NHL Jerseys: Putting Every Current Uniform on the Chopping Block
The beginning of the new NHL season is only days away, and on Saturday we will finally see our favorite players trade in their KHL jerseys, practice get-ups and street clothes for the uniforms they were born to wear.
As the teams take to the ice, the look for some squads might be prettier than it is for others.
A team's uniform is its identity. It can be an homage to a classic look and storied teams, a cutting-edge and untested color scheme, or a look that the franchise has stuck with for decades. Some teams simply have great looks.
Other teams could use a little adjustment. In this slideshow, we'll look at each jersey in use for the 2013 season and determine whether it is good-to-go—or needs to go. And if it needs to go, we'll consider some alternatives.
Note: Images, unless otherwise noted, taken from shop.nhl.com.
Anaheim Ducks: Home
Shedding the "Mighty" from their name, the Anaheim Ducks have left their cartoonish roots in favor of a more serious look, or at least as serious a look as you can get with a "D" shaped like a webbed foot.
Anaheim's color scheme is intense, and while the uniform doesn't jump off the ice at you, it definitely works.
Anaheim Ducks: Away
Anaheim's away jersey is just the white version of the home sweater, like most teams, but there is so much open, white space on this one.
It comes off as too boring.
Anaheim Ducks: Away Replacement
Here's a better alternative for Anaheim's road jersey. An homage to the team's origins, and this jersey seems much more exciting.
Anaheim Ducks: Alternate
The Ducks add some orange in their alternates, which was also utilized in the proposed replacement on the previous slide. The more Anaheim incorporates this hue into their uniform, the more the new style seems to catch on.
The webbed "D" still looks silly to me, but I have trouble not liking these unis.
Boston Bruins: Home
It's the Bruins, an Original Six NHL team. Who am I to say this uniform is anything less than phenomenal?
Boston Bruins: Away
I have found that almost all of the Original Six teams actually look cooler in their road whites than in their home darks, a rare feature among most other teams.
Maybe it's a bias, but the old-timers can certainly rock threads like these.
Boston Bruins: Alternate
This jersey can't hold a candle to the classic Spoked B, but if Boston insists on having a third jersey, I suppose it's as good as any. At least they aren't redundantly doing another jersey with the same logo.
Buffalo Sabres: Home
The shade of blue is just bright enough to stand out and just dark enough to make the team look like tough guys, unlike their recently retired third jerseys.
Buffalo Sabres: Away
The Sabres' logo and color scheme is more impressive on the road jerseys, in my opinion. This look should definitely be a keeper.
Calgary Flames: Home
Calgary has rocked these home uniforms since 2003, and while they're certainly cool-looking, it has always bothered me that the flaming "C" in this design is black in color.
That's not a color you associate with Flames. There's room for improvement here, like moving the current third jersey up to the home spot. But overall, it's a keeper.
Calgary Flames: Away
Calgary's away uniform has little room for improvement. Minor tweaks to the stripes would be fine, but the logo is so bold and in-your-face. It matches the energy of the Saddledome during playoffs (for those of us who remember back when that used to take place, of course).
Calgary Flames: Alternate
Calgary's third jersey is another great one, with a white-hot "C" in the center of the uniform. The only adjustment here would be to make it the permanent home sweater.
Carolina Hurricanes: Home
Carolina has been committed to being big, bold and red ever since they moved into town from Hartford, and there is little about this uniform that needs to be adjusted.
The hurricane warning flags along the bottom are a very cool touch.
Carolina Hurricanes: Away
If the home design works so well, there's no reason to toy with the away whites.
Carolina Hurricanes: Alternate
Not everyone is a huge fan of Carolina's alternates, though I am. The hurricane flag on a hockey stick is a cool touch.
But the team should use the third jersey to pay homage to the team's roots.
Carolina Hurricanes: Alternate Replacement
The green jerseys here would be the coolest thirds in the league. A taste of the Hartford Whalers but with the Hurricanes' twist!
Admit it, we all miss those Whalers jerseys out on the ice.
Chicago Blackhawks: Home
The Blackhawks have one of hockey's most legendary and awesome uniforms, so there's no way this one will be changing anytime soon.
Chicago Blackhawks: Away
Chicago is the only Original Six team whose home darks I like more than the road whites. Still, this uniform has iconic status and is very sharp in its own right.
The Blackhawks will not be running with a third jersey this year, but it will be interesting to see whether or not they go back to the black version of this duo when the time is right.
Colorado Avalanche: Home
These jerseys closely reflect the ones that Joe Sakic would wear in front of the Pepsi Center crowd. Nowadays, it'll be Gabriel Landeskog leading the charge, but if your mission is to recapture the glory of a decade ago, you might as well look the part.
Colorado Avalanche: Away
These sweaters don't carry the same weight as the darks, as they just seem a little bland. Still, they match the scheme, and you take the bad with the good when it comes to your homes and aways (usually).
Colorado Avalanche: Alternate
Diagonal letters work for some franchises, but those tend to be classic, old-time clubs. Colorado moved from Quebec relatively recently and immediately made themselves heard.
In the NHL, Colorado is one of the faces of "new money," and they should be edgy and in-your-face as a result.
Colorado Avalanche: Alternate Replacement
It's bold. It's in-your-face. It's unexpected.
And it probably wouldn't last very long in the rotation.
Still, at least it isn't diagonal letters.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Home
The Blue Jackets have a confusing name and backstory, but it all comes back to Ohio's role in the Civil War.
The third jerseys celebrate the name with a Civil War-era cannon on the center patch. I believe the home jersey needs the same.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Home Replacement
In this concept, the current third jersey is decked with an extra color: gold. The look is sharper and bolder than the current alternate, and delivers a strong Civil War message about the team's roots.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Away
Naturally, if the home jersey is being replaced, then the road threads get the boot too.
There was no concept design available, but the replacement would simply be the white version of the sweater on the previous slide.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Alternate
If the Jackets were to adopt the proposed uniform scheme, then I could take or leave this one. As it is right now, it's a great third jersey.
So good that it served as the model for what should be the full-time sweaters.
Dallas Stars: Home
The worst jersey in hockey. It has to go.
Dallas Stars: Away
No wait, this is the worst jersey in hockey.
There is no option other than to replace both of them, which Dallas will be doing before the 2013-14 season.
Dallas Stars: Replacement Jersey
Dallas should commit to a strong presence of the color green and incorporate the star into the team name. This is just one of many designs that would be a perfect starting point for the organization.
Detroit Red Wings: Home
The Red Wings won't even consider introducing a third jersey unless it's for the Winter Classic. They're sure as hell not going to be changing this baby.
Detroit Red Wings: Away
You're looking at one of hockey's best.
Both Datsyuk and the jersey, actually.
Edmonton Oilers: Home
The Oilers shed their third jerseys for the 2013 season and rightfully so.
There's no good reason not to don these beauties 41 times per year.
Edmonton Oilers: Away
The Oilers got away from this design briefly beginning in the late '90s, but the team is now fully embracing the glory days of Gretzky.
A new era of offensive superstardom is dawning in Edmonton nowadays.
Florida Panthers: Home
Like the Oilers, the Panthers rid themselves of their dark blue alternates for the 2013 season.
Florida will be embracing its bold beauty with these red home jerseys all season.
Florida Panthers: Away
I've long been a fan of how the Panthers translated their color scheme to the white jerseys. This one's a keeper, too.
Los Angeles Kings: Home
LA looks downright badass in these uniforms. Black and white isn't easy to pull off in sports, but it works for the Kings.
Los Angeles Kings: Away
The Kings look equally sharp on the road, donning this intimidating uniform. And I would never argue with results, as it won them the Stanley Cup.
Los Angeles Kings: Alternate
Given that the Kings are royalty, in more ways than one right now, it is important for them to incorporate royal purple into at least one of their uniforms.
The crown and the purple shoulders and sleeves make this a uniform fit for a King.
Minnesota Wild: Home
I've always been a big fan of this sweater, no matter how loud and obnoxious it is. I get the feeling the Wild will move away from it soon, but I hope they keep it in rotation forever.
Minnesota Wild: Away
Minny really does have an excellent logo, and this uniform showcases it better than the home or the third jersey.
No changes necessary here.
Minnesota Wild: Alternate
Rounding out Minnesota's rotation is the green in the team's red, white and green color scheme.
Simple cursive handwriting, and a little North Star to dot the "I."
Montreal Canadiens: Home
24 Stanley Cups mean that I'm not allowed to say anything but nice things about this uniform.
But why would I want to say anything mean?
Montreal Canadiens: Away
You know the rules by now.
Original Six team. White jersey. Looks flawless.
Nashville Predators: Home
We go from the beauty of the Habs to...this.
Points for being bold, Nashville, but mustard yellow is never a good look.
Nashville Predators: Away
What's worse than a mustard yellow jersey?
One that looks like it has actual mustard stains all over it. This team needs a total reworking of its look.
Nashville Predators: Replacement Jerseys
This design lets the Predators keep yellow fairly prominently featured in the color scheme while seeming to acknowledge that too much yellow just looks vile.
The team has experimented with a number of designs in its short history, so don't be surprised if they try something like this soon.
New Jersey Devils: Home
Like the Red Wings, the New Jersey Devils rarely tamper with their uniforms.
Why bother? These sweaters are pure gold.
New Jersey Devils: Away
The only thing I hate about this jersey is how stupid it made me feel the day I realized, after 15 years of living in New Jersey, that the logo is an "NJ."
I just never saw it!
New York Islanders: Home
After drifting away from this design for more than a decade, the Isles have gone back to their original look, and it completely suits them.
Hopefully they won't change a thing when they move the team to Brooklyn.
New York Islanders: Away
Much like the home jerseys, the Isles should be happy to be back in these babies.
Experiments with wavy stripes and dark colors and fisherman logos weren't flattering for the boys on the island.
New York Islanders: Alternate
WHAT IS THIS???
This one gives the Stars a run for the title of Worst Jersey. Hopefully, the Islanders will leave this one in Nassau when they relocate to Brooklyn.
New York Islanders: Replacement Alternate
Replace it with anything!
Use this lighthouse logo as a starting point.
New York Rangers: Home
This jersey has been a classic at the Garden for a long, long time.
New York Rangers: Away
Even the most hardcore Devils, Isles, Bruins or Flyers fan in the world would struggle to claim this baby is anything short of a beauty.
New York Rangers: Alternate
This is where the Rangers miss the mark.
The jersey isn't unique enough to separate itself from the regular home and away designs, but it isn't classic enough to fit in.
New York Rangers: Replacement Alternate
Going back to the Lady Liberty jerseys isn't a terrible idea, if the Rangers really want to have a third jersey.
It's a little off the beaten path, and it pays homage to one of the city's icons. Even if the icon is in New Jersey.
Hey, so are the Jets and Giants.
Ottawa Senators: Home
The Senators have a bold-looking color scheme to match the bold, stern look on the face of the soldier on the chestplate.
It's always been a good move that the team went with a loose definition of "Senator," as bureaucracy rarely strikes fear into the hearts of opponents.
Ottawa Senators: Away
The Sens wear this road uniform very well.
It's a crisp look, but the bold red on the arms flash an intimidating element. This is one of the more underrated white jerseys in the game, in my opinion.
Ottawa Senators: Alternate
Most teams can't pull off the truly, truly retro jerseys of the 1910s.
The obnoxious stripes tend to be an eyesore, but much to my surprise, the first time I saw these uniforms in action, I liked them.
Many would probably say chuck 'em, but I'm going to declare them a keeper.
Philadelphia Flyers: Home
After spending the late '90s and early 2000s with black home uniforms, the Flyers finally brought back the orange home sweaters in 2009, after using them as alternates for a season.
The team takes pride in wearing a loud, offensive color like orange—and having the attitude to match.
Philadelphia Flyers: Away
These were initially Philly's 2010 Winter Classic uniform before they came on board permanently the following season.
They match the home sweaters perfectly and conjure up images of the Broad Street Bullies.
Phoenix Coyotes: Home
Phoenix made a good move designing a uniform colored to match the surrounding scorched earth of the desert, but the jersey is a little plain.
It's almost a keeper, but some slight improvements are in order.
Phoenix Coyotes: Away
Likewise, this jersey has a lot going on, but could use an extra spark to really bring it home.
Phoenix Coyotes: Replacement Home and Away
This concept design combines the current jerseys with the team's inaugural threads. They look more exciting than today's, and less...insane than the ones the team wore in 1996.
Phoenix Coyotes: Alternate
As long as that desert dog isn't trying to make a run for Seattle, this jersey's a keeper.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Home
The Steel City is known for its black, gold and white, and the Penguins do not disappoint. They look like an army marching out of the tunnel in these black beauties.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Away
These designs are the jerseys of the Sidney Crosby era, so there is no reason for them to change as long as he is on the team.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Alternate
Pittsburgh's powder blues eventually grew on me, but these dark jerseys, I just don't get.
It's time for Pittsburgh to use its third sweater to round out the city's color theme.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Replacement Alternate
Going with the bold yellow look might actually work for the Penguins. It'll be a more in-your-face color to rival the toughness of the Atlantic Division.
San Jose Sharks: Home
I'm still not sold on the Sharks going with an orange lining instead of silver, but overall this jersey is acceptable.
The city has a rabid fan base who clearly love the color scheme.
San Jose Sharks: Away
The San Jose away uniform gets the same assessment as the home threads did: not the team's greatest look, but not too much of a departure to be a problem.
San Jose Sharks: Alternate
The Sharks look like a completely different team when they don their all-black color scheme.
The team looks more serious and determined, more like a mercenary group than a hockey team. That intimidation factor comes across loud and clear.
St. Louis Blues: Home
St. Louis has an acceptable home jersey.
The blue note on blue background is a little suspect, but they are called the Blues, after all.
St. Louis Blues: Away
The Blues hit the nail on the head with the away uniform.
Pun not intended, this is one of the sharper road sweaters out there.
St. Louis Blues: Alternate
If the road uni is a perfect ten, then this one is a beyond-perfect 11.
The image of the Gateway Arch is the selling point, the circle crest looks crisp on the chest plate, and the stark contrast of dark blue and white makes a very bold statement.
This is one of my favorite sweaters in hockey.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Home
Tampa tried to simplify its design with this uniform, but the result is a little too futuristic-looking.
The logo looks like an icon in an RPG video game.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Away
Like the home uniforms, these road jerseys just don't pack the same punch that the Lightning unis carried in the past.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Alternate
The "Bolts" jersey amused me at first, but it's been around since 2008. It's time to get rid of it.
This isn't the NBA, where shortened monikers go on the front of jerseys constantly. Grow up, Tampa.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Replacement Jerseys
This Lightning design is a little more modern-looking than Tampa's first batch of jerseys, but not as blandly sci-fi as the current uniforms.
They would catch the eye of that growing Lightning fan base very easily.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Home
The final Original Six home jersey. Beauty incarnate.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Away
The white road jersey is Toronto's best, and the entirety of the Air Canada Centre knows it.
That's probably part of the reason they're so willing to travel to watch the team.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Alternate
The Leafs have very simple, very basic designs, so while this jersey isn't much of a departure from the normal home sweater, there isn't reason to ask for more than it already is.
Vancouver Canucks: Home
No team is more willing to experiment than the Vancouver Canucks, and the results can be anything from hideously ugly to elegantly beautiful.
Vancouver Canucks: Away
But seeing as these uniforms are just fine, and we don't want another "V" debacle, what say we keep the home and away jerseys and avoid whatever crazy experiments they have waiting in the secret lab beneath Rogers Arena?
Vancouver Canucks: Alternate
Okay, this one is simply too much like the regular home jersey.
Vancouver Canucks: Replacement Alternate
We have to give Johnny Canuck a nod!
Plus, the green background will shake things up a bit. It might be the one color Vancouver hasn't experimented with to death already.
Washington Capitals: Home
The Capitals sure do love Rockin' the Red these days, so it would be offensive to try to take that away.
Besides, this uniform has become Alex Ovechkin's staple. Why switch it up?
Washington Capitals: Away
Much like the Ducks way back at the beginning of this slideshow, this Caps' road jersey suffers from too much open space.
The best idea would be to get rid of it and replace it with the uniform on the next slide.
Washington Capitals: Alternate/Replacement Away
This look, from the 2011 Winter Classic, is the much better of the two road sweaters.
The American red, white and blue are more bold as a collective, as are the stars about the logo.
Washington Capitals: Replacement Alternate
The team wears red, it wears white...what's missing?
How does Washington not have a blue uniform? What is this, Canada?
And how has the eagle on the shoulder patch never made it onto the center of a uniform? That winged "W" is sharp-looking.
Winnipeg Jets: Home
Winnipeg had a huge task on their hands when they needed to determine whether or not to move on from the classic, outdated Jets logo.
The franchise settled on this jet overlaying a compass and a maple leaf. Pretty great execution.
Winnipeg Jets: Away
As good as the home uniform looks, the away sweater takes the cake in Winnipeg.
The beautiful emblem stands out strong on the white background.