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NHL 21 Ratings Reactions So Far - Wait, Stamkos Is a Top 10 Deker?

nhl 21 ratings reactions

NHL 21

NHL 21 Ratings Reactions So Far - Wait, Stamkos Is a Top 10 Deker?

In preparation for the release of NHL 21, the development team over at EA Sports has begun to share — through Instagram @easportsnhl — their player ratings and attributes for the upcoming NHL 21. These NHL 21 ratings reactions have included a high level of criticism from fans and critics of the series. I like many others have found myself in disbelief over the last couple days — especially when it comes to EA’s list of “Top 10 Deking” players, which I’ll dive into later.

Now, when it comes to this series, I also have to point out the elephant in the room — hey, this is Operation Sports, it’s what we do — and mention the lack of player separation. It’s fun to talk about ratings, but until franchise players play differently than star players, and star players play differently than depth players, overalls will remain merely just a number in some respects.

But that is another discussion for another day. Below, in no particular order, are a few things that stood out to me.

The Stanley Cup Conundrum

A little over a week ago, in preparation for game one of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars, EA shared this post highlighting the two highest-rated players on each team. So, to me a few things jump out immediately. On the Dallas Stars side of things, It is entirely questionable to label Tyler Seguin as the Stars’ best player.

Secondly, if you are going to label Seguin as the team’s best player, his 88 overall seems much too high. Over the past six seasons, Seguin has only reached the 80 point mark once. An 89 overall for Tyler Seguin probably puts him in the top 20 or 30 players in NHL 21, but Seguin finished the 2019-2020 regular season 70th in points. Furthermore, during the Stars’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals, Seguin only registered 2 goals in 26 games.

Yes, supposedly Seguin was playing through an injury but still he is not as dominant as his 88 overall rating would lead someone to believe. Personally, I would give Seguin a 85 overall rating for NHL 21. Additionally, I would also have defenseman Miro Heiskanen as the Stars best player.

Now, on the Tampa Bay Lightning side of things, there isn’t much to argue about with Nikita Kucherov getting a 92 rating. However, I personally would give the highest rating to defenseman and recent Conn Smythe Trophy winner Victor Hedman.

NHL 21 Ratings Reactions – Top 10 Deking List

Oh boy! This post was a painful one and has rightfully taken the most heat from most folks. Almost every serious comment mentions a disappointment at seeing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos at number eight on this list. Stamkos, the Lightning captain, is no doubt a bonafide sniper and all-star talent. However, what Stamkos is not is a deker or dangler. Stamkos is a player who predominately has made a living setting up in the slot, away from the puck, waiting for teammates to set him up for one-timers and then firing them into the back of the net.

This is not to say that Stamkos is not capable of dangling a defenseman or two, because no doubt he is more than capable, but to go as far as to call him a top 10 deker in the NHL is a mistake. Furthermore, what makes this all that more egregious is the fact that so many legit dekers with filthy hands have been snubbed from this list. Players like Nathan MacKinnon, Mathew Barzal, Brayden Point, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Aleksander Barkov — to name a few — are all known more for their deking than Stamkos.

For me personally, I take Steven Stamkos, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Johnny Gaudreau off of the top 10 list and add — in no particular order — Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Mitch Marner. An honorable mention of mine would also go to Mr. Shootout himself T.J. Oshie of the Washington Capitals.

As NHL 21 gets closer to release, I am certain there will be more reactions and lists to discuss. For now, what things have you noticed or been frustrated by? What would your lists look like?

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  1. Well put toughts. EA NHL must be only big Sports game where player attributes are badly done as attribute seperation and accuracy. Also player positions and playing styles are also wrong, but at least those can be changed even after starting Franchise Mode.
    And funny thing is, on gameplay level there is difference on player behavior if you edit those player attributes yourself to more realistic and more seperation.
    Like almost every player have same top speed and acceleration on game, but example real life big guys can also be very speedy with lower acceleration. And some skillfull guys are good at acceleration, but not as good with top speed.
    To create bigger difference on ice, all EA need to do is create better rosters. It would be also great if player types would really affect gameplay, not just chemistry.
    I think the primary concern is getting the "right" overall rating rather than accurately depicting the skills of the player. For example, Johnny Gaudreau was one of the 10 fastest skaters when he's not even the fastest Flame. However, his overall rating would suck if you gave him an 89 in skating or something because you can't exactly give him a high body checking rating.
    capnlarge
    I think the primary concern is getting the "right" overall rating rather than accurately depicting the skills of the player. For example, Johnny Gaudreau was one of the 10 fastest skaters when he's not even the fastest Flame. However, his overall rating would suck if you gave him an 89 in skating or something because you can't exactly give him a high body checking rating.

    And that shows that the overall calculation is incorrect. You should be able to set skills accurately and still get a realistic overall depth chart. Perhaps give more value to mental traits and stuff like that.
    Ac3way
    Well put toughts. EA NHL must be only big Sports game where player attributes are badly done as attribute seperation and accuracy. Also player positions and playing styles are also wrong, but at least those can be changed even after starting Franchise Mode.
    And funny thing is, on gameplay level there is difference on player behavior if you edit those player attributes yourself to more realistic and more seperation.
    Like almost every player have same top speed and acceleration on game, but example real life big guys can also be very speedy with lower acceleration. And some skillfull guys are good at acceleration, but not as good with top speed.
    To create bigger difference on ice, all EA need to do is create better rosters. It would be also great if player types would really affect gameplay, not just chemistry.

    Guess you don’t play Madden lol

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