The Best (and Worst) Reverse Retro Jerseys

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It’s finally here…Reverse Retro release day! Every team in the NHL was asked to put together another reverse retro design with Adidas to be worn this year. After the massive success of the original release back in 2020-21, this was a no-brainer.

The designs are all supposed to mimic or give a nod to an important year in each franchise’s history. Some teams understood the assignment and executed better than others. What better way to break them down than by division.

Central Division Reverse Retros

Whether you call it Middle America or the Midwest doesn’t matter; this division’s jerseys live up to the description of being nothing more than MID.

8: Chicago Blackhawks

How Chicago ever decided this was a good choice is a mystery with no solution. It’s supposed to mimic a sweater that was literally knit by hand and I understand we want to pay homage to tradition and history, but it’s 2022. Anyone with Canva or Photoshop can do better than this. While we’re at it, QUIT PUTTING LOGOS AND SCRIPT SO LOW ON THE JERSEYS.

7: Nashville Predators

The designers here clearly got caught up on Broadway and forgot about the deadline for submittals. They couldn’t decide between text or a logo on the front of the jersey and so they went with both…except the text is far too small for anyone to read. While the logo they chose is certainly better than their “Smashville” jerseys, it is reminiscent of a Power Rangers Dinozord.

6: Colorado Avalanche

Are you from Colorado? Did you move to Colorado? Are you a fan of Colorado’s culture as a state? This is the jersey for you. I wouldn’t say it’s a good hockey jersey, but if we were ranking these on how well they represented the state flag, it would be number one. No doubt in my mind this is the jersey every politician in the state will be wearing when they pretend to like sports in an effort to seem more relatable.

5: Dallas Stars

One of the better Dallas logos makes somewhat of a comeback on this reverse retro jersey. While I would have opted to keep the gold stitching, I can’t fault the team for wanting to mix it up and go with Silver. Nothing great or groundbreaking here, but when you didn’t steal your franchise until 1993, you don’t have a lot of history to fall back on.

4: Minnesota Wild

Speaking of stolen franchises, we’re on to Minnesota. While the tagline of this release is “History Never Repeats” the Wild chose to do just that with what amounts to a green version of the same reverse retro logo that was created two years ago. While I can admire the nod to the North Stars and will continue to fight for the rights to the “N” logo and history that was built in Minny, I really wanted the team to try something different this time around. It’s perfectly fine, but we’ve seen it before and I think it could be significantly better. I just want them to have fun…one time.

Uncanny, really

3: Winnipeg Jets

Some of the best logos of all time hold multiple meanings in one picture. Fed Ex has got the arrow to subtly hint at their ability to move forward and deliver. The Hartford Whalers (greatest logo of all time) had a whale tail, “H”, and “W” all connected seamlessly. This version of the Jets logo utilizes a stick for the “J” in a script logo along with being incorporated into “Winnipeg”. While some are saying that this version is boring and there’s too much white, I think it looks clean. It should go back to being their main jersey.

2: Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes had a unique challenge when it came to releasing jerseys this year. They’re the only team that will be fighting with a College Hockey team for the best jersey release of in their arena. ASU has already proven that they’re able to pack the stands in Mullett arena, which is an elite name. The Coyotes have done their best to match that energy and excitement by putting out an elite jersey variation given what they had to work with. It’s got Kachina elements while screaming desert with the colorway. It’s AWESOME.

1: St. Louis Blues

Controversial, I know, but I like it. Yellow anything is always tough to pull off, and it’s even tougher to do as a jersey. This one sporting the old school music note and traditional blue PLAYS. If you read up on it, this design was originally presented, but never implemented, back in 1966. That’s what makes this the best of the bunch. It’s fun, different, looks good, AND fits the bill of the assignment for all these teams.

Pacific Division Reverse Retros

The Pacific division may have the best of the bunch in this year’s reverse retro release. None of these teams have anything as abhorrent or atrocious as other divisions. Leave it to the west coast to be the most fashionable of the bunch. Absolutely nobody should be surprised.

8: Seattle Kraken

These jerseys aren’t “bad” by any means. With that being said, I’m not entirely sure you deserve a Reverse Retro jersey when you’ve only played one season of hockey under the Kraken name. Part of me wishes that they would have used a throwback to the old Seattle Metropolitans, but that’s got a horrendous bumblebee stripe layout. If they didn’t like that, they could have also used their alternate logo as the centerpiece. It’s an AWESOME combination of the Space Needle and an anchor. Personally, I think this should be their primary logo with the “S” as the shoulder patch. Instead of using ANY of these options, they just released a different color scheme for their same sweaters. Boring.

Still Better Than Chicago & Detroit – Credit: Jared Stebell

7: Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are one of the only teams in the Pacific that has any right to be upset at the release. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they had so many options to go with and chose the metallic oil drop. Some die-hard lunatics actually love this logo. Other fans absolutely despise it. Regardless of your stance, I think most people would agree that the blaze orange is best used in moderation and this has the right amount of it. In my opinion, it’s not their best option.

6: Calgary Flames

The Flames were so close with this release. The white “C” with the extra stitching details on a black jersey is (here comes the pun) FIRE. Why they decided to cut a great Jersey off at the belly button and sew on a completely different and awful design below it will baffle me. Not one person online likes the design at the bottom of this jersey and if you say you do, you’re lying to be different.

5: San Jose Sharks

Some people hate this design, and I don’t get it. The only thing I can gather is that they just don’t know the actual history of the California hockey. The Golden Seals are one of the long-forgotten franchises that should have never left in the first place. With what is probably the most popular color scheme of all time, these are certified classics.

4: Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks

I don’t know if this is a hot take or if I’m with the majority, but I LOVE the Mighty Ducks goalie mask logo. It could be the millennial in me showing. On another hand, it might be the Kariya highlight reel on replay in my mind. Every single design since this was eliminated has been hot garbage. Incorporating the new color scheme with the old logo is the best of both worlds, and (as was the case with Edmonton) this is the right amount of orange.

3: Vegas Golden Knights

Las Vegas has always got to be the most extra team in the league. From their Twitter account to their pre-game shows (and they are one hell of a show), Las Vegas is always trying harder than most. This jersey is no different. Not only are they the only jersey with glitter in the design, but they’ve got glow in the dark details on the script and numbers too. If you’ve ever had a bad trip in to a Vegas nightclub, you may want to sit the games with these sweaters out, because you can bet they’ll be introduced in a rave atmosphere.

2: LA Kings

Wayne Gretzky is the single best thing to ever happen to hockey. With that being said, the fact that his move to LA was the same year as they changed their colors will be one of the only black eyes on his legacy. It’s CRIMINAL that this purple and gold color scheme and logo was set aside. If you don’t know, Bruce McNall changed the colors in ’88 because fans in the area loved the raiders. Now, the Raiders are long gone and he looks like an idiot. Just change it back already.

1: Vancouver Canucks

This is in the running for the best release in recent memory. The current Canucks logo isn’t bad in it’s own right, and I fully understand why they moved on, but this throwback is FFFFIIIIIRRRREEEEE. This is the hockey equivalent of Pat the Patriot. The fans love it and for good reason. It’s something that should REGULARLY be in the rotation. Expect this sweater to be one of the top sellers without a doubt.

Atlantic Division Reverse Retros

There isn’t another division that has more disparity from the top to the bottom. The bad is very clearly the worst of the entire series, while the good could easily be the best of the bunch.

8: Detroit Red Wings

Tough look to have the worst jersey in back-to-back Reverse Retro releases. It’s especially tough when you’re one of the most storied franchises in the history of the sport. Yikes…again.

7: Toronto Maple Leafs

Real original, Toronto. Another Original Six hockey team with no creativity whatsoever. You’re old with a lot of history. Cool, we get it.

6: Montreal Canadiens

Montreal is only 6th by default. They did nothing to deserve to move out of last place in the division, but Detroit and Toronto are so boring that they couldn’t be ranked below either. The Canadiens have decided to go with a “City Edition” jersey by taking on the Expos color scheme. Baby/Powder blue will always play, but this is still a yawn-worthy jersey.

5: Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning twitter account said it better than I ever could. It’s like a pug or a french bulldog, so bad it’s good…kind of. Everything that was wrong with so many jerseys in the 90’s is shown here. I can’t tell if that’s done on purpose satirically or not…but that’s what I’m choosing to believe.

4: Ottawa Senators

Maybe it was something in the water at the Atlantic Division meeting, but most of them opted for the safest option while looking like they still put in some effort. Ottawa just so happened to put in a LITTLE more effort than three other teams. They’re fine. Not bad, but not good…just an alternate Jersey.

3: Boston Bruins

POOH BEAR IS BACK!! Why some people in Boston hate this logo will never make sense. It’s unique. It’s fun. The real ones know that it’s a classic that looks best on a white jersey and that’s why it was brought back.

2: Buffalo Sabres

*Chef’s Kiss* This is in the running for the best Jersey in Buffalo’s history. As a guy from Hermantown (boo all you want, haters) I’ll always be partial to the blue and gold colorway. The “goathead” logo should make a full-time comeback. The team deserves it, the people of buffalo deserve it, and the NHL as a whole deserves it.

1: Florida Panthers

This is likely my personal favorite of the entire drop. The Panthers are not known as a “traditional hockey franchise” and maybe that’s why they weren’t afraid to take a chance on this release. They make their original shoulder patch design the centerpiece here and boy, does it WORK. Everything that Seattle did wrong with their jersey, Florida got 100% right. I’m not a Panthers fan. Never have been, and never will be…but I NEED this jersey. It’s PERFECT. Look at the POP in the sunlight!

Metropolitan Division Reverse Retros

Insert the Dennis Green clip here, because the Metropolitan division Reverse Retro jerseys are EXACTLY what we thought they were. A couple of small surprises, but that’s it. Some fanbases are happy to get exactly what they want, while others are not.

8: Columbus Blue Jackets

As the most irrelevant franchise in all of professional sports, this is exactly what I’d expect from Columbus. This jersey release looks like something you’d get off of AliExpress or DHGate. Close to what your team’s original jersey is, but something is just not quite right. Huge miss from the bluejackets here.

7: Philadelphia Flyers

Big time “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” energy coming out of Philly. Completely unoriginal and minimal effort put into it. I fully understand that this series was supposed to highlight important year(s) for each of the franchises, but change SOMETHING. The biggest news about their release, and a big part of why so much was ignored with the jersey probably), is that the cooperalls are making a comeback! If the “hockey pants” were actually being worn in-game, they’d be a hell of a lot higher up on this list.

Cooperalls are Coming Back

6: Carolina Hurricanes

Bleh. Text is totally fine when you do it right. The detail at the bottom giving a nod to their alternate logo is pretty nice, but the rest of the jersey is lackluster. I’m not even sure I’m using that word right, but the amount of effort it would take to look up is more than what was put into these sweaters. Pass.

5: New Jersey Devils

Let me be clear. I do not like these Jerseys. The color scheme never had anything to do with New Jersey at all. It’s a nod to the KC Scouts and Colorado Rockies and that’s exactly what it looks like. The ONLY people who should buy this jersey are those who moved from New Jersey to Colorado and want to wear around the state flag with your team’s favorite design. You can go hang out with the Avs fans in their reverse retro threads and have yourselves a little (poorly dressed) party. The entire fanbase begged them not to put blue in it, but they did it anyways. Sometimes you have to respect that much hatred for your own fans. Typical jersey.

4: New York Rangers

Lady Liberty makes her return to the front of the Rangers unis. You see how an original six team with great script jerseys can still participate and have fun with a limited-use jersey design? Some franchises should be taking notes.

3: Pittsburgh Penguins

Robo Penguin is elite. Shut your dirty trap before you even consider bad-mouthing this design. I can almost picture Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr skating around on a line w/ Sid just thinking about these sweaters. Another one that should have never gone away and a sign of the best times in Pittsburgh. Make it permanent.

2: Washington Capitals

Talking about flashbacks of players in their prime, the Screaming Eagle is screaming Ovi to me. The dome on the shoulder is awesome and black jerseys are tough to beat…tougher with gold trim. It’s not often that we have good news or positive vibes coming out of Washington DC as a city in general, but mark this down as one of them.

1: New York Islanders

Thank sweet 6lb 8oz baby jesus. The fisherman has risen and been restored as the primary logo! While it’s only on a limited-release jersey, fans have been CLAMORING for it to come back and it was done in the best way possible. If the original release was done like this instead of the teal colorway with waves, it might have had a chance at being their long-time permanent logo. I can’t express how happy I am to see it here.