Though it’s officially less than a month until the puck drops on the 2015-16 NHL regular season, hockey fans don’t have to wait that long to get their fix.
EA Sports’ bestselling NHL video game series is coming out with it’s newest iteration, NHL 16, next week. YouTube user xTechGaming did all of us regular folk the favor of sifting through each NHL team, showing every roster player’s rating in the game.
Aside from the rating, each player also received a “potential” rating, which outlines their chances of success and a recommended role.
I hope you’re fast with the spacebar, because he moves quick. Goalies first: The Chicago Blackhawks are at :23 in this video.
Corey Crawford: 88
Crawford didn’t receive ‘elite’ designation here, but his 88 rating is one of the highest for a goalie labelled as a ‘starter.’ It seems that Crawford’s rating is a reflection of his performance with the team the Blackhawks have in front of him, and in this game, that should be more than enough to win a few virtual Cups.
Scott Darling: 81
Though many teams’ back-up goalies have higher ratings, Darling’s score here is likely due to his limited time in the NHL. After another season as his pace, expect that number to creep on up. He was labelled as a ‘fringe starter,’ though, something not many back-ups can lay claim to in this game.
On to the players:
Artem Anisimov: 84
Anisimov’s rating and ‘top 9 forward’ designation seem spot on for a player expected to platoon the Blackhawks’ second line. Though his statistics with the Columbus Blue Jackets weren’t mind-numbing, Anisimov is expected to be a solid contributor for the ‘Hawks this season in the top 6.
Jonathan Toews: 94
Toews is NHL 16’s second-highest rated player, behind Sidney Crosby. This is the highest rating he has received in any NHL video game, and for a player that seems to get better with each season, he hasn’t left much up for debate.
Desjardins’ 80 rating is the lowest of any Blackhawks’ forward that played a steady pace last season, and for the role he plays, this rating is acceptable. He has the ability to put the odd puck in the net, but that’s not why the Blackhawks have him on the team.
Marcus Kruger: 81
Kruger’s rating seems a little low to me; for a player that is arguably one of the best fourth-liners in the game today, 81 seems a little stingy. Though his role is limited, his time spent on the penalty kill and his offensive production should warrant something in the 83 range.
Duncan Keith: 93
Keith is the game’s highest-rated defenseman, and for a player who many think to be the best in the NHL at that position, it is no wonder. The amount of minutes he plays, coupled with two Norris Trophies and a Conn Smythe, make this a very acceptable number.
Trevor van Riemsdyk: 76
Like Darling, van Riemsdyk’s rating is likely due to the limited time he spent at the NHL level last season. Though he was along for most of the Stanley Cup run, he will need a full season to show his wares, and hopefully crack the 80s.
Brent Seabrook: 89
Seabrook remains underrated as a player himself, but EA Sports recognizes his effectiveness with this rating. For a guy that has taken a backseat to Keith in recent years, an 89 reflects just how good he is defensively, and his clutch goals don’t hurt, either.
Trevor Daley: 86
Daley’s former role with the Dallas Stars is a solid indication of why he was given this rating. Though many may say this is too high, he has the potential to play to this rating with the core around him in Chicago this year, though his potential for a top-four spot is ‘low.’
David Rundblad: 78
Many will argue that Rundblad’s rating should not be more than TVR’s, but after next season, where both will see an increased role, expect it to bump up. Rundblad certainly has shown potential, and he could easily be a 80 player by next season.
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Hjalmarsson’s rating could be seen as low by ‘Hawks faithful, but after a look across the board, it seems acceptable. Hjalmarsson’s defensive prowess, and lack of offensive production due to his defensive nature, are what separate him from the ‘elite’ group.
Joakim Nordstrom: 75
Nordstrom’s rating is average for a player in his role, flip-flopping between the AHL and NHL. If his rating was to improve at all for next season, he would definitely need some increased time in the show.
Teuvo Teravainen: 81
Teravainen remains a barrel of untapped potential, and for this, his 81 rating is acceptable for now. If/when the ‘Hawks’ golden prospect has his breakout year, this could easily be in the 85+ range.
Bryan Bickell: 83
Bickell had a disastrous year in 2015, but EA Sports gave him an average rating for forwards, as well as ‘top 9’ designation. It seems that past took precedent over present when weighing his rating here.
Kris Versteeg: 83
Versteeg had a great first half to the season last year, and could have easily been an 85 if he kept that pace. However his 83 rating seems right on track, and he still has room to bump that up.
Marian Hossa: 90
At 36, Hossa is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, player in the league to crack the 90’s. He seems ageless on the ice and remains one of the ‘Hawks’ top guns even when most his age are considering retirement.
Ryan Garbutt: 81
Garbutt is a wild card of sorts, and an 81 rating might seem generous, depending on what role he plays with the Blackhawks this season. If he is a consistent fourth-line player, this rating could be spot-on.
Patrick Kane: 92
Though Toews clearly overshadowed Kane in NHL 16, he remains one of the game’s top-rated forwards, and for good reason. His stickhandling is second-to-none in past NHL games, and with an increase in shooting power this rating may even be a point too low.
Viktor Tikhonov: 72
Tikhonov hasn’t played in the NHL in nearly seven years, and with only 61 games under his belt in total, one couldn’t expect a great rating for the Latvian. This has the potential to skyrocket, but chances are high-70’s is his limit.
Marko Dano: 82
When comparing Dano to Teravainen, it seems that the former Blue Jacket’s role is the reason for his point of difference in rating. They seem to share the same potential, and same goes for Dano: high-80s is definitely attainable within a few seasons.
Andrew Shaw: 84
Shaw’s effectiveness as a bottom-six forward is the reason for his rating, edging out linemates Versteeg and Bickell by a point. His limited time spent on the first line also gave him a bump in production this season, which is huge for a third- or fourth-line guy such as him.
Jeremy Morin: 80
Morin’s rating certainly would have been lower had the Blackhawks not traded him to the Jackets mid-season, where he received solid playing time. However, Morin is definitely a wild card here, and it all depends on what role Joel Quenneville gives him out of training camp. He could likely contribute at both levels.
What do you think of the ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
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