8 NHL Players EA Sports Continues To Low Ball (And 7 They Overrate)

NHL 18 has been out for over two months now and we're also almost two months into the 2017-18 NHL regular season. As such, poor player ratings by EA Sports are becoming increasingly clear, whether it's overrated stars or underappreciated young talent. We get player ratings aren't an exact science, but EA Sports has been attempting to perfect its ratings system for over 20 years and it still seems as if they don't have a clue what they're doing; or, at the very least, they don't have a system in place to develop fair and accurate ratings. You would think they would have some sort of complex system, but it appears year after year that they just look at statistics and toss out a random number. Although, there's also a case to be made that they might even ignore statistics in some years and just hand a player a high rating based on reputation alone.

It's not even just the overall rating that is flawed - it's the individual attribute ratings. For instance, Ryan Suter is a top-ten defenseman in the game with an 89 overall rating, and while that's not that egregious, it's a little strange to see he has ratings of 88 for speed and 82 for deking. His defensive numbers should be off the charts, as should his shot and maybe even playmaking, but the 32 year old doesn't quite have the speed or offensive creativity his ratings suggest.

15 Low Ball: Jeff Skinner (84)

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it's because of where he plays, but Jeff Skinner doesn't get much love from EA Sports; in fact, he's criminally underrated among media members and fans as well. The 25 year old is one of the fastest skaters in the league and has been a consistent offensive force since joining the league as an 18 year old rookie in 2010. However, he plays in Carolina so he is often overlooked.

14 Overrate: Shea Weber (89)

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Let's begin this not by discussing Shea Weber's rating, but the player he was traded for over a year ago - P.K. Subban. The Nashville Predators defenseman has an overall rating of 87, which is probably pretty accurate if not a point too low. Meanwhile, Weber has an 89 overall rating, which is one of the highest among defenseman in the game. For starters, Subban is a better all-around defenseman than Weber, so there's a glaring mistake already.

13 Low Ball: Sebastian Aho (82)

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Is Carolina a great hockey team and market? Not exactly. But that shouldn't excuse EA Sports from completely missing the mark when it comes to evaluating the team's roster. They pretty badly on Jeff Skinner and did the same with second-year player Sebastian Aho, who received an 82 overall rating after scoring 24 goals and adding 25 assists as a rookie. It wouldn't have been hard to expect Aho was going to continue to improve (he has 18 points in 21 games this season) as he is the catalyst for the team's offense and has had success on the international stage.

12 Overrate: Henrik Lundqvist (88)

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating Henrik Lundqvist is a tricky task because he's been so inconsistent over the past few seasons. Once one of the most dominating goaltenders in the league, the former Vezina Trophy winner posted a career-worst 2.48 goals against average in 2015-16. If that wasn't a sign for EA Sports to lower his overall rating, the 2.74 goals against average he posted in 2016-17 should have been. Beyond that, he had a career-worst .910 save percentage last season.

11 Low Ball: Vincent Trocheck (83)

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Are you beginning to notice a trend? Like Carolina, Florida isn't exactly a prime hockey market, so it's reasonable for the average fan to overlook the team's talented players. However, EA Sports should obviously be held more accountable than the average fan, especially in regard to Vincent Trocheck's rating.

10 Overrate: Patrice Bergeron (89)

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We can't stress enough how great Patrice Bergeron is at playing a complete, 200-foot game. He's one of the league's best players in the face off circle and is a dominating defensive presence with his ability to read the play and stay tight to his man in the defensive zone - he is, after all, a four-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward. However, his 2016-17 season didn't warrant an 89 overall.

9 Low Ball: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (87)

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Again, it's the team in the poor hockey market that suffers from poor player ratings. On the surface, the 87 overall rating for Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn't that far off. He could certainly be one or two overall points higher, but it's not one of EA Sports' worst marks. What makes it terrible, however, is his rating compared to other defensemen in the game.

8 Overrate: Gabriel Landeskog (85)

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This is another example of a player continuing to thrive in regard to EA Sports player ratings based on past performances. A former Calder Trophy winner, Gabriel Landeskog is the captain of the Colorado Avalanche and was on an impressive career trajectory after producing 65 points in 81 games as a 22 year old in the 2013-14 season, but it has been downhill ever since. The Swede followed that up with 59 points in 2014-15; 53 points in 2015-16; and a career-worst (in a full 82-game season) 33 points in 2016-17.

7 Low Ball: Johnny Gaudreau (87)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This one might be a bit unexpected, but hear us out. Player ratings in NHL 18 - and subsequent releases by EA Sports - should be all about speed and offensive skill. How many times have you been playing and noticed a player like Patrice Bergeron making remarkable defensive plays? In a three-on-three game, how many of you would select Bergeron over someone as fast and talented as Johnny Gaudreau? Yet, Gaudreau, who is one of the most talented offensive players in the league, isn't even one of the top ten ranked wingers in NHL 18.

6 Overrate: Alex Ovechkin (92)

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

This one might be the most egregious of all player ratings, at least entering the 2017-18 season. If Ovechkin continues his current pace in goal scoring this season (he has 18 goals through 25 games) it might be a case of EA Sports holding firm in its belief that Ovechkin is still one of the best goal scorers of the game, and we would have to applaud them for thinking that, especially as most analysts essentially wrote him off after a 33-goal season in 2016-17, which was down significantly after three consecutive 50-goal seasons.

5 Low Ball: John Klingberg (85)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

John Klingberg is among the highest-scoring defenseman in the league this season, and while that alone isn't enough to earn him better than the 85 overall rating he was given, it's safe to say his past history should have made him at least an 87 or 88 overall. As we've stressed, offensive creativity should hold more weight than physicality or defensive positioning, and Klingberg has been one of the league's best puck-moving and offensive defenseman for the past three seasons.

4 Overrate: Jonathan Toews (89)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Toews falls into the same category as Patrice Bergeron in that he is overrated based on his reputation and past accomplishments. And don't get us wrong, Toews is still quite a valuable player but, not taking anything away from his carer, there's no way he's an 89 overall, especially when players with far more speed and skill such as Johnny Gaudreau and Jeff Skinner are rated considerably lower. Toews is one of the best leaders in the game, but leadership doesn't translate to video games.

3 Low Ball: Brad Marchand (87)

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Proving the inconsistencies in EA Sports' rating system is the difference between Brad Marchand and players like Jonathan Toews and Shea Weber, who earn ratings increases based on physical play, defensive ability, and perceived leadership qualities. By all accounts, Marchand is a quality defensive player and arguably one of the hardest (or most annoying) players to play against. He's constantly in the opposition's face and, if there was a chirping attribute in NHL, it's clear he would have a rating of 99.

2 Overrate: Jack Eichel (87)

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Honest question: if you had to pick one player in a one-game situation to give your team a better chance to win would you select Brad Marchand or Jack Eichel? Chances are you didn't hesitate in selecting Marchand, yet you might be surprised to believe the players share the same overall rating in NHL 18. In fact, as grossly overrated as Toews is, you can still make the argument he should be rated higher than Eichel.

1 Low Ball: Jaden Schwartz (84)

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

We'll admit, this one is mostly in hindsight given Jaden Schwartz' unbelievable start to the 2017-18 season, but there was already a strong case to be made that the 25 year old Wilcox, Saskatchewan native could have been rated a few points higher. The former 14th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft has topped 55 points in three of the past four seasons and the one season in which he didn't was only because he was limited to 33 games. Beyond that, he has had strong showings in each of the past two years in the playoffs.

Perhaps taking offense to the 84 overall rating, Schwartz has been one of the best players in the league this season. Playing on a dominant line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn, he has 32 points through 24 games.

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8 NHL Players EA Sports Continues To Low Ball (And 7 They Overrate)