Kudos to EA for getting the season opening NHL 21 roster update out fairly quickly this year. The season opening roster update added players who weren’t previously in the NHL, including Kirill Kaprizov, Alexander Romanov, and Ilya Sorokin. Furthermore, rookies such as K’Andre Miller and Tim Stüetzle have been added to their NHL clubs. Additionally, players who were playing college hockey in the NCAA, such as Ian Mitchell of the Chicago Blackhawks, have been added as well.
Having said that, these roster updates are far from perfect and they still feature a number of glaring mistakes in them. These are mistakes that could be remedied by a roster share feature or a more elegant way to combine created rosters with the official EA updates, but alas.
Now, some folks will ignore the annoying mistakes I see and they might not be a huge deal to them. However, to me these mistakes/errors/omissions highlight a lack of attention to detail. Some of the things I’ll point out below have been unchanged for years in this series, and it’s why we need more control over the process.
Again, most of these things are minor in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, while I believe NHL 21 is heading in the right direction, and none of these surface errors will impact the actual gameplay in NHL 21, these roster issues are worth mentioning for those who do want to customize their own rosters to make them even more accurate.
The examples I point out below are things you can then use to update your roster on a more global scale if you wish. For example, EA could get away with saying certain younger players “do have the potential to be elite” if certain other things were true. However, If players like Corey Perry, who are way past their primes and have not significantly contributed in years, are still given “elite” potential, what kind of “roster updating” is EA actually doing? Additionally, there are no excuses for listing players who rarely score goals as snipers or players who barely record many assists as playmakers. The proof is in the stats.
Below are some of the surface errors that really stood out to me. Again, most of the things I highlight will be more surface/detail-oriented errors. I won’t touch on the overall rating system.
NHL 21 Season Opening Roster Deep Dive
Honda West Division
Las Vegas Golden Knights
- Shea Theodore – Above average defensively but much more of an offensive defenseman.
- Brayden McNabb – Should be more appropriately labeled as a defensive defenseman. Has only produced 90 points in 472 NHL games.
- William Carrier – Has scored a total of 21 goals in 209 NHL games and yet is listed as a sniper.
- Marc-Andre Fleury – The backup on his team and no longer an elite goaltender.
- Zach Parise – During his eight seasons in Minnesota has only finished with more assists than goals three times. Parise is more of a power forward and not a natural playmaker.
- Joel Eriksson Ek – Listed as a sniper but only has 27 goals in 216 NHL games.
- Victor Rask – 22 points over his last two seasons (92 games) and regularly plays in the bottom six not top six.
- Ryan Hartman – Regularly plays on the fourth line not top nine but not a huge stretch.
- Cam Talbot – Not elite, hasn’t even been a starting goalie the last two years.
- Erik Johnson – Above average defensively but not elite and doesn’t offer much offensively.
- Brandon Saad – Career high for points in a season is 53, which I don’t think qualifies as elite.
- Valeri Nichushkin – Once went a full season (57 games played) without recording a goal. Furthermore, his career high is 14 goals back in 2013-2014. Not a sniper.
- Matt Calvert – 10 year veteran’s career high in goals is 13. Not a sniper.
- Kiefer Sherwood – A career minor leaguer thus far. Not top nine.
St. Louis Blues
- Jaden Schwartz – Gifted offensively but his career high in points is only 63. Not elite.
- Justin Faulk – Consistently good earlier in his career in Carolina but hasn’t transitioned his game since arriving in St. Louis. Not elite.
- Sammy Blais – 11 assists in 85 NHL games. Not a playmaker.
- Alexander Steen – Retired shortly before the season started.
- Jordan Binnington – Stanley Cup Champion and huge reason St. Louis won the Stanley Cup two years ago. Not a fringe starter.
- Ville Husso – Currently has a goals against average over 7 for his career (just two games), but still not a starter.
- Darcy Kuemper – Has been one of the best goalies in the NHL over the last three seasons. Much more than a fringe starter.
- Adin Hill – Just 30 games over three seasons but not impressive stats. Not a starter.
- Drake Caggiula – Undrafted and only has registered double digit goals once during his career. Not a top six forward.
- Marian Hossa – No longer active.
Los Angeles Kings
- Jonathan Quick – Now 35 and had losing records the last two seasons. No longer an elite goaltender.
- Jeff Carter – Over the last three seasons, 35 points is Carter’s highest output. At 36 years of age, he is no longer elite.
- Trevor Moore – 12 assists in 73 NHL games. Not a playmaker.
- Ryan Getzlaf – 36 years of age now and hasn’t topped 50 points in three seasons. No longer elite.
- Hampus Lindholm – An above average defender but definitely not elite.
- Ryan Kesler – No longer an active NHL player.
- Ryan Miller – He’s 40 now and clearly not an NHL starter anymore.
- Anthony Stolarz – Career high of 10 starts in a season. Not a starter.
San Jose Sharks
- Devan Dubnyk – No longer an elite goaltender.
- Martin Jones – Probably has never been an elite goaltender.
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic – 33 now and above average but not elite.
- Marcus Sorensen – 31 goals in 203 NHL games. Not a sniper.
- Patrick Marleau – 26 goals in his last 148 NHL games. No longer a sniper.
- Rudolfs Balcers – 6 goals in 51 NHL games. Not a sniper.
Discover Central Division
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Ryan McDonagh – A very good and reliable defenseman but not in the elite category.
- Tyler Johnson – Not an elite forward. More so a top nine.
- Patrick Maroon – Not a top nine forward. Regularly relegated to fourth line minutes.
- Marian Gaborik – No longer an active NHL player.
- Alexander Wennberg – A career high of 59 points back in 2016-2017. Not an elite forward.
- Samuel Montembeault – Still young but a career backup with a career save percentage under .900. More of a backup and not a fringe starter.
- Chris Driedger – 26-year-old goalie and only 16 NHL games under his belt. More of a backup and not a fringe starter.
- Brady Skjei – A career high in points of 39 and a career plus/minus rating of minus 31. Not an elite defenseman.
- Jordan Staal – Has failed to reach 30 points in each of the last two seasons. No longer a top six forward.
- Nino Niederreiter – Has only amassed 34 goals over the past three seasons. Not a sniper.
- Jesper Fast – 55 goals in 425 NHL games. Not even remotely close to being a sniper.
- James Reimer – Has not started 30 games in either of the last two seasons. Not starting caliber goalie.
- Matt Duchene – Coming off of a 42 point season. Not elite numbers.
- Ryan Johansen – Has never lived up to his potential and coming off of a 36 point season. Not an elite forward.
- Mikael Granlund – Has only topped the 20 goal mark twice in his eight NHL seasons. Not an elite forward.
- Calle Jarnkrok – Has never scored 20 goals in his seven year career. Not even remotely close to being a sniper.
- Rocco Grimaldi – Was able to score a good amount of goals at the AHL level, but is now an NHL regular and hasn’t lit the lamp at same rate. Not a sniper.
- Pekka Rinne – He’s now 38 and no longer an elite NHL goaltender.
Detroit Red Wings
- Bobby Ryan – Over the last four seasons, 15 goals is Ryan’s high. Not a sniper.
- Darren Helm – Regularly relegated to fourth line minutes. Not top nine forward.
- Frans Nielsen – Regularly relegated to fourth line minutes. Not top nine forward.
- Michael Rasmussen – 8 goals in 66 NHL games. Not a sniper.
- Adam Erne – 32 points in 172 NHL games. Not a top six forward.
- Henrik Zetterberg – No longer an active NHL player.
- Calvin Pickard – A career minor league goaltender. Not an NHL fringe starter.
Columbus Blue Jackets
- Gustav Nyquist – A very consistent and reliable forward but not in the elite category.
- Mikko Koivu – He’s 37 now and regularly playing in the bottom six not the top six.
- Mikhail Grigorenko – 23 goals in 223 NHL games. Not a sniper
- Nathan Gerbe – 7 goals over his last 79 NHL games. Not a sniper
- Zack Smith – Regularly relegated to fourth line minutes, so not top nine.
- Alexander Nylander – Hasn’t lived up to his potential. Still young but not even close to elite.
- Malcolm Subban – A career backup goaltender with unimpressive numbers. Not an NHL starting goalie.
- Alexander Radulov – Consistent but not of elite status.
- Jamie Benn – Very good but two bad years in a row. No longer an elite forward.
- Joe Pavelski – Consistent but probably not elite at this stage of his career.
What type of errors or incorrect information stood out to you? Did you notice anything I didn’t touch on here in part one?