With the new EA Sports NHL title to release on Thursday, the Dallas Stars’ in-game roster is super promising. While the game is simulation-based, and weird anomalies can happen, the game gives us a good indication of the Stars’ season expectations. The average rating on the active roster is 82.6. While that seems low, the individual rating of specific players predicts that this team can easily make the playoffs once again. Going through the rosters line-by-line, let’s analyze the Dallas Stars’ NHL 22 ratings.
NHL 22 X-factor Traits
New to the EA Sports NHL series is the X-factor ability trait. Each player has a rating based on a 100-point scale. The closer a player is to 100, the better they are. To further separate superstar players from great players, EA created X-factor traits that embellish the performance of a specific skill. For example, if Alexander Ovechkin scores a goal, his superstar ability activates, and he can play with increased durability and speed, plus his slap shot is almost unstoppable.
Across their NHL roster, the Stars have six players that have the unique x-factor ability. Joe Pavelski is the only player with the trait fully leveled-up, while his teammates are only allowed a few perks. Doing well in franchise and season mode with those players will help them fully maximize the X-factor trait.
.The x-factor ability has been a staple of EA Sports Madden Football franchise since Madden Football 20. While Madden is immensely popular with or without the unique ability, the NHL series has fallen off over four or five years. With the release days away, the X-factor trait can redesign both online and offline modes within the game.
Stars NHL 22 Ratings
LW-Jason Robertson- 84 overall C-Roope Hintz 85 overall (X-factor) RW-Joe Pavelski 86 overall (X-factor)
This line is current and fairly rated. Considering that Jason Robertson got a late push in the Calder voting last year, he nonetheless impressed with 45 points in 51 games. Robertson has the potential to have another breakout season with him locked into a first-line role. NHL didn’t want to overvalue the line by giving Robertson an X-factor skill. Calder winner Kirill Kaprizov has a fully maxed X-factor trait, as does linemate Pavelski.
Pavelski’s trait is completely earned as he had 51 points in 56 games last season. He will look to bypass the 70-point mark. He hasn’t broken that milestone since the 2015-16 season.
The fact that Hintz was given an X-factor skill tree is surprising. While he was a point-per-game player last season, having also battled through injury, the Stars were not slept on by the EA developers. Now firmly entrenched on the top line, Hintz will be an integral part of the Stars’ success this season.
LW-Joel Kiviranta 78 overall C-Tyler Seguin 87 overall RW-Alexander Radulov 86 overall (X-factor)
The Stars’ second line is accurate and fairly rated. Weirdly, Radulov has an X-factor skill, but Seguin doesn’t even with a higher rating. The decision by EA to choose Radulov over Seguin is puzzling as well. Seguin has led the team in scoring in three separate seasons since being traded to Dallas during the 2013-14 season.
Kiviranta is accurately rated. The Stars desperately missed Seguin and Radulov last year, and Kiviranta struggled to produce. Kiviranta is a bit of a surprise since he only scored 11 points through 26 games. Denis Gurionov, who I thought was going to be on this second line, had 30 points in 55 games. Kiviranta will have a career year with the high skill of his linemates.
LW-Michael Raffl 79 overall C-Jamie Benn 85 overall RW-Denis Gurianov 84 overall
The third line is correct but a little overrated. Benn has been regressing offensively, causing coach Rick Bowness to re-evaluate his role on the team. He moved from the top line down to the third and will take on a grinder role. He should be an 84 or 83. Benn will be super productive when playing the game.
Another head-scratching decision is giving Gurianov an 84 rating. Though they probably set the lineups to current preseason lines, there is an algorithm named “best line.” This feature will put together lines based on chemistry and overall. So, it’s even weirder that Gurianov is here.
Raffl is a fairly rated player and a sneaky good in-game pickup for a third or fourth line. The other options for the Stars are Ty Delandrea, 77 overall, Tanner kero, 76 overall, or Nick Caamano, 76 overall. The Stars rotated through all these players in the preseason, so the lineup spot is still up for grabs here.
LW-Blake Comeau 79 overall C-Radek Faska 80 overall RW-Luke Glendening 80 overall
The Stars’ fourth line is a combination of skilled penalty killers. Unfortunately, NHL video games seemingly discount defensive ability for offensive players. The game has a fast and arcade-like feel, making fourth lines unusable, besides killing penalties. After being ranked as a mediocre penalty kill last year, the addition of Glendening will make this line better. He is an elite faceoff specialist and will only add to this tough fourth line. This combination has a chance to be the best in the NHL this season.
Pair 1: Esa Lindell 83 overall – Miro Heiskanen 86 overall (X-factor)
Pair 2: Ryan Suter 85 overall (X-factor) – John Klingberg 86 overall (X-factor)
Pair 3: Joel Hanley76 overall – Andrej Sekera 78 overall
The accuracy by NHL 22 begins to wander here, as Suter has spent time on the top defensive pairing with Heiskanen. While the X-factor for Heiskanen and Klingberg are agreeable, giving one to Suter is strange. The former Minnesota Wild defenseman had a massive drop-off in points from the 2019-20 to 2020-21 seasons. The Stars will play him at his strength this season and instruct him to shoot as much as possible. That shouldn’t warrant an X-factor rating, especially considering that former teammate Zach Parise didn’t get one.
Lindell does not have an X-factor, and while he had a down season last year, throwing extra skills to this defense would make it too overpowered.
Hanley and Sekera are well rated. They are middle-of-the-road defensemen, and for video game purposes, can be substituted by Jani Hakanpaa and Thomas Harley, who both have a 77 overall.
Anton Khudobin 83 overall – Braden Holtby 82 overall
This offseason, the Stars made a strange move by demoting breakout goalie Jake Ottinger to the AHL and signing Holtby as a backup. Holtby had a rough season in Vancouver, posting a .889 save percentage and a 3.67 goals-against average. He only played in 21 games in 2020-21, eight less than Ottinger. Ottinger and Holtby are both given an 82 overall.
Khudobin is a little underrated at 83. He held his own last season, having a .905 save percentage with a 2.54 GAA through 32 games. He ranked 16th in GAA of the 50 goalies that made an appearance last season.
The rating of Ben Bishop is egregious at 85. Bishop hasn’t played since the 2019-20 playoffs. He did practice during the preseason, but the probability of him playing this season is low. If you use the Stars in the game’s franchise mode, you won’t have to worry about the goaltender depth, that’s for sure.
Considering the six X-factor players on the Stars, EA Sports believes that they are a good team. In a reflection of the real-life Dallas Stars, they have more depth than the previous season and plenty of young players trying to crack the lineup. Minus a few hiccups, this team will be fun to play with on NHL 22 this year.