A second round of the NHL’s “Reverse Retro” initiative is upon us, as all 32 teams have officially released a new alternate jersey that aims to put a twist on a throwback jersey.
As a passionate jersey enthusiast, I had no choice but to sort them all into different categories ranging from “Elite” to “So bad it’s good?” And, as always, taste is subjective when it comes to this stuff, but I am always correct so these rankings are final.
Anaheim Ducks: This is about as much as you could have expected from the Ducks. Typically, anything that brings back the Mighty Duck is a good thing. This jersey is good enough to warrant consideration as a full-time road uniform down the line, and something tells me the Ducks may pair this (or something like it) with their current orange alternate (or something like it) as part of a rebranding effort.
Florida Panthers: I absolutely love the base jersey and the color scheme, enough to the point that I don’t even really care that the logo is kind of lame. This is such an awesome jersey for South Florida.
Los Angeles Kings: The Kings had arguably the best Reverse Retro of the first bunch, so it was always going to be a tough bar to reach. That being said, it’s pretty hard to miss when you’ve got an awesome color scheme and a few great logos to draw from. These kinda rock too.
Montreal Canadiens: My only complaint about these jerseys is that I’m a Bruins fan, and I can’t ever be caught buying or wearing one. The Canadiens have an awesome logo, and the Expos have (had?) an incredible color scheme. Mix the two and you have a perfect jersey.
Pittsburgh Penguins: I love the Robo Penguin logo. Seeing it on a simpler, gradient-less jersey is slightly jarring, but it looks pretty incredible. This is easily one of the best of the bunch this season.
Vancouver Canucks: Johnny Canuck is an awesome logo that gets very little play, for some reason. I love that Vancouver brought it back here, and it did so on an incredible-looking jersey. This whole thing rocks. It makes me sad that jersey ads will make numbers on the front of jerseys obsolete, so enjoy this one while you can.
So close to being elite
Minnesota Wild: Given the success and popularity of their first Reverse Retro, it’s no surprise that the Wild are going back to a similar well. I don’t think the logo pops quite as much on the green base jersey, but it’s still very close to great.
New York Islanders: This one drives me crazy. We all wanted the Fisherman, and they finally relented and gave it to us — but this is another case of ignoring the “Reverse” in Reverse Retro. This is basically just the original Fisherman but with no teal. They either should have replaced the navy with the current brighter blue or, more ideally, swapped the teal and navy from the original jersey. For the second straight time, it feels like the Islanders’ Reverse Retro is half-baked in navy and orange.
Arizona Coyotes: I love how unafraid the Coyotes are when it comes to reworking their desert scene jerseys. A couple years ago, they did well with it for their first Reverse Retro installment. Now they’ve decided to double down. Once again, it works and now they get credit for being the first team to do a Reverse Retro for a Reverse Retro. I won’t lie — I was sort of hoping they would do a version inspired by their new roommates at Arizona State.
Boston Bruins: I never ever thought I’d see the day where the Bruins bring back the Pooh Bear but, boy, am I ever happy to be wrong.
Buffalo Sabres: Not one but TWO new Goathead jerseys in the year 2022?! How blessed are we? I don’t think the royal and gold looks nearly as good or menacing on this design, but it’s still pretty.
Carolina Hurricanes: I simply can’t believe they passed up the opportunity to dig up the Whalers’ grave. Is this personal growth? Even though it blatantly disregards the “Retro” in Reverse Retro, this remix of their current road primary is sharp looking.
Colorado Avalanche: Great colors. Great logo. Great jersey. I will say there’s a piece of me that’s a little disappointed they didn’t make a jersey with the giant Yeti foot on the front.
New York Rangers: I’m a fan of Lady Liberty, and I’m a fan of the Rangers’ primary color scheme. What’s not to like?
St. Louis Blues: It’s harder to get weirder than what the Blues did with their first Reverse Retro. The only way they could have possibly topped that was with the instrumental concept, but I do appreciate their boldness once again. There’s a definite possibility that the full uniform will be semi-offensive to the eyes. However, the jersey itself is pretty nice on its own.
Calgary Flames: I’m not the biggest fan of the “pedestal” jerseys that they’re revisiting here, but I do think it looks better in black than the original.
Edmonton Oilers: I never really understood the fascination with the Oil Drop jersey. It’s not good enough to be a classic, not bad enough to be ironic. Anyway, these are just fine.
New Jersey Devils: OK, fine … whatever. But, seriously, how hard is it to just make a black version of the Devils’ regular jerseys?
San Jose Sharks: I give the Sharks credit for understanding the assignment and seamlessly meshing two different eras of Bay Area hockey, but I also don’t think the Golden Seals uniforms are anything special. So it’s hard for me to love these.
Vegas Golden Knights: It’s hard to care about this, even if it looks pretty nice. I’m not a fan of the number font, but, otherwise, they’re just fine. They absolutely have to wear the gold buckets with these to really make them pop.
Washington Capitals: A lot of people love the screaming eagle logo. I am not one of them, especially on a black base jersey. I hope those other people are happy, though.
Winnipeg Jets: It’s not bad looking, but it’s just really hard to not see it for what it is — a significantly worse version of the original that popped way more with a touch of red.
Fine but also boring
Columbus Blue Jackets: Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the Blue Jackets’ primary jerseys, so it’s hard for me to get excited about them inspiring the remix. Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t really embrace the “Retro” factor. Plus, it bothers me that the shade of blue on the logo doesn’t match the shade of blue on the sleeves. Blah.
Dallas Stars: It’s a bit cowardly to not go with a remix of the Mooterus, and this isn’t exactly the most exciting template to work with. But, hey, at least they didn’t remix the neon green jersey and burn your retinas straight out of your eyeballs.
Nashville Predators: It feels like they kind of mailed this one in and ignored the “Reverse” part of Reverse Retro. Going with a navy jersey would have generated more excitement and showcased a better understanding of the assignment.
Philadelphia Flyers: This is a nice looking jersey that probably isn’t going to elicit much excitement from anyone. The Cooperalls, though? Sign me up for that.
Toronto Maple Leafs: They slapped a white shoulder yoke on their primary jersey and called it a day. I would say “they tried,” but it doesn’t even look like they did that.
Chicago Blackhawks: Listen, if I wanted an ugly Christmas sweater, I’d call up my grandmother. She’s dead, but I think she could still design a better sweater than this.
Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings have no interest in messing with their jerseys (for good reason), and they absolutely do not want to be at this party. This is slightly more interesting than the extremely inoffensive first attempt, but a Red Wings jersey that doesn’t include the best logo in hockey is a misstep.
Ottawa Senators: The Senators basically used the first installment of Reverse Retros to create an alternate jersey for their fresh rebrand back to the 2D logo. While it wasn’t incredibly exciting, it made for a beautiful jersey. This kind of follows a similar fold but with a worse base jersey. They should have gone with this.
Seattle Kraken: Putting aside the fact that it’s hilarious a second-year franchise has a Reverse Retro, this jersey is simply not good.
So bad it’s good?
Tampa Bay Lightning: Credit to them for understanding the prompt and not being afraid to get absolutely psychotic here, but every man must have his limits. Tribal tattoos on a hockey jersey? Not OK. This jersey is a form of pre-crime.