On Tuesday, Aug. 27, EA Sports released their first wave of ratings for the top-50 players in NHL 20. According to the EA website, overall attributes take into account individual abilities for both skaters and goalies.
Related: NHL 20 Player Ratings: 41-50
EA will be revealing the ratings for the top 50 players until the release of the full version of NHL 20 on Sept. 13. But for now, let’s see who made the list at Nos. 31 to 40 and analyze if their ratings are correct.
No. 40: Alex Pietrangelo, 89 OVR
In his 11th NHL season, Pietrangelo led the St. Louis Blues to their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. However, his numbers compared to his 2017-18 season were slightly down. He played 71 games and had 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points — 13 points lower than 2017-18 — and played more than a minute and a half less on average per game.
Pietrangelo was an 89 overall in last year’s video game. He saw a decrease in defensive awareness by one point (92) and an increase in shot-blocking by one point (90). His offensive awareness is down from a 91 to an 89, but his point went up five points to a 95. While some of his other attributes fluctuated, an 89 is still the right number. He’s the leader of the Blues and it should be noted he was nearly a point-per-game player in the playoffs, a big reason why the Blues won the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.
No. 39: John Carlson, 89 OVR
Over the last two seasons, Carlson has established himself as one of the top defensemen in the league with back-to-back top-five finishes for the Norris Trophy. He had 70 points in 80 games this season — two more points in two less games compared to last season — and increased his average ice time by over 15 seconds. He was also plus-21 in the regular season which was his best plus-minus rating since the 2010-11 season.
Carlson was an 88 overall in NHL 19, and he deserves the increase heading into NHL 20. His hand-eye attribute went up three points (84) as did his slap shot and wrist shot accuracy (83 and 84, respectively). His durability also went up four points, and while that seems to be a common theme in NHL 20, it was the first time he played 80 or more games in back-to-back seasons since the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. His 89 rating heading into NHL 20 is well-deserved, and if he keeps pace with his point totals from the last two seasons, he will likely be in the low 90s by the trade deadline.
No. 38: Braden Holtby, 89 OVR
Holtby won 32 games last season — his lowest total since the 2013-14 season — but it’s his fifth season in a row with 30 or more wins. His numbers compared to the 2017-18 season were a bit better in 2018-19, but they were not near his numbers when he was in his prime. Heading into his age-30 season, there’s no question Holtby is one of the league’s top netminders.
Holtby was good in 2017-18, and to my surprise, he was a 91 overall in NHL 19. Going into NHL 20, his angles, breakaway and five-hole attribute ratings were decreased one point (92, 90 and 91, respectively) as was his glove low and stick low attributes (90 and 91). He also saw decreases to his rebound control (92) and recovery (90), but his vision is one point higher than in NHL 19 (92). This was interesting because his numbers were better than in 2017-18. It’s possible EA took away a point because of the Capitals’ early exit from the playoffs, or due to the fact there are more goalies in the top 50 this year than last year. Whatever the case, Holtby should be a 90 overall simply because his numbers were better than last season.
No. 37: Mitchell Marner, 89 OVR
While many knew Marner was a good player after the 2017-18 season, he reached new levels last year with 94 points in 82 games. He’s had at least 60 points in all three of his NHL seasons, but the talk now isn’t about how he will play with the Maple Leafs next season, it’s about if he will play with the Maple Leafs next season.
His NHL 19 rating was an 86 which was fair at the time. He was 21 and still about a 60 to 70-point player, but he was given an 89 for NHL 20 which is right where a 22-year-old who scores 90 points should be. He received increases to his deking (93), passing (94), puck control (94) and offensive awareness (93) and quite simply deserves an 89 or even a 90 overall in NHL 20. However, if he isn’t signed by the time the regular season starts, it will be interesting to see what EA does, if anything, with his ratings.
No. 36: Artemi Panarin, 89 OVR
Panarin has played four seasons in the NHL and posted at least 70 points in all four, including two 30-goal seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was one of the most coveted free-agent signings in the offseason and many expect him to make a splash with his new team, the New York Rangers.
Panarin was an 88 overall in NHL 19, but going into NHL 20, an 89 feels right. His puck control is up one point (94) and his defensive awareness, shot-blocking and stick-checking all received one-point increases as well. His poise attribute shot up five points to a 90 and his slap shot accuracy, wrist shot accuracy and wrist shot power are all up from NHL 19. While an 89 feels right, even a 90 could be accurate just because of his importance to his team.
No. 35: Leon Draisaitl, 89 OVR
50 goals, 55 assists and 105 points — those numbers speak for itself. While it helps that he plays with Connor McDavid, Draisaitl was one of the best all-around forwards in the NHL last season. Besides McDavid, he was the top Oiler forward by a wide margin and proved that he can be a dynamic offensive threat.
Draisaitl was an 87 overall in NHL 19, but when you put up more than 100 points, you deserve to be at least a 90 overall. The biggest reason, in my opinion, he wasn’t given a 90 is because the Oilers finished seventh in the Pacific. He and McDavid carried the offense through all 82 games and it simply wasn’t enough. As for his attributes, he got increases to his passing, puck control, offensive awareness and wrist shot accuracy (all 92). As a 50-goal scorer, EA increased the attributes that matter toward goal-scoring, but they should have made him a 90 overall.
No. 34: Blake Wheeler, 89 OVR
For the second straight season, Wheeler played more than 80 games and had exactly 91 points. He only scored 20 goals, but he had 71 assists and averaged 20:43 of ice time per game, the most of his 11-year career. He was one of, if not the best Winnipeg Jets’ players last season, and as far as statistics are concerned, he was consistent in his production.
In NHL 19, he was also an 89, and I believe that’s accurate for his NHL 20 rating. His slap shot power is up from a 91 to a 92, but other than that, most of his attributes are right where they were last year. When a player has nearly identical back-to-back seasons, there’s not much EA has to do for his player. However, if he can lead the Jets to a much stronger regular season, he could become a 90 or 91 by the time the playoffs roll around.
No. 33: Mark Scheifele, 89 OVR
Scheifele is Wheeler’s right-hand man when it comes to leading the offense, and the reason Wheeler has so many assists is that Scheifele can find the back of the net. He had a career-high 38 goals last season and 84 points. It was the best year of Scheifele’s career in terms of offensive production and leadership for the Jets.
Scheifele was also an 89 in NHL 19, and again, I believe this is right for NHL 20. His attribute ratings are the same as they were in last year’s game, but now that he has multiple seasons of 30 goals, he should consistently find himself in the top 50 players right there with Wheeler. Scheifele will be relied on to lead the Jets back to the playoffs, and he should get a nice increase if he’s able to continue his point-per-game production on the Jets top line.
No. 32: Claude Giroux, 89 OVR
It’s hard to believe that Giroux is only heading into his age 32 season but here we are. He’s had three straight seasons of playing all 82 games, but in 2017-18, he exploded for 102 points. He was still a point-per-game player in 2018-19 — 85 points in 82 games — but it’s hard to repeat a 100-point season.
Giroux was rated an 89 overall in NHL 19, and the same rating is accurate for NHL 20. The biggest change to his attributes that stands out is his face-offs, which are up from an 88 to a 95. Strangely enough, his face-off percentage in 2018-19 is 0.6% lower than it was in 2017-18. I’m not sure how EA comes to the conclusion to increase ratings that much when there’s no significant change in a statistic, but nevertheless, Giroux’s 89 overall rating is spot-on.
No. 31: Mark Giordano, 89 OVR
Giordano had a career year last season which was summed up with the Norris Trophy. He set career-highs in goals, assists, points, plus-minus, shorthanded goals, even-strength assists and takeaways. It should also be noted that this was done in his age-35 season making him the first player since Nicklas Lidstrom to win the Norris Trophy in his age-35 season or later.
After a middle-of-the-road 2017-18 season, Giordano was rated an 86 overall in NHL 19. Now, as an 89 overall in NHL 20, he has increases to his passing (89), puck control (88), defensive awareness (93), shot-blocking (90), stick checking (91), offensive awareness (90), poise (90), slap shot accuracy (84), wrist shot accuracy (83) and durability (90). All of those increases are well-deserved, and if he can repeat what he did last season, he will be a 92 overall defenseman by the time the regular season is over.