The TPA Reverse Retro Jersey Draft

After months of speculation and weeks of hype, the NHL and Adidas released their Reverse Retro series on Monday. The response from the hockey community was largely positive, as many of the sweaters’ designs paid homage to cool ideas from the past while they maintained a clean and modern look for the present. There were also a few clunkers because nothing the NHL does can be completely perfect. So how do they all stack up?

There are few things hockey fans like debating as much as jerseys, so a few of us at TPA decided to engage in some friendly competition in celebration of the new sweaters’ release. We drafted the Reverse Retro jerseys into separate teams, and now leave it to you, the masses, to decide who came out on top.

Special thanks to Jacksonville Icemen writer Julian Wicker and Utah Grizzlies writer Elijah Webb for helping me with this project, it was a ton of fun.

We did the draft in 10 rounds, each of us having a team of 10 jerseys in the end. That means one lucky team went undrafted. The draft was ordered snake-style:

ROUND 1- Julian, Elijah, Avery

Round 2- Avery, Elijah, Julian

This was the best method to promote fairness and integrity in the competition. I wanted to cheat by just buying all of the jerseys, but this was deemed “unfair” and “outrageously expensive”. So anyway, here’s how the draft turned out:

No. 1: Julian picks the Anaheim Ducks

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At the top of the first round, Julian went with the Anaheim Ducks “Wild Wing” Jersey. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim always had distinct colours and a memorable mascot thanks to their Disney ties and their unique use on this jersey helped Julian make this selection.

No. 2: Elijah picks the Washington Capitals

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Elijah happens to be a Caps fan, but this is far from a homer pick. The Screaming Eagle makes its return and the shoulder crest is also inspired. Those elements along with the bold color scheme make for a good jersey.

No. 3: Avery picks the Carolina Hurricanes

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There are few things in the world quite as cool as the Hartford Whalers. The logo is a W, but the negative space in the middle creates an H. The colours are fantastic. The whale on the shoulder is adorable. This is a great sweater.

No. 4: Avery picks the Colorado Avalanche

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I really hope NHL teams play outside of their division this year, because a Whalers jersey against a Nordiques jersey matchup would be must-see television. The Avs will celebrate their 25th season in Denver this year and this crisp sweater is a great celebration of the legacy the organization has formed in both Quebec and Colorado.

No. 5: Elijah picks the Vegas Golden Knights

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Despite a hot start in the NHL, the Golden Knights don’t have a lot of history to retro reverse yet. The red pays homage to previous teams who have played in Vegas and the rest of the jersey is quite unique. Throughout the draft, Elijah picked some of the boldest and most unconventional jerseys. This one leads the way.

No. 6: Julian picks the Arizona Coyotes

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The Coyotes already have top-tier throwbacks in their black Kachina jerseys, so they mixed it up a little bit for this line. Julian liked the similarities to the Kachina while still feeling quite different. In my opinion, the NHL can always use more purple.

No. 7: Julian picks the Minnesota Wild

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I was so sad this jersey got swiped. I love the old North Stars’ colours. But so did Julian, so he took it at No. 7. The Wild still have one of the weirdest logos in the league, though.

No. 8: Elijah picks the Los Angeles Kings

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See? Purple is so nice. Elijah picked up this jersey because of the history it represents. The Kings have gone through many rebrands through the last half-century, so it’s good to see some colour after years of black and white.

No. 9: Avery picks the Florida Panthers

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Why did the Panthers change logos? I’ll never understand. This jersey is gorgeous and feels like a perfect mix of the past with the current colours and style.

No. 10: Avery picks the Calgary Flames

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Fire is cool. Horses are cool. A horse on fire who also shoots fire out of his nose is cool. Welcome back, Blasty.

No. 11: Elijah picks the Vancouver Canucks

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Elijah loves the green on these jerseys. The gradient fade is really slick and looks a lot better than the last time they did it. Side note: Vancouver has had so many jersey colors over the years. And logos. And playoff disappointments.

No. 12: Julian picks the Pittsburgh Penguins

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It’s not all yellow. That’s a win in my book. Penguins should be cold and this jersey’s colors feels chilly and sleek. Julian likes how it is an exact reversal of a usual Pittsburgh home jersey, with the addition of the lettering down the middle.

No. 13: Julian picks the San Jose Sharks

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Maybe the best logo of the entire line right here. The retro shark almost single-handedly drove Julian to make this pick and it’s hard to blame him.

No. 14: Elijah picks the New Jersey Devils

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Look at the green. Look at it and love it. Look at it and wonder why they would ever go to black. Christmas colors forever. That is all.

No. 15: Avery picks the Montreal Canadiens

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This is a clean jersey. It would have been very difficult to mess up a Canadiens jersey, and fortunately, the designers weren’t up to that task. Simple and distinct.

No. 16: Avery picks the Chicago Blackhawks

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I’m a big fan of these traditional jerseys. This is a good sweater for a historically rich franchise like the Hawks. The space between the “Black” and “Hawks” is a great historical nod. Good stuff here.

No. 17: Elijah picks the Winnipeg Jets

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Elijah likes the colour scheme here and likes the classy logo. I would’ve been over the moon with an Atlanta Thrashers throwback, but life is full of disappointments.

No. 18: Julian picks the Columbus Blue Jackets

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More like the Columbus Red Jackets, am I right?

No. 19: Julian picks the Saint Louis Blues

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More like the St. Louis Reds, am I right?

No. 20: Elijah picks the Toronto Maple Leafs

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Over 50 years ago, this is the logo the Maple Leafs were rocking when they won their last Stanley Cup. Elijah like the slightly lighter blue the jersey uses, as well as that historical logo.

No. 21: Avery picks the Tampa Bay Lightning

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This is a perfect blend of the Lightning’s 2004 Cup win and their 2020 Cup win. The logo is great and the jersey’s simple design works to its advantage.

No. 22: Avery picks the Boston Bruins

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This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.

No. 23: Elijah picks the Detroit Red Wings

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This probably wouldn’t have been my pick here, but Elijah liked the simple design and the fact that this is the first all-white jersey in Detroit history.

No. 24: Julian picks the Buffalo Sabres

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Julian would’ve preferred if the sword logo was switched the buffalo logo on the shoulder, but likes the rest of the jersey enough to not be too concerned with the logo placement.

No. 25: Julian picks the Nashville Predators

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The silver is back in Smashville and Julian was a big fan. I like the way the sleeves look on this one.

No. 26: Elijah picks the Ottawa Senators

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Ottawa saw what Columbus and St. Louis were up to and decided they could do it better. This jersey is very red. Elijah liked the black striping and the logo. The 2D Senator does a lot for me hear, because the red is hard to look past.

No. 27: Avery picks the New York Rangers

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I really thought I had already picked this jersey, but was thankful it was still around when I realized I had not. The Statue of Liberty logo is good. The color scheme leaves a little to be desired, but the Rangers have yet another cool jersey on their hands.

No. 28: Avery picks the Edmonton Oilers

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It’s not very exciting. But it reminds me of Wayne Gretzky. And anything that reminds me of Wayne Gretzky gets a positive grade in my book.

No. 29: Elijah picks the New York Islanders

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Julian and I were astonished when Elijah made this pick. This is just a regular Islanders jersey, but darker. But Elijah liked the color scheme and stuck by his convictions. But for now, the fisherman faithful remain unappeased.

No. 30: Julian picks the Dallas Stars

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My favorite rivalry in the NHL is the Dallas Stars and making good jerseys. This one is so close, but there’s just too much white. The details are harder to see than they should and it just reeks of lost potential. Julian chose this one over our undrafted team because it tries to be unique, but falls short.

Undrafted: The Philadelphia Flyers

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This is not a bad jersey. I probably would’ve picked it next if I had had the chance. The Flyer colours are good, as always, and the design isn’t bad. But it’s just a regular Flyers jersey. That’s the problem with having the same design since the beginning of your franchise: what are you supposed to throw back to? Julian and I would’ve both drafted this one over the Islanders and I would’ve picked it over Detroit, but it’s a worthy contender at the bottom of this list.

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So how did we do? Who came out on top? How would you rate these jerseys? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us how wrong we are. Maybe the debate will keep us occupied until hockey season is finally ready to begin.

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