NHL 16 Reveals Top 50 Players
NHL 16, the next EA Sports game to be released, finally revealed player ratings for its top 50 players. Really, they did a good job. It would seem like getting the best players in the league accurately rated would be easy, but the nuances that separate the best from the very best can be infinitesimal. All things considered, there aren’t too many surprises.
The Breakout Stars
(Frederik Andersen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan Johansen, Jamie Benn, Roman Josi, Jakub Voracek Vladimir Tarasenko)
Last year saw several players explode onto the scene, and EA did a good job of reflecting those trends without overvaluing one season. Frederik Andersen might be a little high at 89, seeing as he’s never played more than 54 games in a season. Jakub Voracek comes in at a 90 overall, which is the same as Claud Giroux, who has a longer streak of consistency. Otherwise, it’s a solid group of young guys, and their ratings reflect that.
In Their Prime
(Evgeni Malkin, Ryan McDonagh, Erik Karlsson, Anze Kopitar, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, just about everyone else)
This category might be the hardest to quantify, as you have a lot of players with good track records who might even be better the next year, or could mysteriously fall off the face of the earth. Ultimately, it will come down to gameplay to see how well balanced these upper tiers of players are. How big is the gap between a 90 and a 92? Is Anze Kopitar’s 92 significantly different than Patrick Kane’s 92?
The biggest gripe comes at the very top. Sidney Crosby is the highest rated player at 96. Ok, no real argument there. However, he’s a full two points higher than the next player, Jonathan Toews, at 94. The gap between Crosby and the rest of the league closed last year (he didn’t lead in any offensive category), and these ratings don’t reflect that.
Also, Alex Ovechkin is rated the same as Steven Stamkos, who scored ten fewer goals than Ovechkin. Rick Nash, who was one goal behind Stamkos, is nowhere to be found. If EA whiffed anywhere, it was in getting the very best right.
(Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa)
As expected, not really too many players here. Pekka Rinne is pushing being on this list, but at 32, he’s still at the tail end of his prime. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are no surprise. Enjoy playing as Datsyuk while you can, there won’t be another puck handler, virtual or real, for a while. Marian Hossa was really the only surprise. He’s still a good, solid player, perhaps even a hall of famer, but 90 feels awfully high for a 34-year-old who had his fewest points per game since 2000.
NHL 16 comes out September 15th.