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Blue Jackets Earn Respect in ‘NHL 18’ Player Ratings

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A team you actually wouldn’t mind playing with.

EA Sports

EA Sports’ NHL 18 video game hits stores Thursday (though EA Access subscribers can play a 10-hour trial now), and for maybe the third time in history, Columbus Blue Jackets fans can look forward to a strong digital version of their favorite team in this year’s edition.

The Blue Jackets check in this year with a 90 overall rating, comprised of an 89 offense, 92 defense and 92 goaltending. That ties the Washington Capitals for third in the Metropolitan Division, behind the Pittsburgh Penguins’ and New York Rangers’ 92 overall score. The CBJ’s 90 places them with Anaheim, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo and Boston. That’s not bad, though it’s strange to see Winnipeg ahead (and Chicago one point behind for the first time in memory).

For what it’s worth, Cleveland’s 70 rank ties Springfield for the worst in the AHL (67 offense, 74 defense and 70 goaltending). That’s what happens when you develop your players and get them on the NHL roster.

All current players are ranked for the Blue Jackets and Monsters, provided they’ve played at least one real-life pro game (so no Pierre-Luc Dubois or Vitaly Abramov). One thing to keep in mind: EA Sports toned down their ratings system this year, and it shows.

Forwards

Player Rating
Player Rating
Artemi Panarin 86
Alexander Wennberg 84
Cam Atkinson 84
Nick Foligno 83
Brandon Dubinsky 82
Boone Jenner 82
Matt Calvert 79
Josh Anderson 78
Oliver Bjorkstrand 78
Tyler Motte 75
Lukas Sedlak 74
Sonny Milano 73
Zac Dalpe 72
Jordan Schroeder 71
Markus Hannikainen 70
Alex Broadhurst 68
Ryan Craig 66
Jordan Maletta 65
Nick Moutrey 64
Paul Bittner 63
Kyle Thomas 63
Joe Pendenza 63
Justin Scott 63
Brett Gallant 62
Miles Koules 59

Truthfully? I’m fine with most of this. Artemi Panarin deserves to lead the group, though I think Atkinson could stand to be an 85. Here’s where nerfing the rating comes in: Atkinson was an 85 to start the 2016-17 season, too. Tyler Motte finds himself on the Cleveland roster to start the season.

At the start of the 2016-17 season, Dubinsky was an 87, Foligno was an 86 and Wennberg an 84.

Defensemen

Player Rating
Player Rating
Zach Werenski 85
Seth Jones 84
Ryan Murray 84
David Savard 84
Jack Johnson 82
Marcus Nutivaara 77
Scott Harrington 76
Gabiel Carlsson 76
Andre Benoit 74
Cameron Gaunce 71
Marc-Andre Bergeron 70
Jaime Sifers 70
John Ramage 70
Dean Kukan 68
Oleg Yevenko 67
Blake Siebenaler 62
Jacob Graves 61

Would like to see Seth Jones a little bit higher than Ryan Murray and David Savard, but I don’t feel bad about the Jackets icing five defensemen 82 or higher. Savard was 87 last season, along with Johnson and Jones (Ryan Murray was an 86), so you can see how they’ve squeezed everyone down.

Goaltenders

Player Rating
Player Rating
Sergei Bobrovsky 89
Joonas Korpisalo 79
Brad Thiessen 68
Michael Houser 67

EA Sports ranked Bob the third-best goalie in the league, behind Braden Holtby (90 overall) and Carey Price (92) overall. Kind of weird a two-time Vezina-winning goalie isn’t at least a 90, no? Cory Schneider (89) and Matt Murray (88) follow Bob in fourth and fifth, respectively. Glad to see they knocked Joonas Korpisalo down from his 82 to start last season.

Full Team Ratings

Position Player Rating
Position Player Rating
G Sergei Bobrovsky 89
F Artemi Panarin 86
D Zach Werenski 85
F Alexander Wennberg 84
F Cam Atkinson 84
D Seth Jones 84
D Ryan Murray 84
D David Savard 84
F Nick Foligno 83
F Brandon Dubinsky 82
F Boone Jenner 82
D Jack Johnson 82
F Matt Calvert 79
G Joonas Korpisalo 79
F Josh Anderson 78
F Oliver Bjorkstrand 78
D Marcus Nutivaara 77
D Scott Harrington 76
D Gabiel Carlsson 76
F Tyler Motte 75
F Lukas Sedlak 74
D Andre Benoit 74
F Sonny Milano 73
F Zac Dalpe 72
F Jordan Schroeder 71
D Cameron Gaunce 71
F Markus Hannikainen 70
D Marc-Andre Bergeron 70
D Jaime Sifers 70
D John Ramage 70
F Alex Broadhurst 68
D Dean Kukan 68
G Brad Thiessen 68
D Oleg Yevenko 67
G Michael Houser 67
F Ryan Craig 66
F Jordan Maletta 65
F Nick Moutrey 64
F Paul Bittner 63
F Kyle Thomas 63
F Joe Pendenza 63
F Justin Scott 63
F Brett Gallant 62
D Blake Siebenaler 62
D Jacob Graves 61
F Miles Koules 59

There you have it. These ratings change throughout the season of course, so I’m guess Bjorkstrand and Motte will see their stock improve as they progress.

One last thing: for the umpteenth straight year, EA Sports still has the Columbus crowd inaccurately chant “Let’s go Blue Jackets.” Blech.

What do you think about this year’s numbers?