With the release of NHL 18 around the corner, some fans have gained early access and player ratings have made their way around for debate and amusement. Among the various ratings, the Edmonton Oilers look like one of the better teams in the game.
Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby are the highest-rated players, tied with a 93 overall rating. The next best Oilers players in the game are Cam Talbot and Leon Draisaitl who are tied, again, with an 87 overall rating. Talbot and Draisaitl both have a modest increase from their 84 overall rating in NHL 17.
That being said, you need to take these ratings with a grain of salt. As we’ve covered here at THW, there is a new rating system designed to delineate the array of talent in the NHL. EA Sports developed this so superstar players would stand out more in the game.
It’s worth noting, there are some omissions from the Oilers video game roster, most notably Jesse Puljujarvi who finished the year with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate the Bakersfield Condors.
Here are the player ratings for the Oiler in NHL 18. Check back for a breakdown of the Condors, in the coming days. Remember these are video game ratings and are supposed to have some level of fantasy to them. Nonetheless, let’s have some fun with these player ratings, shall we?
Oilers Goaltending Ratings NHL 18
Talbot might not have cracked EA Sports’ top ten list of the best goalies, but he’s still a good goalie in NHL 18. He might be a little underrated, but that’s common from who don’t know how much he contributed to the Oilers’ success in 2016-17.
Laurent Brossoit falls into the lower end of the backup goalie range. If you haven’t read about EA’s new rating system, backup goalies are being scored between a 75-82 overall. Using the same system, Talbot falls into the low end of the elite starting goalie range, which ranges from 87-99. For what it’s worth, Talbot has the same rating as Chicago Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford.
|Cam Talbot (30)||87||Hybrid||Elite (Low)||$4.165M|
|Laurent Brossoit (24)||75||Hybrid||Fringe Starter (Med)||$0.750M|
The four goalies rated just higher than Talbot are Matt Murray, Henrik Lundqvist, Devan Dubnyk and Tuukka Rask. All four of them are tied with an 88 overall rating.
Oilers Defense Is Average in NHL 18
If there’s one takeaway from the Oilers’ blueline rating, it’s that Oscar Klefbom still isn’t getting any love. Klefbom was the lynchpin of Edmonton’s defense in 2016-17 and emerged as the team’s number one defenseman. EA Sports also got his cap hit wrong.
Another thing that will make fans chuckle is Kris Russell’s rating. He has been a conversation starter in Edmonton. Some fans love him, some fans (mostly analytical ones) despise him. Here, Russell is the Oilers’ sixth best defenseman rated in the game behind Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning. Nurse and Benning played on Edmonton’s third pairing. So, make of that what you will.
|Oscar Klefbom (24)||85||2-Way Dman||Elite (Med)||$4.615M|
|Andrej Sekera (31)||83||Offensive Dman||Top 4 D (Low)||$5.500M|
|Adam Larsson (24)||83||2-Way Dman||Elite (Med)||$4.170M|
|Darnell Nurse (22)||81||2-Way Dman||Top 4 D (Med)||$0.865M|
|Matt Benning (23)||79||2-Way Dman||Top 6 D (Med)||$0.925M|
|Kris Russell (30)||79||Defensive Dman||Top 6 D (Med)||$4.000M|
|Mark Fayne (30)||76||Defensive Dman||7th D (High)||$3.625M|
Remember a few years ago, the headache of trying to trade away Shawn Horcoff’s cap hit with his low rating? Well, that’s what some fans might have to do in this year’s game with Russell. Is anyone willing to cough up a first round pick along with Russell in the virtual world? Yikes.
All in all, if you take in the ratings on defense, the Oilers don’t have a single top-pairing blueliner. Edmonton has four top-four defenders, two third-pairing guys, and a seventh man. What do you think? Are the Oilers not getting enough love on the backend?
McDavid, Draisaitl Lead Offense in NHL 18
If you’re a fan of franchise mode you’d be hard pressed to find a team that’s already built for long term success in the game. The Oilers have two premier talents in McDavid (ranked as the game’s best) and Leon Draisaitl (42nd overall), so they’ll be fun to play with.
That said, if you go by EA’s rating system, they only have four top-six forwards. Patrick Maroon, a guy who scored 27 goals playing with McDavid, isn’t constituted as a top-six forward. Figure that one out.
|Milan Lucic (29)||84||Power Forward||Top 6 F (High)||$6.000M|
|Patrick Maroon (29)||81||Power Forward||Top 9 F (Med)||$1.500M|
|Jussi Jokinen (34)||79||Playmaker||Top 6 F (Low)||$1.100M|
|Drake Caggiula (23)||77||Sniper||Top 9 F (Med)||$0.925M|
Edmonton’s fairly deep down the middle and it’ll create some fun line combinations for fans. For the most part, the ratings are pretty on par with what players were rated in NHL 17. McDavid and Draisaitl saw a significant jump in their ratings while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins saw a slight dip to 83. Newcomer Ryan Strome is ranked as the Oilers’ sixth best forward with an 81 overall.
|Connor McDavid (20)||93||Playmaker||Franchise (Med)||$0.925M|
|Leon Draisaitl (21)||87||2-Way Forward||Elite (Med)||$8.500M|
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (24)||83||Playmaker||Top 6 F (Med)||$6.000M|
|Ryan Strome (24)||81||Playmaker||Top 6 F (Med)||$2.500M|
|Mark Letestu (32)||79||Playmaker||Top 9 F (Med)||$1.800M|
|Jujhar Khaira (23)||71||Power Forward||Bottom 6 F (High)||$0.675M|
EA only gave the Oilers two right wingers, and that’ll probably change when the first roster update comes out in mid-October. Jesse Puljujarvi is listed as a member of the Condors, as is Ty Rattie and Brad Malone.
|Zack Kassian (26)||79||Power Forward||Top 9 F (Med)||$1.950M|
|Iiro Pakarinen (26)||74||Power Forward||Bottom 6 F (Med)||$0.725M|
Edmonton should be a fun team to play with in NHL 18. They look to be relatively quick, and there’s a lot of creativity on this roster. When it comes to franchise mode, this team will be enjoyable. There are also several notable prospects with high ratings like Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones coming up in the system.
If you’re a fan of the series, the ratings probably need some adjusting, but all in all, NHL 18 looks to be the next great game in the series. If you’re curious here are the player ratings from NHL 17.