The diagonal “Pittsburgh” uniforms that were worn by Lemieux & Jagr will now be worn by another Penguins dynamic duo in Crosby & Malkin. I give them an A+ for the symbolism. But the execution seems a little off. The font looks too small, leaving a lot of empty space. I would have rather seen them bring back the “Robo-pen” look, even though it gets a lot of hate. Unwarranted hate, in my opinion.
17. BUFFALO SABRES
I think Buffalo went a touch too far here. The blue & yellow pops out from the white background. The crossed sabres make for a powerful logo. Having “Buffalo” etched across the bottom of the jersey feels like a little too much, however.
16. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Nashville definitely understood the goal of this campaign. They took the team’s original logo and applied it to their new, bright yellow jerseys. It’s just tough to recognize this as a retro look since the team’s logo has not changed all that much since the franchise was founded in 1998, but still, it is a sleek-looking jersey.
15. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
It feels like the Flyers release new uniforms every 2 years with just minor tweaks. These feel like more of the same, but by keeping it simple they came out with a clean look and wound up with a jersey that is difficult to criticize.
14. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
I really don’t know what to make of these. At first glance I loved them. The stars inside the borders of the “C” & “B” are a nice touch. At the same time, I am not 100% sure that I would realize that the letters “CBJ” are on the jersey if I didn’t already know the team’s name is the Columbus Blue Jackets. I may have to see these on the ice before I decide if I actually like them as much as I think I do.
13. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
When your franchise is only 3 years old you can’t exactly come up with a “retro” look. So instead, Vegas focused on the “reverse” part of the assignment. Making their red accents the primary and their shoulder logo the main crest is basically the textbook definition of reversing your look. They were still able to summon a bit of a retro look with the accents forming a point at the bottom. They did a great job considering the difficulty of the task.
12. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
The Caps executed this assignment very well. Since they already use their look from the mid-’70s to mid-’90s as an alternate, it may have been an obvious decision to bring back the “screaming eagle” that Ovi donned when he came into the league. Now at 35 years old, he will wear it again, this time in their current red & blue color combo, which makes for a more modern appearance.
11. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
I think Chicago did a good job by keeping it simple and not trying to over complicate things. I have always felt that the Blackhawks should keep a black primary jersey as an alternate in their rotation. After reverting to their old logo, they added red stripes with white accents, which makes for a much nicer look than their plain black & white Winter Classic jerseys from 2019.
10. MONTREAL CANADIENS
It may be hypocritical of me for having Montreal so high when all they did was invert their colors, but you can’t argue with the results. Like their primary jerseys, these also feel like an iconic jersey that has been around for decades, even though they have only been out for less than a week.
9. BOSTON BRUINS
These fall into the category of jerseys where the rest of the uniform will have an impact on their look. I am worried that they will go with yellow helmets with these, which would take away from the jersey in my opinion. However, these rankings are based solely on the jersey, and the jersey on its own deserves a spot in the top 10.
8. OTTAWA SENATORS
While the Sens were already going back to this logo for next season, I just could not overlook how well this jersey came together. The red jersey with simple black stripes, along with the logo, make this a great alternate look for a franchise who has been looking for a break ever since the 2017 Eastern Conference Final. This is a start.
7. EDMONTON OILERS
I like these. I like them a lot. A lot of people were disappointed that they did not bring back the “oil drop” jerseys, but these are extremely clean and visually pleasing, so it is hard to criticize the decision.
6. NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers had an easy decision to make, and they made it. Bringing back Lady Liberty was the obvious move, right? From what I have seen and read online; I would say that the majority of hockey fans wanted something like this, myself included. So, the Rangers gave the people what they wanted, which is an important, yet sometimes difficult thing for professional sports franchises to do.
5. MINNESOTA WILD
These are great. The Wild went with the green & yellow color combination in homage to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” former NHL tenant, the Minnesota North Stars. The beloved Wild logo stands out as the vibrant colors radiate from a white background. Well done.
4. CALGARY FLAMES
How can you not be a fan of these? They are simple and powerful at the same time. Bringing back “Blasty” as the primary logo was a great decision in my opinion, as it’s a bit refreshing from the typical flaming “C” we have grown accustomed to. They are both plain and bold, which makes for a very visually pleasing look.
3. CAROLINA HURRICANES
I love seeing the relocated franchise’s bringing back their old logos. It shows love and respect for the franchise’s past by making sure that the logo former players donned on their crest is not forgotten. Once again, I am usually not a fan of grey jerseys, but the logo and vibrant blue & green accents pop so much that it is almost an afterthought.
2. COLORADO AVALANCHE
These are just phenomenal. Bringing back the Nordiques logo is something that hockey fans, myself included, have wanted for a long time. Well after years of waiting, the Avs delivered – and they delivered in a big way. The Nordiques logo and the fleur-de-lis in the Avs colors has a simple, yet elegant feel to it. I cannot wait to see these on the ice.
1. LOS ANGELES KINGS
It was honestly extremely easy for me to crown these jerseys “kings” of the Reverse Retro release. Get it? But seriously. The Kings took the perfect direction here. It was probably an easy decision, too. You cannot help but think of royalty when you see these. I am sure they will be met with much applause, as the Kings purple & yellow throwbacks have always been among hockey fans’ favorite jerseys.