Gearing up for the release on Sept. 13, EA Sports slowly revealed the overall ratings of the Top 50 players in NHL 20. The highest-ranking members of this list are Connor McDavid (94), Sidney Crosby (93), and Nikita Kucherov (92).
The Boston Bruins have four players who made the cut for the list, all coming in at a 90 overall rating. These overall ratings are determined by averaging a total of 25 attributes, each of which receives its own numerical rating.
For skaters, these attributes range from Shot Accuracy, Body Checking, Stick Checking, and Offensive and Defensive Awareness. On the other hand, goaltenders are judged on attributes such as Five Hole, Glove High, Glove Low, Rebound Control, and Vision.
EA Sports’ accuracy in deciding these ratings is up for debate: Hockey is such a fluid sport that it is difficult to simply slap a numerical grade on a player’s skillset. However, EA Sports tackles this task year after year and updates them throughout the season based upon players’ performances.
Here is where the Bruins ranked amongst NHL 20’s best players:
#25: David Pastrnak
David Pastrnak came in at No. 25 on EA Sports’ Top 50 list for NHL 20, earning a 90 overall rating. His puck-skill ratings speak for themselves which includes Deking (94), Hand-eye (92), Passing (92), and Puck Control (93).
Pastrnak earned these high marks throughout his most recent campaign. His highlight reel from the 2018-19 season is packed full of dirty dangles and amazing finishes. These finishes earned him high shooting grades as well, including Slap Shot Accuracy (92), Slap Shot Power (88), Wrist Shot Accuracy (93), and Wrist Shot Power (88). The 23-year-old also earned other 90-plus ratings in Offensive Awareness (92), Poise (90), Speed (91), Agility (92) and Acceleration (91).
In the defensive department, Pastrnak earned some praise – perhaps more than warranted. His Defensive Awareness rating of 89 may be a bit too generous. He is a good two-way player, but he’s benefited from playing alongside four-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron and a 200-foot player in Brad Marchand. If he were put on a line with any other Bruins forwards, his defensive play may become more transparent and his rating may drop a few points.
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Naturally, the Czech native’s physical attributes aren’t as appealing as his offensive ones. Ignoring his Fighting Skill of 65 (which isn’t a big part of the winger’s playstyle) Pastrnak got B’s across the board in Aggressiveness (80), Body Checking (80), Durability (82), and Strength (84).
When it comes to this young star, I believe EA’s ratings are mostly accurate. If you are a gamer who enjoys playing Franchise Mode, it’s fair to assume that Pastrnak still has great potential. This means his ratings will likely increase as the seasons roll on.
#22: Tuukka Rask
Boston’s starting goaltender came in at No. 22 on the list of NHL 20’s Top 50 Players, also earning a 90 overall rating.
The 32-year-old doesn’t have a relevant skill that dips under 88. Passing (85), Poke Check (86) and Puck Playing Frequency (83) aren’t huge parts of Rask’s repertoire – he is a bona fide stay-at-home crease dweller.
However, Rask received high praise for his reflexes with strong ratings in Angles (90), Five Hole (89), Glove High (90), Glove Low (90), Stick High (89) and Stick Low (90). These feel fairly accurate, though the angles could use an uptick.
Rask’s playstyle is somewhat boring to watch at times but that’s because he always seems to be in a good position to stop incoming shots. Even when there is chaos in the crease the Finn simply resorts to the butterfly, forming a brick wall as opponents hack away at the loose puck.
In terms of puck control, Rask’s ratings in Poise (90) and Rebound Control (92) are solid. However, his Recovery rating (92) may be a tad too generous. More often than Bruins fans may like to see, No. 40 has trouble dashing across his crease to block a rebound or deflected puck.
I think Rask’s ratings in NHL 20 are justifiable, especially after a stellar end to the 2018-19 campaign and postseason.
#17: Brad Marchand
Out of the four Bruins covered in this article, I think Brad Marchand’s ratings are the most accurate. EA really hit the nail on the head across the board for this one.
As expected, No. 63’s puck skills are tremendous, earning high grades in Deking (92), Hand-Eye (93), Passing (92), and Puck Control (92). Combining this with his Wrist Shot and Slap Shot Power (88) as well as his Wrist Shot and Slap Shot Accuracy (93), the developers at EA created a forward that can wow both on a breakaway and on a five-on-five offensive possession – both are facets of the game in which Marchand succeeds.
The developers didn’t forget that the 31-year-old is also a solid two-way player. His ratings in Defensive Awareness (90) and Stick Checking (89) certainly capture this aspect of his game.
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Marchand is also a strong skater, earning praise in Acceleration (88), Agility (89), Balance (87), and Speed (88). The winger is also a physical player despite his 5-foot-9-inch frame, earning solid ratings in Aggressiveness (91), Body Checking (90), and Strength (87).
In the Discipline department, Marchand received an embarrassing yet truthful rating of 70. It is well known that the instigator has had trouble staying out of the box throughout his career, and EA has reflected that in his ratings. If you are someone who simulates games while playing Franchise Mode, you can expect Marchand to lead the team in penalty minutes.
#13: Patrice Bergeron
EA didn’t do justice by giving Patrice Bergeron a 90 overall rating. While most of his skill ratings are spot on, others are severely underrated.
His Deking, Passing, Puck Control, and Hand-Eye ratings all leak into the 90s. The veteran received solid defensive ratings like Defensive Awareness (94) and Stick Checking (95). Meanwhile, his skating skills rest in the high 80s. All of this seems to be on target.
However, from there, Bergeron’s ratings are questionable. His Discipline rating of 87 could be turned up a notch; it’s rare that you see the alternate captain take a bad penalty. The penalties he does take often thwart scoring chances – that or the penalty call itself is questionable.
When it comes to shooting, Bergeron was also undervalued. His Wrist Shot Accuracy (87), Slap Shot Accuracy (87), Wrist Shot Power (88) and Slap Shot Power (88) are deserving of higher ratings. No. 37 is not known for his goal-scoring abilities, but playing alongside Marchand and Pastrnak last season allowed him to showcase how solid his shot really is.
Bergeron notched 32 goals during the 2018-19 campaign, tying a career-high from the 2015-16 season. Often finding himself in the bumper position on the power play, the centerman picked corners with wrist shots from the top of the face-off circle on multiple occasions. It’s arguable that his shot power is fair, but his accuracy ratings certainly deserve a second look.
Bruins’ NHL 20 Ratings
In the end, EA was fairly accurate in their ratings of Boston’s top players. While some were more precise than others, it’s a great base for the developers to build upon. A video game shouldn’t be the basis of deciding how good or bad real-life NHL players are, but they do provide a ballpark estimate.
There’s no arguing that Boston’s first line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak was awestriking during the 2018-19 regular season. Rask’s performance during the latter half of the season as well as the team’s Stanley Cup run is also worthy of high praise.
In this sense, EA did justice in giving each of these four players a 90 overall rating. Perhaps Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak, and Rask can earn a ratings boost once the 2019-20 season kicks off in October.
I cover the Boston Bruins and NCAA Hockey here at The Hockey Writers. Born and raised 10 miles north of Boston, I developed a love for the game of ice hockey at a very young age. There’s really nothing better than this sport, though steak is a close second.