Ranking all 31 NHL home jerseys, from worst to first
Uniforms: they play a critical role for teams, organizations and fans. Everything matters from the logo to the color scheme when it comes to fans dishing out the big bucks to support their team. And if that team is successful, jersey sales spike and psychologically, it gets fans to love the sweaters — even if some of them aren't much to write home about.
Some uniforms have aged well over time, like the Hartford Whalers' green jerseys that make appearances in Carolina, while others simply do not — hello, Vancouver Canucks bowling team sweaters, we're looking at you.
Sure, not everyone will completely agree with this list below, but it's encouraged that you low-listers take a look at your closet. Look real hard at that raggedy sweater on that creaky wire hanger and think to yourself, "do I even like this jersey?"
Just because you may not like your uniform doesn't mean you need to change team loyalties; maybe suggest a change to your franchise instead.
Since Adidas bought the rights to make NHL uniforms back in 2017, only a few teams have made adjustments. Yes, most teams have alternate jerseys and, of course, every team has an away sweater, but for this list, only the home primaries are taken into consideration. Besides, shouldn't the host be dressed the best?
The rankings are based on a few simple factors including logo, team colors and hidden images with special meanings (who doesn't love an Easter egg!). Other variables included are the team's success, fanbase and history.
That being said, here are the current home jersey rankings for every NHL team, from worst to first:
1 Anaheim Ducks
A quick reminder, this team used to be called the Anaheim Mighty Ducks — but there's nothing "mighty" about these uniforms. While expected to be more modern, these Ducks uniforms have little to geek out over and, let's be honest, the former Mighty Ducks jerseys are preferable to these lackluster messes.
By the way, is the letter supposed to be a duck footprint or is the duck footprint supposed to be the letter? Either way, it's a miss.
2 Ottawa Senators
It's hard to make a human-based mascot intimidating in the world of Predators and Sharks, and this one is a tough one to fall in love with; he looks like he's more disinterested than aggressive. The main objective of a Roman general, who was part of the Senate, was to represent strength and determination while defeating their opponents. This one looks like he just wants to relax at home — granted, he is probably watching hockey and you can't argue with that.
3 Florida Panthers
It's unfortunate when a rebrand goes south, and you can't get much further south than Florida (pun intended). Although it's understood why the Panthers felt a change was needed, they made some poor decisions. Clunky shield logos, like the one on this sweater, have generally not made their way to the NHL and that's not changing anytime soon - which is a good thing. There's entirely too much going on down the sleeves with another panther and the state flag.
As for the panther itself, it went from needing anger management to needing caffeine. And remember the old logo? It's still on the players' helmets. But if you're going to rebrand, you have to let go.
4 Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes' jerseys are not great. They are competing with a number of red and black uniforms across the league and the overall design falls low on this list. The best part of this jersey is the hurricane warning flag bordering the waistline. The large hurricane symbol is not intimidating at all and for that, the look loses points.
Children sometimes pick their favorite team based on how the jersey looks but let's just say, unless you're from North Carolina, it's very unlikely you'll choose the Hurricanes as your team based on these.
5 Los Angeles Kings
Purple is the color of royalty, but the Los Angeles Kings managed to strip their uniforms of all purple in 2011. They featured some success early on with the new look — winning two Stanley Cups after all — but have since struggled to make a splash.
A return to prestigious purple might just be the change the Kings need. You know what they say, "if you look good, you feel good and if you feel good you play good." It may not be grammatically correct but you get the point.
6 New Jersey Devils
The Devils have plenty of reasons to be excited this season, but their uniforms are not one. While they're not terrible, there really isn't much to be excited about other than an acceptable red, white and black color scheme.
Despite the "NJ" forming a disfigured devil - and being the postal abbreviation for New Jersey — there's not much that pops on this jersey. Multiple thick stripes don't work well on the sleeves and the design is pretty basic overall. Clean is good, but this needs just a tad bit more oomph.
7 Calgary Flames
The Flames' jerseys are alright but unfortunately, there are a lot of alright uniforms in the NHL, so they fall to the mid-20s. Calgary's best jersey is the throwback with the just red, yellow and flaming "C" in white — you know, the jersey they won the 1989 Stanley Cup in.
Fun fact: white actually indicates when a flame has reached its hottest point — so, time to rethink the logic, eh?
8 Nashville Predators
Yellow is not much of a primary jersey color; however, if there is a will, there is a way. The Los Angeles Lakers have made yellow a primary color on their uniforms but the Predators are pushing the envelope of acceptance in the hockey arena.
Preds fans seem to have taken to the gaudy mustard ensemble, but the rest of the league ultimately chooses to look away. The sabretooth logo is plenty intimidating; unfortunately, the official color of a sunflower takes away from that intensity.
9 Philadelphia Flyers
Many hockey fans aren't even sure of what a Flyer is - but I digress.
It is a "P" with a wing, we think. It's not exciting or intimidating or interesting. The fact that the team was part of the 1967 Expansion and has only made a few minor adjustments is essentially the only reason this uniform isn't lower. There is not much to be excited about — outside of tradition — but at least the Flyers orange isn't too hard on the eyes . . . unless you're from Pittsburgh.
10 St. Louis Blues
Fittingly, the Blues rallied behind a song to complete their historic run at the franchise's first Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, no one is playing "Gloria" to strike fear into their opponent and, well, your logo is a blue note.
St. Louis' jerseys are about as neat as the logo will allow and while the throwback uniforms are pretty sweet, it's the same situation as the Flames (No. 23): the dark logo just isn't as attention-grabbing as the lighter throwback.
11 Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres are an unsuccessful franchise; if this team experienced more success, their uniforms would rise on this list.
Buffalo made the right decision by reverting back to the circular logo with the bison outline and the blue-gold combination. However, unlike with the black-white-red uniforms, the team hasn't been able to achieve significant success since returning to the old look. I'm not even going to discuss the blue and gold logo preceding this one. As a fan of the animal itself, I would cop one of these uniforms — but I wouldn't pay full price.
Now, having said all that: they are wearing the new "golden jerseys" for 13 home games this season. If those become the norm, they could move up quite a few spots on this list.
12 Arizona Coyotes
Realistic and still aggressive enough for a sports team, the Arizona Coyotes logo is spot on. The sleeves are confusing but the maroon, black and white is pleasing to look at — although the paw print on the shoulder seems a little forced. The "A" formed by the creases in the paw needs to be a little less bold to be a cool easter egg on the jersey.
13 Vancouver Canucks
So a "Canuck" is another word for a Canadian because — if you hadn't heard — that option was taken already and you can't just put a human on the jersey. Vancouver went with the orca, which comes from the local whale-watching sites near Vancouver Island where tourists and residents alike can see these amazing creatures in the wild. However, since the name doesn't match the logo, the Canucks are demoted — but 19 isn't a bad spot on this list.
Side note: the franchise and arena are operated by a group called Canucks Sports and Entertainment — which was previously called Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment — possibly giving another reason behind the orca being used for the logo. Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment began running the team in August 1995 and the Orca logo emerged in 1997.
14 Boston Bruins
Bruins fans have stuck by their uniform for years and fortunately, they get to see different variations during special events such as the Winter Classic. Perhaps, that makes it easier for their fans to see the same black and gold on the ice year after year. Either way, historic teams using their historic looks serve as a staple for the league and fans resonate with them.
You do you, Bruins. Never change.
15 Montreal Canadiens
Like the Bruins, the Canadiens have not deviated from their classic look either. What gives the Canadiens a slight edge over their Atlantic division counterparts is the "H" in the logo. The white "H," which some think stands for "Habs," actually stands for hockey (le club de hockey Canadien). This essentially plugs the Canadiens in as the official hockey team of Canada (sorry everyone else).
16 Dallas Stars
"Be loud. Wear green. Go Stars."
The franchise has embraced their new "victory green" so much to the point it was included in the slogan for the 2018-19 season. When the fans embrace a franchise rebrand the way the Stars' fans have, it's promising for other teams who might be on the fence about rebranding themselves.
The brighter green has caught the eye of NHL fans more so than the old black and white jerseys, which only had a hint of color, and the current logo is much crisper.
Fun fact: of the 11 professional sports teams in Texas (across the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLS, NWSL and MLB), only three do not have a star in their logo —the Houston Rockets, Houston Dash and San Antonio Spurs.
17 Tampa Bay Lightning
Although I was a fan of the former logo with text, I can also appreciate the simple, sleek look of the lightning bolt across the team sweaters now. The Lightning's jersey needs to be sleek as they are a team built on speed and skill; however, there's not much going on with their jerseys which means there's not much to criticize - landing them at the midpoint of this list.
18 Edmonton Oilers
Look, their jerseys aren't bad and in fact, I like the new shade of orange for Edmonton's home sweaters; however, there's still something I can't quite put my finger on in regards to these jersey's - thus landing them in the middle of the deck.
The dark blue really contrasts the bright orange, which is visually pleasing, but part of that traditional Edmonton feel is lost when you shuffle around with the uniform so much. Sure, Wayne Gretzky is not playing anymore — but I hear that Connor McDavid guy is alright.
19 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs once again flipped the design of their leaf. This is Canada's most notorious image and, yes, I understand the previous logo modeled the one on the flag, but something about the contour lines on the current one gives off a better hockey vibe. In addition, it harkens to the beginning days of this Original Six franchise.
The blue and white, and the formating of the jersey itself are classic - well done, Toronto. Now that you have the proper kit, go ahead and get yourself another championship.
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20 New York Islanders
The Islanders jerseys feature one of the best-hidden gems among all of the team logos across the sports universe. If you look closely at the Islanders logo, the tip of the "I" in "Islanders" intersects with the Long Island map approximately at the location of the Islanders' still-kinda used arena — Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Solid usage of orange without falling into the Oilers/Flyers trap because it paid off (as they're higher on this list).
21 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are pretty unique when it comes to making an animated penguin playing hockey work for a professional sports logo. This credit goes partly to originality and partly to team success. Few sports franchises have made their mascot as cartoon-esque as the Penguins and even if they had, even fewer teams stick with the concept (cue the Anaheim Mighty Ducks). However, whether these uniforms would be so widely popular if the team was terrible is a big NO.
Fans like to see success and even if it isn't your team, seeing a franchise as successful as the Penguins draped in animated arctic animal gear — which you, know, Mario wore too — forces you to at least respect the sweater.
22 Washington Capitals
Many sports teams across the US find solace in the nation's colors: red, white and blue. In the capital, it's almost mandatory (sorry Redskins, but no one knows how you haven't been forced to change yet).
The best part of the Capitals' uniform is the easter egg on the shoulder. The negative space created by the "W" eagle outlines the top of the capitol building in Washington, D.C. You can see it if you focus on the section under the center of the eagle itself. This is the perfect way to be patriotic without being slap-you-in-the-face-with-an-American-flag patriotic.
23 Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche jerseys are fairly different from most of the league. Not only is it a unique color scheme but the abstract waistline matches the angles down the sleeves which appeals to the eyes on a consistency level. The "C" for Colorado on the shoulder nods to the pride of those residing in the state and the logo itself is very strong.
The maroon triangle stands for the mountain and the sweeping snow creates the "A" which is made to resemble an avalanche making its way down a mountain. Pure genius.
24 Columbus Blue Jackets
Similar to Texas and Colorado, Ohio is another state with incredible pride. These uniforms pay tribute to the Buckeye State in two ways: the state flag dominating the logo and the cannon on the shoulder which has become a story of its own.
The cannon was initially brought in to pay tribute to the Civil War and has since caught on as a trademark for the team — a loud trademark that goes off after every single goal. Yes, EVERY goal.
25 San Jose Sharks
Another team with a unique primary color: teal. The perfect color for a sea-based mascot and the orange accent serves as a nice, vibrant contrast similar to the neon green of the Seattle Seahawks. Subtle, yet satisfying.
The Sharks are fairly used to making minor alterations to their uniforms from season to season but the overall look remains the same. It's a risky gamble to use a non-traditional color but the reward outweighs the risk.
26 Minnesota Wild
The Wild's jerseys are carried by the genius of the logo alone. Khaki isn't a great accent but because of the nature vibe, it's acceptable. The creek, sun, trees and shooting star form the face of a bear — this is simply brilliant on the designer's part.
Also, the shooting star is widely accepted as a nod to the North Stars who previously played in Minnesota aka the State of Hockey. Way to pay tribute to the past, Minnesota.
27 Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets returned to play in the 2011-12 season and no matter what uniforms they rolled out, they were bound to be better than their original franchise, the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Jets jerseys are actually very slick with the aviation wings on the shoulder and the leaf-plane combo in the center. The baby blue is the perfect amount to contrast the navy and white. Winnipeg's faithful have embraced postseason whiteouts which make their team stand out even more against the pale playing surface in the postseason.
28 Vegas Golden Knights
It wasn't until recently that charcoal became a popular color, which makes sense since the team is still in its infancy. I think you have to like the color if you're going to like these uniforms. The red and gold are tastefully used on the sleeves, paying a unique tribute to Vegas being known as "Sin City."
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but you know it'll be as luxurious as this jersey.
29 Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings' uniforms have always been one of the best in the league and it helps that the team is successful, historically, without deviating from their on-ice look. For Original Six teams, tradition plays a major role in their jerseys — and this one really hasn't changed since 1926.
30 Chicago Blackhawks
Yet another Original Six team lands near the top of the list. This uniform contains more colors than any other in the league but the image remains crisp and clear. It's hard to deny these are beautiful jerseys and it helps that the team's dynasty has only recently begun to fade.
31 New York Rangers
There is no better uniform than the home blues donned by the Rangers — aka the Blueshirts — of New York City. The biggest market means the most attention and this classic look knocks it out of the park — sorry, the Garden.
The Rangers look is clean and classic but offers the perfect blend of flash and style for Ranger fans to love and NHL fans to respect.
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