August 07 2014 08:28PM
The fine folks at EA Sports are gearing towards another new release in their NHL Video Game series, and as such, are drumming up fan interest in whatever way they can. Earlier in the year, it was assaulting Twitter with hashtags (also known as the Cover Vote). Now, they're slowly but surely leaking out player ratings, mostly so people can argue about how they're the stupidest thing to ever stupid and totally wrong.
Phil Kessel is ranked as a 90 overall. But how does that compare to the rest of the league?
Quite good, actually. The Phil's skating ability, amazing shot, and dashingly good looks have lead to him being ranked as the third best Right Winger in the game. Immediately behind him are Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis, and just ahead of him are Marian Hossa and Corey Perry.
There's some debate as to whether this is a fair top five, relative. My personal opinion is that spots 1 to 3 rotate on a week-by-week basis, depending on which of Kessel, Kane, and Perry is on the best streak. But Hossa and St. Louis are no slouches, and would be in my top five, albeit with Hossa dropping to the four slot. (EA Sports is taking the logical route and counting Alex Ovechkin at LW).
The reason that Hossa is ahead and Perry is definitively ahead at 93 overall? EA values defensive awareness stats and "grit". Heck, David Clarkson is a beast in the series, and Dion Phaneuf is probably still in the top 7 or 8 defenemen (but not in the top 5). Perry, despite being a skilled guy, still plays like a grinder and has a physical edge to him, while Hossa is probably the best two-way winger of our generation. As such, the video game loves them.
But hey, 90 overall? Kessel is no slouch. It's the highest he's ever been ranked in the game, and the first time the Leafs have seen an EA Sports 90 overall player since Mats Sundin, and the 38 guys you have in the NHL and AHL on your year 21 Be A GM save file.