EA SPORTS NHL 21 revealed its Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) Team of the Year, on New Year’s Day, recognizing the most outstanding hockey performances from the 2020 season. Each year, the team selects 6 players, one at each position, they believe makes up the best line in hockey, from the calendar year.
The roster of players, headlined by two members of the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, will receive both in and out-of-game recognition, including limited edition skates and, for the goalie, a mask that signals the prestige of the award.
From a list of 36 nominees, EA SPORTS announced the Team of the Year lineup below:
- Andrei Vasilevskiy – At just 25 years old, Vasilevskiy enjoyed a nearly perfect season. The Russian netminder led NHL goalies in regular season wins, only to be capped off by backstopping his Tampa Bay Lightning team to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 2003-04.
- Victor Hedman – Just as he does in Tampa Bay, Hedman will be key to the last line of defense in from of teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy. Hedman not only recorded 55 points over 66 games during the regular season, but the sweet-skating Swede averaged nearly a point-per-game in the Stanley Cup Playoff en route to being awarded the prestigious Conn Smythe trophy, awarded to the playoff’s most outstanding player.
- Cale Makar – Among the most recognizable names in the NHL’s youth movement, Makar makes his first NHL TOTY at just 21 years old. The rookie defenseman brings nightly excitement to the Colorado Avalanche blueline, showing his offensive prowess with 50 points in 57 games played. The UMass product was awarded this year’s Calder Trophy, given to the league’s best rookie.
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) January 4, 2021
- Artemi Panarin – The upstart New York Rangers relied heavily on the Russian sniper who posted a ridiculous 95 points in 69 regular-season games in 2020. His 32 goals were a career-high despite the shortened season and his quick release figures to give competition nightmares both in and out of NHL 21.
- Leon Draisatl – The NHL’s MVP this past season makes his Team of the Year debut. Combining with Conor McDavid to form the NHL’s most feared duo, Draisaitl led the NHL is both assists (67) and points (110), leading the Oilers to the fifth-best record in the Western Conference.
- David Pastrňák – NHL’s leading goal scorer is coming off his career-best season with the Boston Bruins. His 48 goals were tied with cover athlete Alex Ovechkin for the league’s lead, helping push the Bruins to a league-best 100 regular-season points.
Each of the players will receive both in and out-of-game recognition:
- In-game: Each player will have a special Team of the Year HUT item, their highest-rated item of the year
- Out-of-game: The six players will be awarded limited edition skates and, for Andrei Vasilevskiy, a custom mask designed by David Gunnarsson of DaveArt.
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) January 2, 2021