Before the 2016 NHL season begins, hockey fans can get a taste of the action with NHL 17.

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The latest video game advances an already popular franchise, featuring enjoyable gameplay, a variety of modes and a realistic look that should keep fans excited.

As Brian Mazique of Forbes argued, "From a visual standpoint, NHL continues to be one of the most attractive sports games available."

Of course, one thing that will remain a point of contention in any game is the ratings given out to the players and teams. This year"s version is no exception, with hockey fans likely ready to argue for their favorites and against Sidney Crosby.


Here is an early look at the ratings for the top players and teams around the NHL before the game is released on Tuesday.


Top Players on NHL 17
RankPlayerPos.TeamOverall Rating
1Sidney CrosbyCPittsburgh Penguins95
2Jamie BennLWDallas Stars94
3Patrick KaneRWChicago Blackhawks94
4Drew DoughtyDLos Angeles Kings94
5Alex OvechkinLWWashington Capitals94
6Jonathan ToewsCChicago Blackhawks94
7Shea WeberDMontreal Canadiens94
8Steven StamkosCTampa Bay Lightning94
9Carey PriceGMontreal Canadiens93
10Anze KopitarCLos Angeles Kings93
11Vladimir TarasenkoRWSt. Louis Blues93
12Duncan KeithDChicago Blackhawks93
13John TavaresCNew York Islanders93
14Evgeni MalkinCPittsburgh Penguins93
15Ryan SuterDNashville Predators93
16Jonathan QuickGLos Angeles Kings93
17Erik KarlssonDOttawa Senators92
18Braden HoltbyGWashington Capitals92
19Brent BurnsDMinnesota Wild92
20Victor HedmanDTampa Bay Lightning92
21Tyler SeguinCBoston Bruins92
22Henrik LundqvistGNew York Rangers92
23Joe PavelskiRWSan Jose Sharks91
24Ryan GetzlafCAnaheim Ducks91
25Nicklas BackstromCWashington Capitals91
Source: EASports.com

Not everyone will be happy to see Crosby listed as the top player, but he continues to prove himself at a high level.


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After a slow start to the 2015-16 season, he was outstanding down the stretch with 44 points in 33 games after the All-Star break. The year eventually ended with him and the Pittsburgh Penguins lifting the Stanley Cup.

The 29-year-old center recently explained his effort to avoid a performance like the start of last season, per Sports Illustrated:

I won’t rest on my laurels. I just can’t. Winning is special. If last season taught me anything, it was how thin the line is between being “washed up” and lifting the Stanley Cup. I don’t want to struggle like that again. That October to December stretch was awful; the lowest point of my career outside of injury. I’ll put in any amount of work I have to so I don’t have to go through that again.

His effort and offensive play clearly make him the top player in hockey at the moment.

Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn and Alex Ovechkin also represent the top offensive players in the sport and are adequately rated by the game.

Among the forwards who might deserve some more credit, look no further than the San Jose Sharks. Both Joe Pavelski (91) and Joe Thornton (90) are coming off strong years where they finished in the top six of the league in points and helped lead their team to the Stanley Cup Final.

Even though they"re on the wrong side of 30 years old, they each could easily be among the top 10 or 15 players in the sport.

There will likely also be plenty of debate among the best goaltenders listed. Although not a lot of points separate them, Carey Price is listed as the top goalie with a rating of 93, tied with Jonathan Quick (93) and ahead of Braden Holtby (92) and Henrik Lundqvist (92).


Price was outstanding in his last full season, leading the NHL in save percentage and goals-against average in 2014-15, but he missed most of last year with a knee injury. Quick has obviously proved himself in the past, although consistency has been an issue for him.

NHL Network (via NHL.com) listed Holtby as the top goalie in the league and No. 5 player overall in its ratings, although he is helped by playing behind one of the most talented teams in hockey.

Debate is always fun, but there are plenty of question marks around the individual ratings.


NHL 17 Team Ratings
TeamOffenseDefenseGoal
Anaheim Ducks909188
Arizona Coyotes868786
Boston Bruins888993
Buffalo Sabres898985
Calgary Flames869286
Carolina Hurricanes848787
Chicago Blackhawks928790
Colorado Avalanche909090
Columbus Blue Jackets879190
Dallas Stars929086
Detroit Red Wings919388
Edmonton Oilers918885
Florida Panthers888889
Los Angeles Kings909194
Minnesota Wild928989
Montreal Canadiens879194
Nashville Predators899094
New Jersey Devils878991
New York Islanders909088
New York Rangers909395
Ottawa Senators908990
Philadelphia Flyers908887
Pittsburgh Penguins908979
San Jose Sharks909483
St. Louis Blues929186
Tampa Bay Lightning939290
Toronto Maple Leafs898185
Vancouver Canucks889088
Washington Capitals919093
Winnipeg Jets889187
Source: EASports.com

The programmers got a lot right, separating the top teams in the league from the rest. However, there are always places to nitpick.

One area for complaint could be the Dallas Stars, who are accurately portrayed as having one of the best offenses in the NHL (92) while also rating highly defensively (90). The latter is a big question mark, though, because it was the defense that held the team back in the postseason a year ago.

As Rob Vollman of ESPN Insider explained, this problem could be an even bigger hindrance next year:

After losing Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers, the defense provides reason for doubt.

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Not to continue praising the Penguins, but they might have a legitimate beef when it comes to the goalie rating. When healthy, Marc-Andre Fleury is solid in net, while 22-year-old Matt Murray was truly the breakout star of the postseason with a 2.08 goals-against average while leading Pittsburgh to the title.