If video game hockey is any indication of its real-life counterpart, than it would seem that fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets will be in for a fun 2018-19 season.
Pre-order copies of NHL 19 are already out in the wild with the game slated to release worldwide on Friday. According to the latest iteration of EA Sports’ annual hockey simulation, those four teams are the best regular-roster teams in the game, each with overall ratings of 93.
Here’s a full rundown of each team’s rating:
Take a peek at the individual player ratings of each Canadian club:
No surprises here as Johnny Gaudreau (90), Sean Monahan (87) and Mark Giordano (86) lead the pack for the Flames. One thing that did strike us as odd, however, was goalie Mike Smith labelled as a “fringe starter” even though he has a very respectable 86 rating.
As previously mentioned, McDavid is the best player in the game with his sky-high 94 rating. The drop-off after him, however, is steep. Other than Leon Draisaitl’s 87, the next-highest rating is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ and Oscar Klefbom’s 84.
The game’s roster hasn’t been updated to reflect the Max Pacioretty trade, so you’ll have to try to ignore seeing him and his 86 rating in there. The players that the Habs traded Pacioretty for, Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki, who in the game is actually on the OHL’s Owen Sound roster, have been photoshopped into the images below, and they come in at 82 and 67, respectively.
The best player on the Candiens roster, as he should be, is Carey Price and his whopping 92 rating, the highest among all goaltenders.
Although he may be rumoured to be on the block, Erik Karlsson is the Senators’ best player in both real life and in the video game, coming in at a 90 rating.
A point of concern here is the Senators’ left-wing depth. According to the game, they have a lot of them, but none of them have a rating in the 80s.
Toronto Maple Leafs
By now you likely know all you need to about John Tavares and the Maple Leafs’ young stars. The game certainly reflects all that, but what’s most intriguing here is seeing Nathan Horton on the roster.
While technically part of the team, Horton’s been on the Leafs’ long-term injured reserve list since he first arrived in Toronto back in February 2015. Hence why it’s rather curious that he even has a rating, let-alone the 70 he was given since no one really knows anything about his abilities anymore.
Two key pieces of the Canucks’ rebuild share the team’s top individual rating with Bo Horvat and Calder Trophy finalist Brock Boeser each coming in at 85.
As one of the only 93-rated teams, this Jets team is, as you can imagine, stacked with lots of players rated in the mid-to-high 80s. Somewhat strangely, however, despite the high overall team rating, the Jets lack a single player in the 90s with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler both just missing the cut with their 89s.