Going back 13 years, who was the New York Islanders top-rated player in the EA universe?
Before hockey makes its return, I’ll have logged some significant time playing EA’s NHL on my PS4. For weeks, Patron’s and I have tried to build the New York Islanders into a dynasty. We’ve logged hours in the game to try and do so. (We haven’t achieved dynasty status or even won a Cup yet.)
As we search for players to add to our roster in the game I’m always struck by how few ‘elite’ level players the Islanders have. EA isn’t wrong to label Mathew Barzal as the only elite level player on the roster. He really is the guy for the Islanders.
Which got me thinking about who was the guy in previous versions of the game? Who did EA see as the guy for the Isles and har far off were they?
I stopped at NHL 2007 because I couldn’t find ratings for any game beyond that without needing to run to my latest Game Stop to buy previous editions of the game just to get the ratings.
To figure out how far off they were I’m just going to look at total points that season. Typically EA releases a game prior to the start of the season. So NHL 20 was released in September of 2020 for the 2019-20 season. So the top NHL 20 player, for example, should lead the team for the 19-20 season. And so on for every other edition.
NHL 20 – Mathew Barzal 87
We already knew Barzal was the top dog in 2020. Anders Lee isn’t far behind with an 85 rating. Which still tracks for this current team in terms of talent level. It’s a not fully developed Mathew Barzal first and then Anders Lee not too far behind.
With 60 points Barzal led the way, but Brock Nelson (81 OVR) was second on the team with 54 points.
NHL 19 – Barzal, Bailey, Eberle 85
After John Tavares left there was a clear gap in top-tier talent on this team. Barzal, Bailey, and Eberle all shared an 85 rating.
Barzal, of course, led the team in scoring with 62 points in 82 games. Josh Bailey finished second with 86 and Eberle was fifth with 37 points.
NHL 18 to NHL 13 – The John Tavares Era
Tavares led the way for the Islanders for six straight games between 2013 and 2018. He also led the team in points for most of that time.
We know Barzal eclipsed him in 2017-18 with 85 points in 82 games to Tavares’s 84 points. There was also the 2013-14 run where Kyle Okposo finished with a superior 69 points to Tavares’s 66.
Although Tavares only played 59 games that season after sustaining a season-ending injury at the Olympics. He was on pace for 92 points that year which would have had him finish second in scoring in the NHL that year.
NHL 12 – Mark Streit, John Tavares 87
Tavares finished the 2011-12 campaign with 81 points in 82 games. He was second in goals on the team after linemate Matt Moulson put up a career-high 36 goals that season.
Mark Streit led the team in ice time and led all blueliners for points. He was the Isles workhorse and put up a decent 47 points for his efforts.
Having both at the top with an 87 rating jives with how the season went for the Islanders.
NHL 11 – Mark Streit, Rick DiPietro 84
Tavares wasn’t far off here. He was rated 83 (as was Kyle Okposo). But Mark Streit and Rick DiPietro were at the top with an equal 84 rating.
At this point in his career, Rick had only played a handful of games (13) over the previous two seasons. His high rating was a result of his production from almost four years prior when he finished eighth in Vezina voting.
DiPietro would play 26 games in 2010-11 with an average 3.44GAA and 0.886SV%.
Streit missed the entire year after Matt Moulson destroyed his shoulder in training camp.
Tavares led the team with 67 points as a 20-year-old.
NHL 2008 to 2010 – DiPietro ‘Era’
2010 – In 2010 DiPietro’s rating was 86 overall. Mark Streit was an 83 overall for the second-best rating in the lineup. John Tavares wasn’t included in the game, having been just drafted months before. But you’d imagine he wouldn’t have been far off the team lead in the overall rating department.
Tavares would lead the team in points in his rookie year with 54 points. DiPietro played eight games with an average of 2.60GAA an 0.900SV%.
2009 – Rick DiPietro was the guy for 2009. Remember, for NHL 2009 the Islanders hadn’t yet picked Tavares. This game was released in September of 2008.
DiPietro held an 88 rating in 09. Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie were playing second fiddle with an 85 rating. Mark Streit who led the entire team in scoring with 56 points held a 78 OVR ranking. Rick only played five games in 08-09 with an average 3.52GAA and 0.892SV%.
2008 – Rick held a 90 overall rating in 2008. After a 2.58GAA and 0.919SV% 2006-07 season where he finished eighth in Vezina voting, you could see why he was rated so high. Unfortunately, the 2007-08 season was the last full season for Rick. His 2.82GAA and 0.902SV% were respectable based on the team he had playing in front of him.
Mike Comrie finished as the top point scorer with 49 points in 76 games. Think about that. Over a full season, the Isles didn’t have one player hit 50 points. Not one.
NHL 2007 – Miroslav Satan 88
Miro was at the top of the Isles pyramid in 2007. Thought Rick DiPietro wasn’t too far with an 87 overall. Trent Hunter, Mike York, and Alexei Yashin held an 85 overall. And below all of them was Jason Blake with an 84 overall.
Satan would have a good season with 59 points. Rick DiPietro showed us all his potential with a career year between the pipes (2.58GAA and 0.919SV% in 62 games). But Jason Blake with his 40 goals and 69 points was something else for the Islanders.