Fashion in the NHL has gone through some changes even though it looks to have stayed the same. Helmets weren’t that commonplace for decades although shoulder pads and better protection grew with them thanks to the awareness of the risks of injury. The designs have changed with the times, the simple looks of the past shifting to more customizations to make the teams more distinctive. The 1970s were a bit garish and the 1990s had some terrible designs but some teams handled it better than others. Many keep to classic looks while others are able to adapt and with further shifts (such as the upcoming Las Vegas franchise), the NHL continues to look to the future.
There have been a lot of designs in the last 17 years, some of which have been pretty bad. But the NHL is also able to give fans some fun designs that really look terrific. From regular uniforms to third jerseys to even special versions, these are some truly great looks that work for the teams and make them look fantastic. Here’s each NHL’s franchise’s best jersey since 2000. These looks just show you that the NHL has made some great strides in jersey designs.
30 Anaheim Ducks: 2013-Present
For a team that started as a Disney project, the Ducks have had some good success in the NHL with the Stanley Cup win and have remained strong since then. Their designs have improved as well with the wise decision to drop the “duck goalie mask” logo for a better look. The current jerseys, used since 2006, are a good pick for the Ducks with a nice sweeping design in the colors but not too obtrusive.
The way the “D” in the team logo seems to have a flight aspect is fun and the angled stripes make it look distinctive and fitting with the team history. The team also added some orange in there to fit Orange County, which was a nice touch. The Ducks’ current look is still their best to rise above their origins as one of the NHL’s top teams.
29 Arizona Coyotes: 2003-07 Home & Away
The Coyotes had to start off with what is generally recognized as one of the ugliest third jerseys in NHL history, a horrific mix of green and orange that they somehow stuck with for five seasons. Thankfully, this look is much better, similar to their current one but the differences are notable. The logo is simple, a howling wolf and whether on red or white, it stands out well with no real distractions. The straight design is better than the flowing one and the stripes at the bottom help it stand out much better.
The lack of shoulder yokes also helps so when the team plays, these nicely flow and fit the team’s standing nicely. It’s a good design that proves you don’t have to be overtly flashy but sticking to a basic look is sometimes for the best.
28 Boston Bruins: 2007-present
The Bruins have been smart not to mess with the color scheme of white and black with gold trimming that makes them stand out and fits Boston well. Their current jersey basically takes the elements of past designs and mixes them together into a good package. The “B” logo isn’t as huge and distracting as on previous jerseys and the striping inside is faint enough not to be distracting but still enough to stand out.
The font for the team number and names is excellent and the lack of shoulder coloring is always welcome. Even the coloring by the collar is done well, mixing up either white or black and the yellow striping at the bottom fitting the team. Overall, this is the best look the Bruins have offered yet and show how working older designs into a modern feel can work out great for a team.
27 Buffalo Sabres: 2010-present Home and Away
Buffalo has had some rough looks such as the time in the early 2000s with garish red and white shirts and a logo that looked like a mad cow. There’s also the horrible third jerseys of 2010 with overt blue colors. But their current look is nice with a logo that manages to mix both parts of their name in a much better way than one might expect. The pattern is consistent with the blue and yellow and seeing it switched around in the home and away sets is a fun move.
While the grey can be a bit distracting in play, the rest of the design makes up for it, topped off by the nice gold trim by the collar. The Sabres may have had rough seasons but this present look is their best yet to try and take the fight to the ice well.
26 Calgary Flames: 2011 Heritage Classic
The Heritage Classic game has become a popular part of the annual NHL calendar, a way to go “old school” in designs for the jerseys. For the Flames, they came up with a great way to honor the past but still look fantastic for the present. They’re a tribute to the original Calgary Tigers team of the 1920s, replacing the Tiger logo with the terrific “C” in flames. They avoid the “maypole” designs too many throwback jerseys go for and the curves at the bottom make it look far more natural.
The mix of red and yellow is well done, neither color too bright or dark and mixing well in the stripes and along the collar. True, it may have been created just for this game but it’s still a wonderful design that the Flames might consider adapting for their regular shirts.
25 Carolina Hurricanes: 2013-Present
Carolina has boasted a cool logo that they smartly don’t mess with, a circle looking like the eye of a hurricane with a nice red-black-and-white motif to it. Their current home and away jerseys favor simplification over other designs (such as the “checkers pattern” of the past) and their third jerseys with the dumb “hockey flag” logo. The colors are bright and clear, the logo dead center as it should be and the striping at the abdomen is excellent.
There’s also the nice way the collar doesn’t stand out with its black pattern and the numbers are nicely placed so they’re not too obtrusive. It’s a good look and the best for the Hurricanes so far, so no surprise it’s their best pick despite coming in only 2013.
24 Chicago Blackhawks: 2009-present home & away
In 2006, the Backhawks were the joke of the NHL and were even voted the worst franchise in all of sports. But in the last decade, the team has seen a fantastic revival, building up into a powerhouse that has won three Stanley Cups and constantly tops their division. Thus, the team has been tweaking their look but are smart not to mess with their classic colors. The current one is great with the bright red for home games that stands out wonderfully.
Other teams use white as well but the Blackhawks somehow make it work better than others, balancing out the red and black stripes with the overall design. The Blackhawks have turned their fortunes around massively and this shows how they can look as great as the play on the ice.
23 Colorado Avalanche: 1995-2007 Home & Away
This is tricky as the Avalanche haven’t changed their jerseys that much since they were the Nordiques. Their current jerseys are often cited among the worst around and their third jerseys are not much better. Thus, their best look was created in 1995 when the team was formed. Yes, it’s a ‘90s motif but it actually looks good in retrospect with the “A” mountain logo fitting well. The sharp-edged zig-zag is an interesting design but it stands out and even fits the mountain theme.
The mix of colors is good, especially for the away jerseys, a bold mix that made Colorado stand out on the ice. Frankly, this look is much better than their current one and shows you how not every design out of the ‘90s was a bad thing.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets: 2010-present Third Jerseys
A rare case of a third jersey actually being among the best designs around. The team’s first attempt was one of the worst designs with an idiotic star logo for the team that didn’t make much sense. This one plays on the team’s historical identity and the nice retro-logo of a Revolutionary War cannon plays into that. The creamy off-white color adds to the theme, not overly bright and the dark blue for the main body is off-set by lighter blue stripes at the bottom and the collar. The design is old-school but works quite well and removing the team’s usual red actually works excellently.
The laces even look good, something not all jerseys can pull off. Plus, the different font for the lettering looks great and thus, this is an example of a third jersey that's actually better than the regular ones.
21 Dallas Stars: 2013-present, Home & Away
For some reason, the Stars spent much of the 2000s mixing black into their uniforms which never looked right. That includes their much derided third jersey with its idiotic “constellation” logo. Their current look is far better with a nicely designed logo of a stylized “D” inside a slanted star that stands out well. The green and white colors fit the team much better and the minor use of black is good to not clash with the overall colors but balance them out. The home uniforms look better with the more solid green while the away versions at least strike a good look with the green not too obtrusive. Overall, a much better design and use of color to let the Stars shine on the ice.
20 Detroit Red Wings: 2007-Present home & away
Detroit has almost never changed its style which can sometimes make it tricky to pick a “best” look given such consistency. They knew the red and white fit them well and have used that pretty much since the franchise was founded. They also latched onto the fantastic “winged wheel” logo that’s become an icon of the city. It’s well done, either red on white or white on red and fitting the rest of the jersey. The coloring is excellent for the sleeves and it's cool how it goes from solid red for home to mostly white with red sleeving for the away games. Again, the Red Wings haven’t changed their look too much so this is a good example of how the classic looks can remain iconic for today.
19 Edmonton Oilers: 2015-Present Third Jerseys
Yes, it is possible for a third jersey design to actually look great. This is a fine example as the Oilers always have one of the best logos in the NHL and that’s kept intact here. Orange is a tough color to pull off but this actually makes it work, mixing well with the blue and white striping. On top of that, the way the stripes are set up makes it flow well as they’re smart not to add too much else that would turn it into a mess. The inner stripes are also a fun touch, aesthetically pleasing and again not so obvious that they’d be a huge distraction.
True, blue works better overall as a regular color for the Oilers but this is a good pick for one of the better third jerseys in the league and shows the rare occasion that a color as bright as orange actually works on a sports design.
18 Florida Panthers: 2013-2016 Home & Away
The Panthers changed their look recently for the 2016-17 season and many saw it as a step backward. That included changing their truly cool logo of a leaping panther for a lame one of a panther head in a shield. It doesn’t pop nearly as well as their previous jersey design did, including the colors. The nearly all red for the home jerseys was balanced by navy blue pipping by the shoulders and neck that worked well with orange stripes.
The away jerseys were better to show off the great logo. They were mostly white with the red shoulder coloring flowing into a stripe on the forearm that made a good design. It really is odd the Panthers would change as this was a good look for them and changing their classic logo was a bad move as Florida doesn’t roar as well with their current look.
17 Los Angeles Kings: 2011-present Home & Away
The Kings used to have a horrible look with yellow-colored jerseys that looked terrible on the ice. Since the ‘80s, they’ve wisely stuck to a white and black design that fit them much better . Their current jerseys combine the best of previous designs with the black, grey and white mixing well together, a tough combination to pull off. The redesigned logo works as well, the shield design with the crown and “LA” is bold and not distracted by numbers on the front.
The numbers font is also nicely done to show subtle branding at work with the large numbering on the back with the player names. It’s a great mix of old and new and helps the Kings look royal with a recent Stanley Cup to remain one of the league’s top teams.
16 Minnesota Wild: 2013-Present Away
Normally, you put home and away jerseys in the same category as they follow the same design, just different colors. But with the Wild, their away jerseys are clearly better than their home ones. First of all, there’s the logo. The home jerseys have a large green circle with their logo in the middle that looks dull. These, however, boast a much larger roaring bear head with the image of a forest set into the design that looks far more intimidating.
The white and green color is far better than the almost all-red look of the home jerseys. It just seems to fit Minnesota much better. The bright red for the numbers on the back also fits and the white and green flows well. This is a case where a team looks much better on the road than at home and more fitting for the Wild.
15 Montreal Canadiens: 2007-15 Home & Away
Here’s another case of a team that found its look early and didn’t mess with it. The Canadiens have always utilized a mix of white and red with a dash of blue and the “C-H” logo in the middle that’s been one of the best in the NHL. This look (altered for 2016) plays off previous designs, not as squared or blocked as previous versions and the blue stripe in the middle of the home uniforms looks great when going around and highlighting the red coloring.
The almost-all white colors for the away uniforms are brighter with the red coloring by the shoulders and collar and the logo standing out better. There's not much to say other than that the Canadiens jersey is iconic and as long as no drastic changes are made, the jersey will remain timeless.
14 Nashville Predators: Home & Away, 2013-2016
The Predators are famous for how they latched onto their logo before fully deciding on their name and it is an impressive one of a prehistoric beast with massive fangs. The gold coloring for the home uniforms can sometimes be a bit much but it flows better on the ice and stands out well with how the blue is muted and not too obtrusive. For the home games, the almost all-white coloring is great with the touches of gold and blue also kept to a minimum and the striping much better here than on the home version.
The team doesn’t go overtly flashy, relying on its cool logo to stand out more and smartly doesn’t play up any “country” influences of its home city. The Predators could be better on the ice but at least they look good when they do play.
13 New Jersey Devils: 2007-Present Home & Away
The Devils have a record of the least changes in their uniform look as they have changed their outfits just twice since they were formed in 1982. So their current look is easy to pick as their best since 2000, utilizing their classic red and white colors which always fit the “Devil” theme. The great logo which makes the “NJ” look like a devil’s tail stands out nicely and is centered on the jersey.
The home uniforms look better with the almost all-red coloring with black at the collar and stripes but the away uniforms are also great with nearly all white and black and red striping. Either way, the logo just pops out at you and makes an impressive sight when the team takes the ice. The Devils have gone from jokes to Stanley Cup champions and back but at least they’re consistent in their appearance.
12 New York Islanders: 2010-Present Home & Away
The years have not been kind to the Islanders as a team that once won four straight Stanley Cups. This is the team that let themselves get “bought” by a supposed multi-millionaire only to find out he was a con man. Yet they still try to keep up and this look is an attempted throwback to the design they wore in their dynasty days. The blue is good but not too dark that it becomes black and hard to see on the ice.
The bright white design is better with the check pattern not being too obtrusive. Also, the orange helps make the logo pop nicely with the “Y” in “NY” shaped like a hockey stick. It’s a good throwback to when the Islanders were a championship team and hopefully they can get back into that frame once more.
11 New York Rangers: 2010-Present Home
The “sliding” font is very tricky to pull off but somehow the Rangers have always managed to do it. The team name going diagonally across the front of the jerseys could have been a mess but it actually looks great whenever the team plays, flowing nicely and not too distracting. While the away uniforms are okay, the home ones are better with the mostly blue coloring across the main body with white at the very bottom and red stripes marking the lower part and shoulders.
Some might criticize the lack of a team logo but this is much better as some of the past logo attempts haven’t been that good. The “Rangers” name across the front works just as well and even better with the great font that curves to the player names on the back. Overall, this is the best look yet for the Rangers and fits the New York home.
10 Ottawa Senators: 2007-Present
The original Senators played from 1917 to 1934 and the franchise was basically dead until a new one began in 1992. They’ve done their best to handle various designs but their current one seems to show all the trial and error was worth it. It’s not your traditional jersey but it works thanks to its simplicity with no stripes or large swab of color somewhere. The stripes are excellent in their design, mixing the red white and black and the “fang” design is not obtrusive and the way it frames the numbers on the back looks natural.
The logo is much better than past versions with the Roman solider head not too huge to dominate the shirt but stand out well. Overall, it's the best look yet for Ottawa and while it hasn’t led to huge success on the ice, it’s much better than previous designs.
9 Philadelphia Flyers: 2010-Present home & away
The Flyers were smart to create the cool-looking “flying P” logo design and kept with it for decades. They had a period in the 2000s with a black and white mix but these return them to their classic orange colors that fans love. These were first created as a third jersey, then a Winter Classic but fans loved it so much, the team made them the regular uniform. It’s easy to see why with the mix of orange and white that actually works well.
The way the colors shift on the shoulders and lower part is well done with a nice curve to each and having just logo on the front with the number and player name on the back is perfect. The orange is vibrant but not distracting and it looks fantastic on the ice. Philly may be a rough town but they appreciate a good design and this is one that lets the Flyers take off nicely.
8 Pittsburgh Penguins: 2002-2007 Home and Away
The Penguins usually go for their obvious colors of yellow and black but have moved to a different scheme over the years. They even played with blue and white for a time but that wasn’t met well by the fans and was quickly dropped. These jerseys, first used as third jerseys in 2002 before becoming regular ones, have a very stark look of black and white with some silver trims.
The logo of the penguin on skates stands out quite well and the swooping “V” pattern of the main design is also good. While many teams use the angled striping, Pittsburgh was doing it first and the simplicity of the design makes it all work. The Penguins have shifted to a new look using much like their early 90s look, but this design stands out much better to let the Penguins fly.
7 St. Louis Blues: 2008-Present Third Jerseys
St. Louis has yet to win a Stanley Cup in its 50 years of existence but at least they look good on the ice. They’ve kept their logo consistent of the “musical note” shape for a hockey stick form and it fits them well. They’ve stuck to blue and white colors to sell their name and are smart not to mess with that too much. These third jerseys are a good design for the team, the logo having the addition of the famed St. Louis Arch to help identify them better. The navy blue is a right color, not too deep to become black but still standing out well. The yellow and white trim helps it stand out almost neon-like and while the color could be a bit lighter, it still looks quite good. For a third jersey, it’s a great look and fits the Blues well.
6 San Jose Sharks: 2001-2007 Thirds
The Sharks boast one of the coolest logos in the NHL with the shark leaping out to bite a hockey stick in half. While early jerseys have played with “wavy ocean” colors, this one works a nearly all-black look that makes it more stark and eye-catching. Unlike other Sharks jerseys, it doesn’t have the distraction of numbers on the front and while the lack of laces can be annoying, it actually makes the colors stand out more.
It flows much better on the ice and not as overtly bright as the current jerseys the team uses. It’s more notable in that they’re third jerseys created in a time when those were home to some truly atrocious designs. While the current San Jose look is okay, these prove that being simple often works well.
5 Tampa Bay Lightning: 2007-11 Home & Away
You’d think the Lightning would have found a good look fast but instead they’ve had some pretty bad ones, playing way too much on the “storm” motif. However, this design, made after the whole Reebok Edge makeover for the NHL, shows a much better look overall. The logo is finally done right with the lightning bolt on the shield, not as horribly flashy as previous attempts.
Removing all the grey was a good move and a new take on the traditional hockey stripes. True, the numbers on the front were a distraction but it still works with the blue and black working for home games while the white and blue worked for the team name. They’ve moved to a new design but this one hits the spot nicely.
4 Toronto Maple Leafs: 2016-Present Home & Away
This jersey is great in how it utilizes classic design work for the Maple Leafs in a new way. With the Auston Matthews era beginning in Toronto, the Maple Leafs felt it would be a good time to get a fresh look on their logo. The logo is bigger than before and it looks 'leafier' which is a take on the team's classic design.
So far the new look has coincided with improved play on the ice for Toronto and their future looks bright. This look seems like it will be the look of winners for a long time. The Leafs were smart not to change too much in their look and simply reflect on their past in finding their new look.
3 Vancouver Canucks: 2007-Present Home & Away
The Canucks had mixed up colors a lot over the years, such as a black and yellow motif in the 1980s and darker blue in the ‘90s. This version takes the colors and design of the team’s classic 1970s look and updates it nicely. The logo’s font is nice with the arch over the “C” and has nice blocking for the player name on the back. The dark blue and green for home games works while the white/green/blue balance for the away games looks excellent.
The green stripes look more flashy on the blue shirt while striking a good balance for the away jerseys. It really is amazing how the designers took this older look and made it seem fresh for the current team's play. Overall, an excellent example of how the current look is the best for a team.
2 Washington Capitals: 2007-Present Home & Away
The Capitals have had very few uniform changes. Their first uniforms in 1974 were kept until all the way to 1995. Those were famous for their red and white colors that seemed to fit the team well. Which was why it was baffling when they went to a blue and white color with a terrible eagle logo followed by a design highlighting an idiotic “Capitol Dome” logo.
Thus, these versions are much better, returning to the original color while keeping a nice motif. The logo looks better with the hockey stick for the “L” in the team name and they keep the “stars and stripes” to a bare minimum. It’s not as overtly American as before and that’s good while the color chunks flow together rather than clash too much. Overall, a much better look for the Capitals that stands as their best look while not pushing the “USA” theme too much.
1 Winnipeg Jets: 2011-Present Home & Away
The Jets have a complicated history with the original franchise having moved to Arizona to become the Coyotes while the current one used to be the Atlanta Thrashers until 2011. So it’s a bit complicated to figure the right look which is why their current jerseys rank as the best almost by default. The logo of a flying jet looks impressive in a circle and centered properly to stand out well.
The blue is dark but it looks good when on the ice while the white stripes on the arms help it work well. The white versions look much better with the blue stripes and the blue shoulder pipping much better than the nearly all-blue of the home shirts. So far, the Jets have had some ups and downs on the ice but are still trying their best and at least their current look fits their new home well.
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