Over the years many hockey video game franchises have come and gone but none have been as consistently successful as the EA Sports NHL series. Similar to the Detroit Red Wings current 24 year playoff streak, EA Sports has been innovating the video hockey game world for over 20 years now. NHL ’16 takes another step in the right direction by providing an even more realistic playing experience and plenty of game modes to satisfy any hockey fan. If you are on the fence about this years release please read this great article by my editor Nate Francis. Nate takes a look at 4 reasons you should by NHL ’16 and really highlights what makes this years version even better.
One of the main things that changes every year is each individual player’s rating. The developers of NHL ’16 actually consult real NHL scouts to obtain their player ratings. Other than overall ratings you can also analyze each player’s unique skill set and see a rating of their potential. All of these player ratings are extremely important to success in NHL ’16 and will help you put together the best and most balanced team possible. Let’s take a look at how the current Red Wings players were rated in this years game.
Overall the Detroit Red Wings improved and became a more balanced team. In NHL ’16 the Red Wings have only one player on the NHL roster that is under 80 overall. Most players on the team either stayed the same rating or increased by a few points. Detroit’s best players for the most part did not have their ratings change but that is not a bad thing since they all got a year older. Pavel Datsyuk remains 93 overall along with Henrik Zetterberg who stays put at 92. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are also in the top ten highest rated centers in the whole game. Rounding out the captains, Niklas Kronwall stays at a respectable 89 overall and solidifies the Red Wings leadership core.
Most Improved Players
In total, 11 Detroit Red Wings players got a bump in their overall ratings. The most improved player on the team, according to NHL ’16, is Luke Glendening. “Backhand” Luke dramatically improved from 77 overall last year to a solid 82 this year. This gives the Red Wings great depth at center which we all know is a great thing. Another respectable jump in ratings is Danny Dekeyser who goes up from 81 to 85. That gives the Red Wings 4 defenseman that are 85 overall or better. A solid top four should make the Red Wings a fun team to control this season.
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Not surprisingly Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist mirrored each other by increasing their ratings by three points each leaving them both at 87 overall. Nyquist and Tatar are also seen as elite players in NHL ’16 giving the Red Wings 5 elite players on their roster. Already strong at center, Nyquist and Tatar will be dangerous on any line you decide to use them on. Other notable player growths include Riley Sheahan increasing 3 points to 85, Teemu Pulkkinen went from 75 to 78, and Mrazek rose two points to 84 overall. In my opinion Mrazek deserved a little bit of a bigger jump but I guess Mrazek will have to prove that he is not just an average goalie this year.
Biggest Losers (in ratings)
Most of the Red Wings improved in NHL ’16 but there were a few unlucky players that lost some overall rating points. Jakub Kindl tied for the biggest drop in points by going from an 83 to an 81. I believe this had more to do with the fact that he was a healthy scratch for most games instead of what he accomplished on the ice. It’s understandable why he dropped but I think that he performed well enough to stay the same given his limited amount of playing time. Another 2 point drop happened to Johan Franzen who went from an 86 to an 84. Injuries were the main reason in his decline and I bet it is his durability rating that dropped his overall rating considering his concussion history.
The only other player to drop more than a single point this year is Jimmy Howard. Howard went from a near elite level of 89 down to an above average rating of 87. I think injuries and inconsistency were the main two reasons Howard came down a few points. Now with Howard at 87 and Mrazek at 84 it is a much closer race for the starting position. The one disadvantage for Mrazek is that they gave him a low potential rating. This will most likely make it harder for Mrazek to grow each season and may tip the scales in Howard’s favor. I do not agree with Mrazek’s low potential rating especially since I consider him one of the best up and coming NHL goalies.
Overall Feelings about NHL ’16 Detroit Red Wings
NHL ’16 did a great job this year, as well as every other year, with their player rating system. They left me with very little to complain about and the Detroit Red Wings are a much improved team rating wise than last year. The Red Wings line up shows great balance and depth at all positions and boasts 2 of the top 50 players in the whole game. Red Wings fans will have the chance to be Jeff Blashill and Ken Holland at the same time in Be a GM mode enabling them to try out line combinations and utilize Mike Green as an offensive power house. Fans will also be able to promote Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha to the big team and fast-track them on their way to being superstars. Any way you look at it the Detroit Red Wings should be one of the more fun teams to control in NHL ’16. I can’t wait to get my new PS4 so I can play NHL ’16 when it comes out in less than a week on September 15.