The NHL might be headed towards a season-shortening lockout, but that doesn't mean that you can't get your hockey fix elsewhere!
EA Sports' "NHL 13" is scheduled for a September 11 release and in preparation, the company has released its first batch of player rankings. Since this is a Washington-based blog, I think I'm right to assume that most of you want to know what rankings the Capitals earned, but that's just a hunch.
Each year, the game's original roster is a little off because of deadlines, so that's why you see Jeff Halpern's name up there (in case you missed it, Halpern signed with the New York Rangers earlier this summer). If you look closely, you can see a No. 22 -- or Mike Knuble, who is also no longer with the Caps (he remains unsigned) -- in the background. Those issues will be ironed out upon the game's first roster update.
Looking at the rest of the roster, nothing really stick outs (other than Mathieu Perreault's last name being spelled incorrectly, but trust me, Perreault is not easy to spell). Alex Ovechkin's 93 rating remains the same from last year's edition, while both Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, who spent most of the season on the injured list, see their ratings fall from 87 in "NHL 12" to 85 this season.
The only thing that does confuse me, however, is Braden Holtby's 73 rating. That number puts Holtby at the bottom of the Caps' roster next to John Erskine and Matt Hendricks, who both earned 73s. Holtby was stellar in the postseason last spring (7-7, 1.95 GAA, .935 SV%), while Erskine appeared in 32 total games last season. Hendricks had a down year (he went from 25 points in 2010-11 to nine last season), so perhaps his rating is justified.
What do you think about the ratings? Any other surprises?
This is hard-hitting analysis, I know, but it's the best I can do under these looming lockout conditions. I'll have actual analysis for you sometime between mid-September and early January.
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