EA Sport’s NHL series is one of the longest-running sports games across all platforms.
EA has established itself as the dominant force within the hockey industry.
Like any annual sports game, there is always an ample amount of changes each year.
Some good, some questionable, but EA has been overhauling the NHL franchise over the last two years in aim to appeal to the hardcore hockey fans.
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Although NHL 21 is quite far away, let’s take a look at everything we know so far!
There is no confirmed release date for NHL 21 yet, however, based on previous releases we can expect the release date to be sometime early in September 2020.
Last year’s cover star was the electric forward from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews.
This upcoming year it is hard to say who will get the nod, but keep your eyes on Nathan Mackinnon as the frontrunner. Having never been on the cover before, he currently sits third in points with 68 this NHL season.
One of the common trends EA has done over recent years is to select regional cover stars for certain countries.
As pictured above, Finland’s cover featured Patrik Laine and Swedens’s cover featured Elias Pettersson. Look for the same this year, with notable players such as Germany’s Leon Draisaitl and the Czech Republic’s David Pastrnak looking to get the nod.
New Gameplay Features
Every year EA Sports aims to implement new and innovative gameplay features that are never before seen.
Look for new features in the skating, defensive, shooting and A.I departments this year! Perhaps we will see further improvement on the A.I, similar to what Fifa received this year past. More responsive A.I on higher difficulty settings is what fans have been wanting for years now!
There is no official trailer yet, but be sure to bookmark this tab and check back when one releases!
The first trailer last year was the cover star reveal – which was announced on June 20, 2019.
This was followed by the above gameplay trailer on 16 July, 2019.
Price and Platforms
Expect the usual price point of $59.99 USD when NHL 21 release, as well there will be some special editions so keep your eyes peeled.
The NHL series has only ever released on console so expect it to be on the Xbox One and PS4. With the next generation consoles coming, maybe we will see copies available on the Xbox Series X and PS5 when they release!
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Unfortunately, don’t expect NHL 21 to arrive on either Nintendo Switch or PC.
Be a Pro Mode
NHL’s take on the classic career mode has received a lot of criticism over the last two years. The mode has you create your own player, and then it prompts you to either pick an NHL team or pick one of the countless Junior teams.
Other than that, it is one of the weaker career modes we have seen in sports titles.
Fans have been begging EA to adjust the mode similar to what 2K Games has done with the NBA franchise. Perhaps, using a different storyline with some dialogue to make you connect to your NHL player more.
Franchise mode received the biggest overhaul during NHL 20; EA implemented coaches, dynamic line chemistry, in-depth scouting reports, and conversations between you and the players.
Although NHL 20 introduced an ample amount of new features, some of these should be fine-tuned for the next game.
Having an overall better system in place for the player conversations is a must for fans. Coaches and line chemistry was one of the best features introduced in NHL 20, and fans are hoping EA can propel these additions into some of the best the series has.
Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT)
One of the new features introduced last year was Squad Battles, a take on the classic FIFA game mode. The mode is still on-going and refreshing challengers every day or week.
Going forward to this year’s title, it is hard to say what additions HUT needs. As of now, there are over 400 Hockey collectible players and it would not hurt to see even more additions.
Like any sports game, ratings are one of the core components for each year’s iteration. NHL 21 should offer some upgrades and downgrades to numerous players going into the new game.
Here’s our predictions for the top five players for NHL 21.
- Connor McDavid
- Sidney Crosby
- Alex Ovechkin
- Nathan Mackinnon
- Nikita Kucherov
No official news on the demo/beta yet for NHL 21. Last year, everyone was given a chance to check out the new game from July 26-31, so be on the lookout for sometime around then too!