Yesterday EA Sports unveiled the ratings for all teams and players in the Eastern Conference (the West will be revealed today). I'll cut right to the chase and let you take a look at what EA feels is representative of the abilities of the Devils this season. If you want to check out the rest of the East head over to Puck Daddy.
Let's break down how EA feels about the Devils.
Top Forwards (80+):
Ilya Kovalchuk - LW - 90: EA puts Kovy back at the top of the Devils' depth chart. A 90 rating is pretty impressive. EA revealed that the top five forwards in the league are between 95 (Crosby/Datsyuk) and 91 (Stamkos/Malkin) so a 90 puts Kovy right at the top of the league. EA sports feels that Kovy will return to LW as well.
Travis Zajac - C - 84: Six points down we find our second-best forward in Travis Zajac. This is a pretty good rating and has Zajac in pretty good company. Most star players are rated between 84 and 88. He'll be the Devils top center again, barring another injury.
Patrik Elias - RW - 82: Despite consistent production, Elias finds himself on the lower side of the 80's meaning he's no longer in the same class as most NHL super-stars. An 82 is comparable to Derek Stepan and Matt Moulson, to put that in perspective. Also, the idea of Elias playing RW is interesting. I guess EA figured someone with an 80+ rating would have to be the top-line RW and they picked Elias.
David Clarkson - LW - 81: Clarkson gets some respect as a 30 goal scorer with an 81 rating. In the past he's been solidly in the high 70's. EA feels his game has improved and that his performance wasn't a fluke. Moving him to LW though is certainly a fluke. I don't think he's ever played on the left side and he isn't the sort of winger who can just switch sides.
Adam Henrique - C - 81: Henrique gets a big boost here. Last year he wasn't even on the Devils roster and his rating was somewhere in the low 70s if I remember correctly, it may have even been in the high 60s. EA has Henrique as a top-six center this season and that shouldn't surprise anyone.
Average Forwards (70-79):
Dainius Zubrus - C - 79: I can't argue with this rating but I don't think EA Sports should keep putting Zubrus at Center.
Jacob Josefson - C - 75: I have to assume that injuries keep preventing JJ from putting up the numbers needed to get a better score from EA.
Bobby Butler - LW - 75: Although he's still listed as a Senator, he'll be the 8th best forward in NJ according to EA.
Steve Bernier - RW - 74: EA thinks that Bernier is a third-line skater. Let's hope they're right.
Ryan Carter - LW - 73: I was surprised to find Bernier and Carter's wing positions switched. Maybe a mistake?
Below-Average Forwards (69-):
Krys Barch - LW - 67: Well, it's one point ahead of Eric Boulton (66).
Cam Janssen - RW - 66: And one point ahead of Cam Janssen too.
Stephen Gionta - RW - 64: As most fans have pointed out, Gionta hasn't proven he can play consistently in the NHL
Adam Larsson - 84: I'm not convinced Larsson is our best defender but EA certainly thinks so.
Henrik Tallinder - 83: Despite missing half the season, Tallinder proved he's still serviceable in the playoffs.
Anton Volchenkov - 82: Really? I'm not convinced Volchenkov is better than a 79.
Andy Greene - 80: Greene's season can really go either way. Let's hope it's above this bar.
Marek Zidlicky - 80: I think Mike Yeo was really holding him back, but he isn't getting younger.
Mark Fayne - 79: Fayne plays at an above-average level so I'm surprised he's down in the 70s.
Bryce Salvador - 79: How is Volchenkov an 82 if Salvador is a 79? What is going on here?
I think the ratings for forwards are fairly accurate if the positions are questionable. The only rating I would have expected to be higher was Patrik Elias' with maybe an 83 or 84. The Defense is much worse, with Salvador getting the lowest rating despite being one of the team's most consistent players. I can't argue with Brodeur's rating dropping again, but I think Hedberg's low-rating is unwarranted when compared to other goalies. EA is clearly taking his age into account here.
As an aside, I've included Krys Barch and Bobby Butler here even though they're still listed with the Panthers and Senators respectively. I expect that to be patched for GM mode and normal game modes but don't be surprised if HUT mode was completed with those players still on their old teams and Boulton still as a Devil. Also, I'm a little surprised that Sykora was left off this list. He'll likely have a 76-78 rating.
What do you think of EA's take on the Devils? Are you satisfied with the depth chart they've predicted for us? What changes would you make if any? Are you looking forward to playing NHL13?