Fans eagerly await the next installment of EA’s NHL series after a wild 2021-2022 NHL Season. The reveal trailer for NHL 23 is expected to be mid-to-late August with the game’s release date expected to be mid-October, shortly before the 2022-2023 NHL Season. The reveal trailer will debut many aspects of the game, including the cover athlete. There are more options than ever for the latest cover athlete after a huge season, but some are highly likely. EA is not afraid to put a player on the game twice or even three times. They have appreciated young stars and veteran players/future Hall of Famers. Here are some players who could likely be the next cover athlete of EA’s NHL 23.
Who could be on the cover of EA’s NHL 23?
Cale Makar – Colorado Avalanche
There could be a debate on which young star of the Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche, is the franchise player, center Nathan MacKinnon or defender Cale Makar. While MacKinnon is deserving and one of the best young stars in the NHL, what Makar did last season was special. Makar won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s best defender. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2022 NHL Playoffs. Makar is the third-ever defenseman to win the Norris and the Smythe Trophy in the same season. EA has only had a defenseman be on the cover for the series five times. The last time a defenseman was on the cover was Nashville Predator’s P.K. Subban in NHL 19. Makar would be the third player for the Colorado Avalanche to be on the series’ cover.
Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malki – Pittsburgh Penguins
EA is not afraid to have more than one player on the cover for their sports games. Madden 22 had Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes III share the same cover. EA’s NHL series had more than one athlete on the cover five times, with the last being in NHL 2004. NHLPA Hockey ’93 had three players on the cover, with two on the same team. This is a route that EA could go with the big three of the Pittsburgh Penguins coming back for at least four more seasons. Letang and Malkin re-signing with the Penguins is a huge deal to the team and the entire NHL. The trio are entering their 17th season together as they have been to the NHL Playoffs for all 16 seasons and won three Stanley Cups.
Leon Draisaitl – Edmonton Oilers
EA has appreciated many young stars in the past couple of years, including Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. A teammate of McDavid who could find himself on the cover of the NHL series as Leon Draisaitl makes a good case. Last season, Draisaitl accounted for 55 goals in the NHL, just ahead of Matthews (the cover athlete of NHL 2020 and 2022). He is also fourth in the NHL in points accounted for all season. In 2020, he was voted a First-Team All-Star and a recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL MVP. He is one of the NHL’s key faces.
Igor Shesterkin – New York Rangers
The 2020-2021 NHL Season was a breakout year for Igor Shesterkin as a starter. This past season was a breakout year for Shesterkin to become a superstar goalie in the league. Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy for the best goalie in the NHL. EA has not overlooked goalies for the cover of their NHL games. There have been six total goalkeepers that have been on the cover of the EA NHL games. There hasn’t been a goalie on the cover of the series since NHL 14 with New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. The New York Rangers have had three players on the cover, but not since NHL 95 with Alexei Kovalev on the cover. Shesterkin could be the second goalie to play for the Rangers to be on the cover since Mike Richter on the NHLPA Hockey ’93.
Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews has been on the cover of the NHL 2020 and 2022, and EA has not ruled him out on being on the cover this year. Matthews has been one of the most high-profile players in the league for several seasons. This past season, Matthews accounted for a league-high 60 goals and was tied for sixth in points (106). On April 26th, EA Sports NHL tweeted congratulating Matthews on his 60th goal. They also stated that gamers of NHL 22 had Matthews scoring 26 million goals. Specifically, the tweet said, “looks like we’re gonna to have to put him on the cover a 3rd time.” They didn’t specify that it would be NHL 23, but all bets are off. There are probably several gamers, NHL fans, and Montreal Canadians fans that do not want Matthews on the cover again.
Looks like we're gonna have to put him on the cover a 3rd time 🎮🧢
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) April 27, 2022
Stay tuned to Last Word on Gaming for all the latest gaming news and review