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NHL: The 50 Best Uniforms in League History

Robert IvaniszynCorrespondent IApril 5, 2011

NHL: The 50 Best Uniforms in League History

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    Glenn Cratty/Getty Images

    This article is part one of a four part series here on Bleacher Report power ranking NHL uniforms. This series will cover past and present, best and worst, standard uniforms and alternates. For updates on when the following parts are published either check Robert’s writer profile or follow his Twitter feed here.

    With the playoffs right around the corner and the playoff races hotter than ever, now seems an appropriate time to take a deep breath, relax, and delve into a little league history.

    There is nothing more iconic about the NHL than the jerseys and uniforms each team wears on the ice. They are the most decorative and creative in all of North American team sports and have been nearly since the league’s inception in 1917 with only four teams.

    As the first of a four part series on Bleacher Report, this article covers the 50 best uniforms in NHL history. Some of them are new designs, some are old favorites teams have since discontinued, and some are classics that are relatively unchanged from seasons past. Some of these jerseys are even from teams and franchises that no longer exist.

    This is an opinion article, but each uniform will be ranked based on a maximum 10 point score in four categories: creativity, contrast and color choice, visual flow and tradition.

    Creativity is the overall uniqueness of the jersey that makes it stand out from others in the league.

    Contrast and color choice is the amount of “pop” and overall appeal the color choices give the uniform.

    Visual flow is a measure of how plain or busy a uniform is. Looking like a blank wall with a sticker in the middle is bad; looking like a collage is equally or more so.

    Tradition is the trickiest category as many teams haven’t been in the league very long, whether or not their franchise is old. In the case of “younger” teams, this value will represent the uniform’s ability to portray the mascot or namesake of the team. In the case of older teams, this value will be a measure of how well the uniform ties in not only the namesake or mascot of the team but also how it ties the team’s original logo and color scheme into a modern look. In cases where the log has changed recently, the logo will be judged in the same manner as the “younger” teams.

    On each slide, the number in parentheses next to the name of the team is the total number of points it earned out of 40. Ties are broken based namely on opinion but also a team with one or two very low scores in a category or two will typically rank lower than one with lower but more consistent scores in all four categories.

    For this article, the home and away jerseys being ranked are the top and bottom jerseys in the picture unless otherwise stated. 

    Illustration by Andrew M. Greenstein, The Hockey Uniform Database

50. Detroit Red Wings/Cougars 1926-1927 Home & Away (29)

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    Before the Detroit Red Wings even existed, there were the Detroit Cougars. In their first year in the league, the Cougars donned these simple uniforms which remain some of the most unique to this day.

    The Old English “D” in lieu of a logo and single middle stripe have since been recreated on Detroit’s Winter Classic jerseys to perfection. However, in the end the simplicity coupled with a boring and flat color scheme leave its score lacking even for an older uniform. Still, this one is a classic just the same.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 6

    Tradition: 5

49. Colorado Avalanche 2009-Present Third (28)

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    Most of the uniforms the Avalanche players have been subjected to have been disturbingly ugly. The overabundance of that strange and unexplained purple can kill even the most creative logo ideas.

    Surprisingly, even though they lose the ingenious “A” mountain logo, this retro, New-York-Rangers-esque uniform works quite well in their secondary blue. It’s a long shot from the best in history and the color is still not one of the better ones in NHL history. That blue is tough to contrast with anything other than a boring white or black.

    In the end, these barely crack the list, but there’s a certain pantomime and panache to them that grows on you and it has certainly grown on us.

    Creativity: 7

    Contrast and Color Choice: 3

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 9

48. Quebec Nordiques 1980-1995 Home & Away (30)

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    Back in the 80's there was an NHL team in Quebec with some of the most unique uniforms in the history of the league. They come to the NHL from the WHA, keeping the name “Nordiques” and the white and periwinkle jerseys they had worn there.

    However, in 1980 they flipped the color of their logo on the blue away jerseys from white to the red of their home uniforms, and everything suddenly clicked. The fleur-de-lis along the bottom of the jersey was something the NHL had never seen before and remains one of the more outstanding and unique features of these uniforms to this day.

    In 1995 we lost the Nordiques and their wonderfully odd and bright unis to Denver when they became the Colorado Avalanche. However, we will never forget the logo we didn’t understand or the ties to French-Canadian heritage that made this uniform one of the most special in the history of hockey.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 4

47. Winnipeg Jets 1990-1996 Home & Away (30)

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    This uniform is among many in the history of the sport of hockey which is nice to look at, but gives no clear idea what connects the team logo and the name or the city and the name. The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are other great examples of this phenomenon. The difference with them is that they’re Original Six teams and are simply NHL tradition.

    In the case of the Winnipeg Jets, most people don’t know they earned that moniker because of the city’s bustling transportation industry. Wherever the name came from, the Jets changed their logo in 1990 and their jerseys took a less modern and more traditional hockey look.

    The modern look they had originally donned when they joined the NHL in 1979 was brought over from the New York Rangers by GM John Ferguson. Why he thought the people of Winnipeg would like them when Rangers fans had roundly dismissed them as terrible, no one is quite sure. Either way, the jerseys returned to a more classic look in 1990 and would stay that way until the team was moved to Phoenix in 1996.

    The franchise hasn’t fared much better in recent years financially, but it is clear that their home and away jerseys were much better when they were in the Northern Midwest than in the Southwest.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 6

46. Ottawa Senators 1992-1995 Home & Away (30)

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    The connection between Ottawa and the Senators has to do with Canadian Senate being in the country’s capital of Ottawa. How that connects to what appear to be Roman Legionnaires isn’t entirely clear, but isn’t the worst of stretches in NHL naming and logo history.

    Whatever the history of the name, team or the logo, these original designs for the team’s reboot in 1992 are much better than the “Sens” unis of the last few years. The styling included features not seen on any other uniform before or since, namely the red stripes on the arms that contained the same black that surrounded them instead of containing a third color between the two.

    This unique feature would be removed 1995 for the 95-96 season on the away jerseys and the conformity ruined their panache. There is something about these sweaters that just makes them feel regal, important and powerful.

    Everything a Senator should feel.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 6

45. Boston Bruins 1926-1932 Home & Away (31)

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    Barring a slight sock change in 1931, these Boston uniforms stayed the same for six seasons which remains one of the longest stretches without a major uniform change in Bruin history.

    Brown and tan are tough colors for hockey, even when they are the colors of the animal your team chose as their mascot. However, they proved to be the winning colors as the Boston Bruins wore these to their first Stanley Cup victory in 1929.

    The stripes on the sleeves make them interesting without being too busy and the logo is one of the best in NHL history. The arching “BOSTON” over the bear is what makes retro Boston jerseys now so great and was the most creative, detailed and interesting of its day.

    This is the kind of sweater you could wear to a five star restaurant without your level of class being brought into question. Just make sure that like the namesake you order the fresh caught fish of the day.

    Creativity: 7

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 7

    Tradition: 10

44. Minnesota North Stars 1978-1981 Home & Away (31)

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    If you didn’t know that the team was called the Minnesota North Stars, would you think that they were from Nebraska based on the N in the logo? Some sort of compass reference might have gone over better than an N pointing to a star, but either way these are unique uniforms with one of the best color schemes in league history.

    Minnesota is a hotbed for hockey and their first NHL team lasted only just shy of 30 years, but these jerseys remain one of the best examples of retro hockey out there. The gold drop shadow on the logo and numbers is unique to the North Stars and the green outlining on the logo and numbering on the white home jerseys add great contrast to very vibrant uniforms.

    Maybe an MN (the state’s abbreviation) would’ve worked in a NJ Devils kind of way, but even with the logo/location confusion these are classics and a reminder of another team with fantastic uniforms stolen from hockey fans everywhere by the clutches of team finances.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 6

43. Boston Bruins 1940-1944 Alternate (31)

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    One of the first alternate uniforms in the history of the NHL, this sparse jersey is reminiscent of the other prominent Bruins team in sports, UCLA’s athletic program.

    The collegiate, Ivy-League style script team name on the front is a first for the NHL and is still one of the few examples of it throughout hockey’s history.

    The gold and black are great choices, but there is far too much gold and not enough contrast on the jersey to avoid it all blending together. Along with the flat color scheme, the simple Bruins and number combo makes for a plain and simple but classic uniform which feels almost more Harvard than NHL.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 6

    Tradition: 9

42. Oakland Seals 1969-1970 Home & Away (32)

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    It truly is a shame that these late 60's inspired uniforms only lasted a year. The next season they would be known as the California Golden Seals and the strange logo would disappear forever.

    Green and blue uniforms aren’t uncommon on the West Coast, but these combined interesting shades with unique stripe patterns and old style ties at the bottom of the front collar.

    The team would move to Cleveland six years later after wearing two of the most hideous jerseys in NHL history in their last few seasons, but these classics are rarities among fans and surely special in their own endearing way.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 4

41. Buffalo Sabres 1983-1996 Home & Away (32)

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    These uniforms still make me sad for Buffalo fans that Reebok decided to make the white jerseys the away team variety. On the other hand, I am happy I could someday get a chance to see very similar uniforms at the United Center should they come play the Blackhawks in the coming years.

    The away version here isn’t bad and the color is great since it is a fairly unique shade of a very common color. Something about the white background just makes the home variety pop. The logo is one of the best connections of a team’s name and city and these are, simply put, timeless classics.

    That must be why Buffalo returned to this design when they were reeling from the “Buffaslug" abomination of recent years.

    Creativity: 7

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

40. Washington Capitals 1974-1995 Home & Away (33)

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    The fact that I don’t particularly like these uniforms hopefully exemplifies the at least partial objectivity of my ranking system. I thought these wouldn’t make the cut from the 65 uniforms I started with but they ended up breaking out of the bottom 10.

    Personal opinion aside, these patriotic uniforms remained nearly unchanged through twenty years in our nation’s capital. The incorporation of a hockey stick into “Capitals” was a stroke of logo genius reminiscent of a certain lost team from Hartford and the color scheme isn’t unique but deserves points for embracing the impact of the team’s location.

    My major complaint here is that they are very busy. The stars are everywhere on the uniform and the pants are the only area you can find any significant amount of blank space on the uniform. However, these are certainly products of the 70's and American patriotism and as such must be applauded.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 6

    Tradition: 9

39. San Jose Sharks 2007-Present Home & Away (33)

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    I can hear the grumbling of Sharks fans everywhere that I picked these over the originals, but simply put I think the logo is better. It is a modern team with a more modern logo that is simpler and cleaner to look at.

    The colors of the uniforms are great and unique to San Jose and the Reebok Edge introduced orange trim gives everything a crisp edge.

    This is one of the few cases where the whites and colors are almost as good as one another. Tip your hat to San Jose and Reebok, they got these right.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 7

    Tradition: 9

38. Vancouver Canucks 1970-1978/2008-Present Home & Away/Third (33)

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    True, when they were re-incarnated as third jerseys a few years back they took the blue-backed logo from the home jersey and put it on the away uniforms. However, these are classics with great contrasting colors, an interesting logo and a special place in NHL fans’ hearts.

    If you look closely, the “stick in rink” logo makes a letter “C.” It’s tough to see, and unless you are a Canuck it lends no information as to what one is. In reality, the team is named after Canadian folk hero and legendary hockey player Johnny Canuck.

    The best thing about these uniforms however is that they spelled the demise for the navy and maroon color scheme that had plagued Vancouver for years. They are also nearly devoid of the parent company inspired logo that can’t make up its mind between being a letter and a Native American drawing of a killer whale.

    The logo still survives on the new home and away uniforms, but every once in a while hockey fans get a glimpse of the past and with these throwbacks it is worth the wait.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 8

37. Minnesota North Stars 1988-1991 Home & Away (33)

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    These are the North Star uniforms I remember as a kid collecting hockey trading cards. The addition of black adds a contrasting element the previous unis were missing and is also a foreshadowing of the drastic change they will undergo for the 91-92 season.

    These jerseys get nearly perfect marks but in the end their logo ambiguity still holds them back even though they gain a point in that category for it becoming a traditional logo. However, the stars on the pants make these uniforms a little busy and they only just break the top 40.

    That being said, two jerseys in the top 50 for a 30 year team that only had three major styles is pretty good in my book.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 7

36. Detroit Red Wings 1984-2007 Home & Away (33)

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    As is the case for essentially all of the Original Six teams, Detroit’s uniforms have remained nearly unchanged in their illustrious 11 Championship history.

    This period is the pinnacle of Red Wings jerseys with the bottom stripe on both home and away varieties, the block numbering and the arched last names on the jerseys.

    They’ve always seemed to be lacking contrast in outlining, piping, or possibly a third color but these are still some of the most classic jerseys in North American sports and instant favorites with anyone who isn’t from Chicago.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

35. Dallas Stars 2010-Present Home & Away (33)

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    The black home uniforms have been the same since 2008 but in 2010 the old alternate jerseys became the current away standards to matchup with the home variety.

    Good choice by the Dallas bigwigs as the arching “DALLAS” and number combo in lieu of a logo is a very sharp, classic, and unique look among NHL teams.

    These are another example of white uniforms that fans should be begging to see at home games as they are among the sharpest and cleanest looking in the history of the league.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 7

    Tradition: 7

34. Chicago Blackhawks 1935-1937 Home & Away (33)

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    Maybe I’m showing my bias by ranking these higher among the uniforms with a total score of 33. In fact, I probably am.

    The fact is, these are very cool old jerseys that were colorful and interesting for their time. The logo features some of the most color variety in the history of the NHL, much less the league’s history up to then. They were unique for the day and eventually inspired the uniforms the Blackhawks wore in the second annual winter classic.

    Even for their day they are plain and repetitive, but they are some of the more classic, short-lived uniforms the league has seen.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 5

    Tradition: 10

33. Vancouver Canucks 1995-1997 Third (33)

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    I sometimes wonder if I was the only one who thought that the Canucks logo in these days was a toboggan instead of a skate.

    “The Flying Skate,” as it was unaffectionately known by fans is surely a strange logo—and it sure is busy—but at least it tells you what the team nickname is.

    Still, these uniforms offered unique colors and the fading “V” shaped hockey stick homage on the front, back and sleeves was a new and inventive idea.

    I like these. They’re like that ugly car that you drive because it has charisma. Most people wouldn’t be caught dead in it, but because of its uniqueness, you love it.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 6

32. Carolina Hurricanes 1997-Present Home & Away (34)

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    Carrying over the brainpower from Hartford, the Carolina Hurricanes hit it out of the park with their first uniform design in 1997 and have stuck with it ever since. The secondary logo contains a hurricane flag flying on a hockey stick while the primary logo is everyone’s favorite destructive weather pattern in the team’s red and black.

    The hurricane flag pattern is repeated around the bottom of the jersey which makes the design fairly busy and blank space is hard to come by. Also, the choice of white as a third color instead of the light silver of their accent color makes the color scheme work but all-too-common.

    All in all these are nice uniforms and one of the best uniform any expansion team has ever had right off the bat, especially in recent memory.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 6

    Tradition: 10

31. New York Rangers 1951-1976/1978-Present Home & Away

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    Other than slight stripe changes these jerseys have remained relatively unchanged in sixty years. For two seasons the Rangers wore strange and plain “modern” uniforms that were chosen by then GM John Ferguson which were later taken with him to Winnipeg.

    For nine more years after their return, the away jerseys were adorned with “NEW YORK” diagonally across the front, but there was never any doubt which team from the big apple they were when they came into town.

    Since returning to having “RANGERS” on the front, these uniforms have been slightly simplified but remain a staple of the NHL and aren’t likely to change anytime soon.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 9

30. St. Louis Blues 1974-1984 Home & Away (35)

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    Minus some small stripe changes, home and away flip-flops, and the addition of names to the home and then road jerseys per NHL rules, these uniforms reigned over St. Louis for the better part of two decades. They have been experimented with a lot since then but have never really returned to the greatness the designers had found in these light blue bad boys.

    It isn’t made clear why the musical not has sprouted wings, but in the end it does add a certain flair to the logo. When all is said and done, their overall simplicity combined with the unique shade of a familiar color led to these uniforms being some of the best initial unis of any franchise and even now crack the top 30 in the long history of the NHL.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 9

29. Florida Panthers 1938-2006 Away/Third (35)

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    This jersey started life as Florida’s away jersey in 1993 until the navy blue uniform became the standard issue home sweater and this red one was relegated to alternate duties.

    I’m not a fan of the new Panthers jerseys. The navy is too much, too boring and the styling of the banding on the arms is very strange. However, on this red jersey the color is in good balance and it is also a shade that wasn’t used elsewhere in the league.

    The logo change to the panther breaking the stick in 2003 doesn’t add or subtract anything from the uniform, but when the names on the backs are changed to a flat font from the vertical arch the reign of these nice jerseys was over.

    It has been all downhill from there to the new powder-blue knockoff third jerseys. Even though the panthers have kept the palm tree shoulder logos, they have settled to the bottom of the barrel in recent years. It might be time for a retro revival in Miami.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 9

28. New York Rangers 2010-Present Third (35)

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    These sweaters are very similar to their standard home jerseys except in shade of blue, the use of retro-style off-white and the “NEW YORK” on the front instead of the normal “RANGERS.”

    There’s nothing special about these on paper and they score the same as New York's current home jerseys. They simply rank higher on personal preference of the retro feel and the darker, classier blue.

    Neat fact about these jerseys:
    They have every retired Rangers jersey number inside of them below the stripe and also have “ESTABLISHED 1926” inside the back of the collar.

    Creativity: 7

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 9

27. Colorado Rockies 1977-1982 Home & Away (35)

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    Before Todd Helton and the Colorado Rockies of the MLB there were the Colorado Rockies of the NHL. In 1982 they moved to New Jersey, became the Devils and gave us even better uniforms, but in the late 70s there were few cooler uniforms than these.

    The colors are bright and contrasting, though they are slightly seizure inducing—especially in the stripes. The logo is classic 70s sports and exemplifies both the location and the namesake of the team very well.

    All in all there isn’t too much wrong with these jerseys other than their fairly standard and plain styling. Shame they had to go so quickly.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

26. Minnesota Wild 2009-Present Third (35)

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    If I had the money to buy any current jersey that was not from one of my hometown teams, this would likely be the one I’d choose. It captures the retro style perfectly, it does the script style name on the front better than the 1940s Boston sweaters and simply is just special.

    This is one of the most unique jerseys in NHL history. In technical terms it only truly falls flat in color contrast, but otherwise this is one of my personal favorites and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this one in Western Conference play.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 9

25. Calgary Flames 2007-Present Home & Away (35)

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    These are hot sweaters. They capture the essence of the team’s namesake and the flaming C is still one of the best and most concise logos in North American sports.

    The piping that extends from the torso up the arm is a unique feature that adds more to the overall look than one might think. The fonts are different than most others in the NHL and while the colors are common, the shades used aren’t.

    Only complain here is that they are very busy with the logos, numbers and the flags of Canada and Alberta on them. Take out the flags or the arm numbers and these are near perfect. As they are, they’re still fantastic, only losing two tradition points for messing with the “glowing” C logo from older jerseys dating back to the Atlanta days.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 7

    Tradition: 8

24. Boston Bruins 2008-Present Third (35)

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    These lose creativity points for being nearly the same as their standard home jerseys with the shoulder yoke removed. However, the re-use of the original Bruins logo on the chest is a classy look in black and gold.

    The black socks are a first in team history making this a very imposing uniform to look at and give this relatively modern jersey with a retro logo a berth in the top 25 on our list.

    Creativity: 7

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

23. Calgary Flames 1980-1994/2009-Present Away/Third (35)

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    In this picture, the uniform in question is the bottom one.

    Carrying everything but the logo over from their days in Atlanta, this away uniform has one of the best optical illusions of any in NHL history. The white C with the yellow outline gives a strong feeling that the C is actually on fire and the whole jersey looks hot.

    In 1994, black was added to these jerseys and they were never really the same until they were brought back as third jerseys in 2009. They could use some piping of red or maybe even black in some of the stripes for contrast, but otherwise these are hot looking jerseys and some of the best examples of smart color use and design in sports.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

22. Tampa Bay Lightning 1996-1999 Third (36)

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    I’m sure I can already hear the cries of “Why?!” from hockey fans everywhere but hear me out. The “rain lines” and waves do make this jersey a bit crowded. However, they are possibly the most creative in overall design ever in the NHL.

    Sure they are wacky and they only lasted three seasons. Probably for good reason as these are of the type of uniform that can easily overstay its welcome.

    Whether you like it or not, you have to admit that these are unique and if you give them a chance, I’ll bet they grow on you.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 7

    Tradition: 10

21. Carolina Hurricanes 2008-Present Third (36)

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    These are essentially just black versions of their standard sweaters but they somehow feel calmer and more toned down.

    The alternate logo also takes center stage to good effect here and continues to exemplify the great creativity and design of their home and away uniforms. The epitome of what a third jersey should be, it brings flair to the table without losing any of the greatness of the original.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 7

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

20. Tampa Bay Lightning 2007-2011 Home & Away (36)

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    It sure is a shame that this is the last season of these uniforms before the aptly named “Detroit Maple Lightning” jerseys take over later this year.

    The only real comments here are that they are a little busy and could probably use to lose the numbers on the chest. Other than that, the logo is unique and fits the team well, the colors are common but not in the shades and combinations seen here and the pattern is unique.

    Sometimes you can’t help but try and fail to fix what ain’t broke I suppose.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

19. San Jose Sharks 2008-Present Third (36)

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    This uniform is in the same category as the current Boston Bruins’ third jersey. The simple black look works well, makes the players imposing on the ice and is just a classic look.

    The removal of the orange piping makes them flow a little better in the nearly two-tone look while the armbands of teal add a nice splash of color.

    Overall these are crisp, clean and simple winners deserving of the top 20.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

18. Los Angeles Kings 2007-Present Home & Away (36)

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    A blend of old and new looks, these borrow heavily from the early days of the Kings in their “regal” gold and purple. They also borrow the black and styling from the more recent sweaters from The Great One’s days in the City of Angels.

    In the end, the fusion of the two with a modern crown logo makes for a very appealing uniform that is one of the few cases where purple works in North American sports. Clearly there is some talent for the arts in LA.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

17. Edmonton Oilers 1979-1996 Home & Away (36)

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    I’m a bigger fan of the brighter colored version used from 81-94, but all of these iterations were about the same. One of only two notable cases where blue and orange are used together in this way, these are some of the most iconic uniforms in NHL history.

    The manufacturer’s tag was infamously moved to the left of the back of the jersey in 1981 because Gretzky liked to tuck in the right side of his jersey. This was to ensure that the label would be seen while the face of the league was wearing their product.

    The logo is creative and simple at the same time which is hard to achieve and overall these are two of my favorite home and away sweaters to ever be used in the NHL.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

16. Hartford Whalers 1992-1997 Home & Away (36)

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    Even though these are the lesser of the two major styles this team ever wore, they are the lesser example by a small margin. Simply put, these are the busier of the two.

    However, they still retain clean lines and the ingenious logo that I feel is the best logo in the history of professional sports. It is simple, timeless and covers all the bases. If you look at it a bit closer you will see that the W underneath the whale’s tail in the logo.

    That much is obvious, the genius is in the negative space inside the W and the tail. There is an H there for Hartford that is subtle but unmistakable.

    The one thing this uniform got right over the old one was replacing the green of the away with a simple and pleasing navy blue. Kinda makes me wish we’d seen these for a little longer.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 7

    Tradition: 10

15. Chicago Blackhawks 2009-Present Third (36)

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    Thank God for the Winter Classic that spawned these beauties. The perfect blend of all the uniforms from seasons past for the Blackhawks, these vintage uniforms have a place in every Chicago hockey fan’s heart for years to come.

    Never mind the fact that they lost the Winter Classic to Detroit.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

14. Dallas Stars 1995-1999 Away (36)

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    The uniforms in question are only the bottom ones in the picture.

    This uniform is one of the only examples where putting anything other than solid colors on the pants works. The “DALLAS” inscribed down each leg is simple and sharp but would later be wisely moved to the jersey itself.

    In this case, the “modern” two-tone sleeves never caught on with most NHL fans and the lack of these is partly what makes the black away sweaters so great. The addition of the Texas patch on the shoulders adds a personalized touch to the old Minnesota North Stars’ last uniforms and makes the Dallas Stars feel more at home deep in the heart of Texas.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

13. Phoenix Coyotes 2008-Present Third (37)

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    The uniform in question is only the middle one in this picture.

    I hope that the reason the Coyotes went bankrupt isn’t due to expenditures on uniform design because aside from this one they are all fairly terrible.

    In contrast with their home and away sweaters, the third jersey is simple without being boring, has an interesting color pattern and most of all it contrasts well. Both the current home and away varieties are much too flat to be appealing.

    The running coyote logo in the middle is very clean and a good change of pace from the disembodied heads most of the league uses as logos when their namesake is a living thing. In the end, these do miss the top 10, but they are cool and stylish for a modern game of hockey.

    Sure would be a shame to lose these if they moved.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

12. New York Islanders 1972-1995 Home & Away (37)

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    Other than the identity crisis the away jersey’s stripes often suffered, these uniforms remained relatively unchanged for nearly 30 years.

    The version in the picture here is the best of the breed with the outlining around the away jersey crest and the orange around the lettering and numbering.

    Looking at these great sweaters, one starts to wonder how they ended up like this for even half of a season. Still, you can’t really argue with a uniform that was worn for four consecutive Stanley Cup titles, and this one has that in spades.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

11. New Jersey Devils 1982-1992 Home & Away (37)

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    I know red and green combos evoke images of Christmas while red and black bring Beelzebub to mind, but shoot me if I like the green ones more.

    They’re unique, rare and a look great as both home and away varieties. Where they really earn points though is with the logo creating a devil’s horns and tail out of the state and city’s abbreviation NJ.

    This is one case where New Jersey beats the Big Apple hands down. New York State on the other hand has one or two tricks left up its sleeve.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

10. Toronto Maple Leafs 1992-Present Home & Away (37)

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    Even though they lost and then rediscovered the tail stripes a few years ago, these are still nearly the same sweaters the team has been wearing for more than 60 years.

    The logo has been refined and the overall cut and finish has been modernized, but this is a classic design that has been mainly left alone. Not messing with these is one of the few smart moves Brian Burke has made.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

9. Minnesota Wild 2007-Present Home (37)

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    The uniform in question here is only the top one in the picture.

    Another sweater on my wish list, this is another vintage style uniform, but this time it is the main home uni for the Wild.

    The circular logo with the name wrapped around it is a great design while not minimizing the very clever animal’s head emblem. Inside the head of the wild beast are evergreen trees with a red sky sunset while the sun (or moon?) serves as the animal’s ear and a star amongst the Northern Lights is the eye. This ranks very near the Hartford Whalers’ logo in cleverness and cleanliness of design.

    This home sweater started as part of their third uniform but was wisely given more ice time and NHL Wild fans are lucky to have such a great stable of jerseys that they get to see their team in at the XCEL Energy Center.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 8

    Tradition: 10

8. Chicago Blackhawks 1977-Present Home & Away (37)

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    What can I say about one of the most iconic uniforms in sports history? People who aren’t even fans of the big sports usually recognize this imagery and for good reason. The Blackhawks have one of the most storied histories in all of North American sports.

    As for the uniforms, they aren’t overly creative and are slightly plain, but in the end the Indian head in the middle is the most intricate and unique logo in the NHL and proves why the design of the jersey and logo has hardly changed since 1955.

    As it is, this incarnation of the emblem has been around since 1977 and seems as if it is here to stay; and that’s fine by me.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

7. Hartford Whalers 1979-1991 Home (37)

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    The uniform in question here is only the top one in the picture.

    My second personal favorite in NHL history is the original home Hartford Whalers jersey. The logo is simply magnificent, the colors are simple and unique and the sweater has the perfect amount of numbers, emblems and stripes.

    This Jersey is perennially on my Christmas list and will be until I get one by hook or crook. Simply classic, and for those of you who haven’t seen the movie Mallrats, I present you with the following quote:

    “Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ's sake. It's only the second period and I'm up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, "the Whale," they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.”

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 8

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

6. Buffalo Sabres 2010-Present Home & Away (38)

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    Not much different from the home and away uniforms of seasons past, these darker blue sweaters have a perfect combination of modern and vintage.

    They only lose points in creativity for having to re-use an old design to stop the complaints about the “Buffaslug” they had previously spawned. All in all these are classics and yet not Buffalo’s last addition to this list.

    Creativity: 8

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 10

5. Montreal Canadiens 1917-Present Home & Away (38)

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    The headline says it all. These are classics that have remained nearly unchanged in their iconic status in nearly 100 years of duty.

    Don’t be surprised if these stay like this for another century. The logo is simple and clean, the color combination is great and was unique when they were first designed and the style has stood the test of time. It really is as simple as that.

    Creativity: 9

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 10

4. Philadelphia Flyers 2010-Present Home & Away (39)

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    When you don’t change your uniforms in nearly 50 years, change can be scary for management and fans alike. However, when Philly added the simple rectangle around the nameplates on their jerseys for the 2010 Winter Classic, another kind of classic was born.

    The contrast it adds is great any the only real fault with these uniforms is their simplicity. These are my current favorites in the NHL among home and away jerseys and score a perfect 40 compared to the current uniforms. Against the all-time greats, they lose a point for their simplicity but are still worthy of a top five berth on this list.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

3. Los Angeles Kings 2008-Present Third (39)

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    One of the few examples of a retro design properly modernized, these are clean, unique, well colored and cut and feature one of the cooler logos in the NHL today.

    There is something inherently LA about this design that still translates back out to the civilized world. All kidding aside, these are very nearly the best Third jerseys in league history and easily earn third overall here.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 9

    Tradition: 10

2. Buffalo Sabres 2010-Present Third (39)

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    Buffalo cracks the top two here with a bit of a sleeper. Be that as it may, this uniform is perfect but for the brightness of the blue.

    I’m all for colors that pop but this one is just a tad too much. Just because it goes all the way to 11 doesn’t mean it has to when 9.5 or 10 will do just fine.

    That being said, the logo and writing on the front is the coolest combo of the two I’ve ever seen and the addition of the nameplate box on the back make for a modern-vintage synergy never before seen in the NHL.

    Bravo Buffalo, I bow to your uniform superiority.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 9

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 10

1. Pittsburgh Penguins 1995-2000/2000-2002 Away/Third

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    If you ever need proof that newer isn’t always better, here it is. When this jersey was new however it was one of the first third jerseys in the history of the NHL, and Pittsburgh got it right the first time.

    This is my favorite jersey ever. I would never want to own one because I wouldn’t wear it for fear of the looks and jeers I would receive as an assumed Penguins fan living in Chicago. That being said, the asymmetrical design, the lettering and numbering, the color choices, the patterns used throughout and the beautiful simplicity of the logo earn this sweater the top spot on this list.

    I tried, I really did. I simply couldn’t find anything wrong with this jersey. I have no doubt that many of you will try to change my mind, but for my money this it the best looking uniform any NHL team has ever donned.

    Creativity: 10

    Contrast and Color Choice: 10

    Visual Flow: 10

    Tradition: 10

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