by nick lenahan
Since the adidas reverse retro jerseys debuted this year, there’s been a lot of talk about the old jerseys, so I decided to rank the top 20 nhl jerseys of all time. here in buffalo, we’ve had some of the best and worst jerseys the league has ever seen. the ’80s and ’90s seem to be a common thread of consistency when reviewing each team’s uniforms. I’d go so far as to say that if I asked you to name any team from the ’90s, the jerseys they wore would be at the top of their club’s sweater history. Regardless, here are my top 20 jerseys of all time.
Reading: Best nhl jerseys of all time
20. st. louis blues (1968-1984)
the street. louis blues debuted in these light blue jerseys during the 1967-68 season and made his way to the stanley cup finals in each of the first two years of franchise history. Unfortunately, they did this only to be swept by the Montreal Canadiens in both appearances.
19. washington capitals (1997-2000)
While these jerseys were a refreshing change from the red and white sweaters of 20 years ago, the blue jerseys were worn for the first time in the Capitals’ first non-playoff season in 15 years.
18. atlanta thrashers (2000-2006)
20 years after the llamas moved out of atlanta, the thrashers entered the league in the 1999-2000 expansion, showcasing their minimalist-style bird in maroon, gold and navy blue.
17. new york islanders (1996-1997)
After a very disappointing season for the Islanders during the 1996-97 campaign, their famous fisherman’s jerseys were returned to the vault the following year. From the wavy nameplates to the orange and blue color scheme, these shirts definitely had to be on my list.
16. Montreal Canadians (2016)
These winter classic t-shirts were a great choice not only for their simple changes to the color scheme, but also for the configuration. these mostly white uniforms looked amazing in an outdoor setting. Montreal have never had to fix their classic jersey, but this was a refreshing change of pace for an original team of 6.
15. boston bruins (1995-2006)
These “pooh-bear” jerseys lasted ten years and were a favorite of many Bruins fans in that era of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The bear head was a shoulder patch on their other jerseys for nearly two decades, and came out strong as the team’s alternate primary logo until his retirement.
14. calgary flames (1998-2006)
“blasty” was the main logo for the house of flames for 3 years before being retired, until last season in adidas’ reverse retro revival campaign. mark giordano was the only player to use the original horse head logo as well as the modern version.
13. buffalo sabers (2000-2006)
Accentuating the “goat’s head” style saber jerseys that debuted in the ’90s, this alternate jersey would be his final jersey before featuring the “slug” logo worn by one of his greatest teams in baseball history. franchise the following year.
12. mighty ducks of anaheim (1996)
Based on Wildwing Flashblade, a 1993 Disney animated series, these jerseys are one of the most unique designs ever showcased in NHL history.
11. pittsburgh penguins (1992-2002)
These penguin t-shirts were a staple in an impressive career throughout the ’90s with Hall of Famers like Scotty Bowman, Paul Coffey, Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Mark Recchi, and Bryan Trottier. oh that’s right, and jaromir jagr.
10. florida panthers (1993-2007)
These red florida panthers jerseys are too clean. large shoulder patches and an overall color scheme perfect for accenting the logo. Florida would wear them during their 1996 campaign, where they won the Conference Finals before being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Finals.
9. Phoenix Coyotes (1996-2003)
the coyote “kachina” was a big step in creativity with nhl jerseys, showcasing the colors of the southwest and paying homage to the history of the area. these jerseys always seem to turn heads and are just as popular with fans now as they were in ’96.
8. Vancouver Canucks (1989-1997)
vancouver opted for these mostly black jerseys after years of having very large, ugly orange stripes around the arms and waist in the same configuration. these jerseys would be a monumental change for the team, no matter how small the change may have been.
7. st. louis blues (1995-1998)
while st. louis introduced this touch of red to his uniforms and added wayne gretzky to the lineup the only downside in the 1995-96 season would be wayne reaching the 100 point plateau for the last time 81 of his 102 points that season were with the kings before his move to st. louis
6. minnesota north stars (1978-1988)
The Minnesota North Stars would wear these classic jerseys for 10 years. they never won the stanley cup in minnesota, they would win 6 seasons later when they moved to dallas. Originally, the property was looking to set up its new team in Anaheim, but they failed to realize that Disney had already signed a deal for an expansion in Southern California, resulting in the mighty Anaheim Ducks instead of the stars of the Angels.
5. mighty anaheim ducks (1993-2006)
These mighty anaheim ducks are an absolute classic. the nostalgia associated with these t-shirts and the animated movie/series is enormous. not to mention you have guys like paul kariya and teemu selanne lighting the lamp. After his first 9 seasons, the Ducks had only one playoff series victory in the Western Conference. That tenth year they lost in the Stanley Cup to the Devils but earned another shot in 2006-07 against the Senators and finally lifted Lord Stanley for the first time.
4. calgary flames (1980-1994, 2009-2013, 2016-2017)
the red and orange color scheme on these calgary jerseys is so good they need to bring them back. ok then. these are one of the most memorable jerseys in league history. tell me these t-shirts don’t look too good in this clip of theo fleury.
3. kings of angels (1967-1980, 2010-2014)
These purple and yellow threads completely burst through the ice. Bringing back the original threads that guys like Marcel Dionne made famous, posting 50 goal-scoring seasons in 5 of 12 years in the City of Angels. nothing bad.
2. buffalo sabers (1983-1996)
royal blue and gold can be one of the cleanest looks in the nhl, especially when you have such a talented lineup. Even though the Sabers never won the cup in these jerseys, these jerseys are one of the most coveted in the franchise. fans in buffalo begged for royal blue to be brought back and an updated version of this style debuted in the 2020-21 season. no matter the turmoil at buffalo, it’s a small win to have a team that’s at least aesthetically pleasing.
1. Detroit Red Wings (1984 – Present)
These Red Wings jerseys are the most memorable and historic in league history. Detroit truly takes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to a whole new level. Wearing the same jerseys for nearly 40 years, winning 5 Stanley Cups, 6 Conference Championships and 6 Presidents Trophies, these jerseys are cemented as the greatest jerseys of all time.
all-star honorable mentions
For live updates and breaking news, follow the train wreck sports, crossed swords, 2 goalies 1 mic, happy hour hoops and crowd support podcast on twitter or subscribe to our youtube channel
the sports office can be reached at [email protected]