When EA Sports announced the feature list for its upcoming release of NHL 17, one thing that really stood out was the addition of the Draft Champions game mode to the series.
It was a mode that was introduced in Madden NFL 16 last year, and became an immediate hit with fans who wanted that fantasy football feeling in their game without the commitment of playing Ultimate Team. But one thing that was certain when the mode was announced, many NHL fans have no idea what it entails. The only thing they have to go with is what EA Sports said regarding the mode.
The new Draft Champions mode introduces the thrill of the fantasy draft with fast rounds of superstar picks. Each round challenges managers to choose the best players to build a balanced team. Immediately following your draft, take to the ice and fulfill your team’s potential by winning the Draft Championship.
That gives fans an idea, but doesn’t really explain the mode. So, using the premise of Madden NFL’s version, here’s a rundown of how Draft Champions works. But, to simplify it, think of it has bringing Daily Fantasy Sports to the world of video games.
In the NFL, teams have over 50 players. Draft Champions in Madden only has 13 rounds as well as the option to choose a coach. The rest of the roster is randomly filled by the game. In NHL 17, it’s expected that the draft won’t allow you to draft your entire team, but a few players. If one had to guess, I’d say somewhere between six to 10 players will be drafted while the rest will be chosen by the game.
Each round, players will get three players to choose from that vary in position and rating. Players will then have to decide the best player for their team. Do they go for the best player available, or draft for need? Both options are viable, but you could end up in a situation where you have six strong centers and only a couple solid wingers. Each pick will influence how your team turns out.
There’s no doubt it won’t be as deep as Madden NFL’s version of the mode because of the lack of varying play styles and playbooks, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have it’s own unique flair to make it fun.
From current stars to legends of the past, Draft Champions in NHL 17 will allow you to build a unique team every single time you play. We obviously don’t know exactly how many players users will be able to draft or what the rewards will be for playing the mode. That being said, fans should be excited about the addition of Draft Champions because there will be hours of fun to be had when NHL 17 launches this fall on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.