A jersey that's worn in professional sports is a bigger deal than most fans might think, and as time has progressed the margin for error when producing a jerseys has proven to become smaller and smaller. A hockey sweater, is sacred. And, a club that plays in the National Hockey League is always taking a risk when it decides to either re-brand or introduce a new sweater design.
Entering the 2017-18 season, all NHL teams will now be wearing jerseys that are made by Adidas; which yes, was never a traditional hockey brand. So, there were notable changes made to the league's sweaters (labeled Adizero) and not only how they're manufactured, but designs were modified for a number of teams, too.
There were a handful of clubs that improved their hockey sweaters, and there were also a number of teams that missed a wide open net...while producing a worse jersey than they once wore.
So, TheSportster has noted five NHL teams that have improved their sweaters, and 10 that were made worse since the recent Adidas re-brand. As always with jerseys though, this is just our opinion, so be sure to let us know what you think of the rebranded jerseys.
15 Ruined: New York Rangers
Yes, this is really knit picking, but the New York Rangers NHL shield, located below the collar of the jersey, just doesn’t look like it belongs…in fact it looks like a manufacturing mistake, no? The Rangers have had some of the best sweaters since the Land Before Time, and have usually had flawless jerseys.
The Rangers and Adidas should have kept things that way, and ditched the red patch that stands as an obnoxious jersey attribute and background to the league’s shield. It would like better if it were just all blue, as the Rangers can never have enough of their primary jersey color. As minor of a detail as it may seem to be, New York’s NHL shield area of its’ sweater is distracting to what was arguably the best NHL jersey in recent past.
14 Ruined: Pittsburgh Penguins
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions made a great decision to revert back to its’ retro jerseys full time, last season. However, the sweaters didn’t improve with Adidas taking over the jersey reigns, and could arguably be labeled as worse than last year’s edition.
There’s something about the collar that looks, off. The Pens probably should have made the collar all black, or could have just left it as it was, yellow. The new collar is odd, because it was already changed to a multi-collar collar; but then has an additional thick and yellow stripe that runs down the outer and back half of the neck area. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh makes a minor change to its sweaters by next season, and to the collar area. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Penguins added jerseys, either.
13 Improved: Buffalo Sabres
It was subtle change, but an improvement for the Buffalo Sabres and the team’s latest hockey sweaters. At last, the Sabres ditched the grey piping which had placed been underneath both jerseys’ arms; subtle, but necessary.
While most teams strayed away from keeping a player’s number displayed on the upper left face area of their sweaters, the Sabres decided to keep the style that Reebok introduced back in 2007-08. Most may not like it, but it does separate Buffalo from the rest of the league, now. Additionally, Buffalo changed the jerseys ties located in the collar area; as the ties no longer dangle down on the jersey, but simply run parallel. And, just to note, Adidas did some branding with the parallel ties too, as there are three. Overall, the Sabres have a cleaner appearance and are worth mentioning on this list.
12 Ruined: San Jose Sharks
Yes, the San Jose Sharks have always had some of the more appreciated sweaters in all of hockey, but the Teal jerseys are worse since Adidas took over for Reebok this past offseason. The Sharks released a few alternate and futuristic logos late last season, which could also be seen on available merchandise…but now the Sharks have decided to use one of those futuristic logos for the team’s shoulder patches.
The shoulder patches that were used prior to this season were fine, and the direction to use a futuristic logo can be risky. This hockey jersey enthusiast would like to see the Sharks move away from consistent jerseys changes, altogether. Additionally, the team added black to its jersey collar area…having it all teal stayed more consistent with the clubs all teal appearance.
11 Ruined: Washington Capitals
One of the few clubs that kept its’ original Reebok Edge Series jersey design would be that of the Washington Capitals. The United States’ NHL team didn’t improve its hockey sweaters either, after Adidas unveiled the Caps’ Adizero jerseys.
The Collar used to be filled in completely navy blue, but now the front half is red and the back is navy blue. For Washington, the look just doesn’t seem to fit, especially with the navy blue piping’s (along the sides of the jersey) starting point being moved down and more towards the base of the new red collar. Besides the Capitals needing to make changes to its’, and what always seems like, underachieving roster; why not go back to the club’s original appearance on the ice. NHL fans alike have embraced the club’s retro look, as the team has worn both the red and white vintage sweaters as alternates in recent past.
10 Improved: Toronto Maple Leafs
Most fans will look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ sweaters from last season, and think that the team’s jerseys look exactly the same. And, while that’s 90-percent true, there’s still a minor change the club made and for the better. The Leafs modified the collar area, and to have the front half changed to all blue; while the upper and back half of the collar splits and was filled in white.
This was a nice touch for the Original Six club, and also separates them from a team such as the Tampa Bay Lightning (similar jersey design) whose collar is primary white, rather than blue. Additionally, Toronto made the right decision by keeping the dangling jerseys ties, and keeping things classy as every Original Six team should do and have.
9 Ruined: Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks’ hockey sweaters have always had potential to have a better appearance, than they’ve portrayed since the team changed its color scheme back to royal blue and green in 2007. Still, the team switched its collar from white and to all blue.
Now, there’s too much blue in relation to the not only the Canucks’ jerseys, but uniforms overall. The white collar was a nice and subtle touch that gave the home sweater a little more pop; and a change of pace. Additionally, most would probably agree on the fact the Canucks could have removed “Vancouver” from above the jumping-orca logo, no? The Canucks seem like the type of club who should have jersey ties placed below the collar area, and for both sweaters.
8 Ruined: Calgary Flames
Similar to another NHL Canadian club on this list, the Calgary Flames missed out on an opportunity to ditch their former sweater appearance; but the Flames opted to slightly modify their jerseys instead. Yes, like the Sabres, the Flames ditched the random (black) piping which was located underneath the sweater’s sleeves, yet most fans were more than likely hoping for a new and improved jersey template.
Perhaps the Flames should have reverted back to its vintage sweater, which the team has used, on and off numerous times, as an alternate over the past few seasons. The retro red, yellow, white and orange sweater has appeared to receive more appreciation than the jerseys the Flames have donned for almost ten seasons, now. The Flames will be exciting to watch this season, but their jersey game is more than disappointing.
7 Improved: Carolina Hurricanes
Sure, the Carolina Hurricanes have never exactly had the most appreciated hockey sweaters the NHL has had to offer, but the Canes are one of the clubs that improved their appearance with the help of Adidas this past offseason. In 2013, Carolina introduced a new set of home and away jerseys and wanted to create a more classic appearance. Yet, the jerseys were not well accepted and were comparable to the Toronto Maple Leafs with a red paint job.
Now, the Hurricanes have incorporated more black into the sweater’s color scheme; and have re-introduced the Hurricane checkered-styled warning flags at the base of the jerseys. While some may not appreciate the warning flags running across the base of the sweaters, one can argue that it helps both establish and strengthen the club’s identity, and separate the Canes from the rest of the league.
6 Ruined: Nashville Predators
Yes, keeping things simple is usually the best route to take when introducing a new hockey sweater. However, a club such as the Nashville Predators should not abide by that culture. The Preds hit the jackpot after the club essentially rebranded and unveiled the gold jerseys back in 2011-12. Yes, the jerseys were a little too busy, with the piping going down the sweater’s side and such, but Nashville is one of the few clubs that could pull that appearance off in a positive way.
Sure, the Predators are clearly leaning towards going all in with this gold appearance, but this sweater doesn’t move you, right? The previous sweater was unique and loud…just how Nashville’s loyal fans are. Now, the team’s new sweaters look like they would have been an alternate jersey unveiled back in the early 2000s.
5 Ruined: Edmonton Oilers
“Why?” That’s the first thing that has to come to mind for all NHL fans alike, after the Edmonton Oilers unveiled their new Adidas Adizero sweaters, recently. The Oilers made a fantastic decision a few years back to switch the team’s jerseys to a modernized throwback look, and now the team has re-introduced navy blue as one of Edmonton’s primary colors.
While it wasn’t a terrible decision to have Connor McDavid and company rep orange sweaters on home ice, changing the three stripes on both the sleeves and base of the jersey was a mistake, as well. The Oilers’ previous sweaters had more pop, and it’s going to take some time to get used to recognizing the club with the darker shade of blue and orange.
4 Improved: Minnesota Wild
Normally, this hockey jersey enthusiast won't appreciate a sweater that doesn’t entail stripes, or a belt, at the base of a jersey. Still, the Minnesota Wild and Adidas teamed up and pulled off the plain front appearance. The Wild have always had some sort of controversy with the team’s sweaters since entering he league in 2000-01; but this new jersey is…cool, to say at the least.
It was a bold move to add the middle stripe, similar to that of the Montreal Canadiens, but if any NHL club were be able to pull it off – it would be the State of Hockey, no? Additionally, the club has introduced a new alternate logo, a letter “M” in Wild Font, which now act as they jersey’s shoulder patches.
3 Ruined: Ottawa Senators
A majority of NHL fans were probably shocked when Adidas and the Ottawa Senators revealed the team’s new sweaters for the upcoming season. The Sens had arguably some of the less appreciated jerseys in all of hockey, and Ottawa did little to change the club’s appearance.
The Sens’ vintage alternate jersey had been itching to ultimately become the Senators’ primary home sweater, and the team’s white Heritage Classic jersey from last season was just as nice too. All Ottawa had to do was introduce the big “O” uniforms as their new sweaters, and then the Sens would arguably have some of the best jerseys in all of hockey, no? It should be interesting to see if Ottawa will re-introduce the team’s previous alternate as a third jersey in 2018-19, or just eventually get new jerseys again altogether.
2 Ruined: New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils went from having an iconic NHL sweater to now having two of the most unappreciated jerseys in the league. Since 1993-14, the Devils have made very, very minimal changes to the team’s sweaters, which put them in a unique category alongside an Original Six franchise such as the Detroit Red Wings.
Jersey’s Team and Adidas made the three-time Stanley Cup winning franchise’s jerseys worse, that’s for certain. The club altered both the collar-area and shoulders of the jerseys, which look worse than before; and the big mistake here was ditching the three stripes at the base of the sweaters. Now, the Devils jerseys look more like a blanket, or night gown, or a cheap jersey you can buy at Marshall’s. The team’s stripes (3) on the sleeves of the sweaters were also enlarged and changed to all be equal in size, which has sat well with the team’s fan-base, either.
1 Improved: Colorado Avalanche
After the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1996, and then became the Colorado Avalanche, the franchise continued to have some of the most well appreciated hockey sweaters in the NHL. However, during the 2007-08 regular season, Reebok introduced its Edge Series to the entire league and it was safe to say the brand ruined more than half of the league’s jerseys.
The Avalanche were one of those teams, as they added colored-in piping which ran all the way down the sides, under the arms, of both the home and road sweaters. Though, who would have thought that it would be Adidas that came to Colorado’s rescue; as the club has re-introduced a modernized version of the Avs’ original sweaters. Also, if you’re wondering why the design is the way it’s displayed on the base of Colorado’s jerseys – it’s to represent mountain tops.