By: BNG Writing Staff | Follow us on Twitter @BlackNGoldPod
Earlier this year, EA Sports released the 31st edition of their NHL video game series. The game was released for PlayStation and Xbox consoles and featured a Frostbite engine for the first time in the NHL series.
Aside from hardware upgrades, an extended playlist of 43 songs and generally favorable reviews on gameplay, NHL 22 also made headlines for its upgrades. In January 2022, EA Sports will release an update that brings on IIHF women’s national teams, as well as junior men’s teams.
However, the star feature of NHL 22 closely mirrors previous victories for the game series: all-star talent. Though a video game might seem peripheral to the success of a major sports league, participation in a video game simulation is an essential indicator of a league’s health.
As eSports become more popular and established, the NHL can segue its brand into new realms. Already, EA Sports hosts the EA Sports Hockey Series for its NHL games. Meanwhile, the NHL hosts its own NHL’s Gaming World Championship.
Both are forays into league-sponsored eSports moves, like the Premier League and the NFL’s Madden Championship Series. And gamers can make a pretty penny while playing as their favorite team; even back in 2019, major competitions for the top five titles in eSports (such as DOTA 2 and League of Legends) were worth millions.
From a gaming perspective, which Bruins players would help a gamer for farthest in the EA Sports and NHL-sponsored leagues? And, of these selections, were Bruins rated fairly?
Patrice Bergeron, 91
#10 Overall Player Rating
#5 Top Ten Centers
Though it should come as no surprise to fans, Patrice Bergeron’s years of experience will be a valuable resource for players in each of the four primary game mods. Bergeron’s well-rounded talent and recognition have even landed him a few promo spots with the video game series prior to its 15 October release.
His passing and puck skills (both 92) are surpassed only by his defense ratings. On defense, Bergeron will go the distance in terms of awareness, faceoffs, and stick checking. He also received a high 95 for his poise.
Brad Marchand, 91
#2 Top 10 Left Wings
What (EA Sports thinks) Marchand lacks in disciplines and defensive faceoffs, he clearly makes up for with his puck skills and aggression. Overall, his character will be best used on offense, where gamers can take advantage of a 94 rating in terms of wrist shot accuracy and a 93 in slap shot accuracy.
Like Bergeron, Marchand excels in poise—though low ratings in discipline affect his overall senses ratings.
David Pastrnak, 91
#3 Top Ten Right Wings
Though Pastrnak lacks the same degree of experience as Bergeron and Marchand, the player’s excellent skills in puck skills (an overall 95 rating) help make him a powerhouse on offense. The wing has a 95 rating in puck control, passing, deking, wrist shot accuracy, and offensive awareness.
However, players will need to keep an eye on Pastrnak’s physical ratings. While fans are well-aware he’s better at starting fights (and brawls) than he is at ending them, his 65 rating for fighting skill seems very low.
Charlie McAvoy, 87
Defensemen Charlie McAvoy won’t offer the same offensive power as the other names on this list, but his reliability in skating and puck skills will be a strong asset for any team. Particularly, his passing and puck control (both 88 ratings) will prove valuable on the rink. He also packs a powerful shot, with a wrist shot power rating of 87.
However, McAvoy’s greatest skills are acceleration (88), agility (88), endurance (90), and speed (88). In real life and gaming simulation, McAvoy is a trusty workhorse.
Taylor Hall, 87
What wing Taylor Hall lacks in defense and physical ratings he more than makes up for in terms of his skating and shooting skills. Like McAvoy, he’s handy for gritty games—though his shooting skills make him more useful on an offensive break.
In particular, his wrist shots (91 rating for power and 89 for accuracy) and his slap shots (90 rating for power and 89 for accuracy) will be incredibly valuable for gamers.