Today Niesy posed the following questions on Twitter:
I don't understand NHL 13. Can someone explain to me why Kopitar is rated so much lower than Saint Jonathan Toews?— jewelsfromthecrown (@NiesyJFTC) October 2, 2012
@xanubisdoji Thanks! I'm really curious. The Mike Richards > Kopitar thing is weird too.— jewelsfromthecrown (@NiesyJFTC) October 2, 2012
After the jump I will try and explain both of these things, using math and stats and everything that is right with the world (other than EA NHL rating systems, which everyone agrees are wrong because X player is too high or too low).
First things first is the head to head match up of two of the better playmaking centers in the Western Conference, Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar.
Ever since his Cover Boy status in NHL 10, Toews has been one of the highest ranked skaters in the EA NHL series, but why is he ranked a full 4 overall points higher than Anze Kopitar? First let's look at the game's evaluations of each players skills and how they match up head to head.
The Overall scores are actually made up of 25 categories, below are each players and how they rank. Every positive is an advantage for Toews and every minus an advantage for Kopitar.
|Slap Shot Acc||Slap Shot Pow||Wrist Shot Acc||Wrist Shot Pow||Dekeing||Hand Eye||Passing||Puck Control||Discipline||Off. Awareness||Poise|
|Fighting Skill||Strength||Def. Awareness||Faceoffs||Shot Blocking||Stick Checking|
Now to kind of break that down they have 5 categories in NHL 13:
They rank Kopitar as a more powerful shooter, but think Toews has a more accurate shot, by the amounts listed this is a wash.
Toews wins this category hands down with a +8 dekeing skill and a positive in hand eye, passing, and puck control as well. As they are both marked as playmakers, this category carries the most weight.
This category is also a wash (one would think) but it isn't. "Poise" is the single heaviest weighted "skill" to overall player ratings and usually ranks around 70-75 for rookies, up to the 90's for superstars. The advantage in future potential is to Kopitar however, because as your poise grows your overall tends to go up faster. Of note in this is that Kopitar (as of 13) hasn't reached his full in game potential so he will still grow in modes such as Be a GM.
Toews wins the footrace here in acceleration, speed, and agility. Due to his exceptional 2-way play, however, Kopitar has him by +5 in Balance.
Here, again, things are almost a wash, other than Toews being a better fighter (apparently) and Kopitar being stronger (no surprise there)
Probably the worst affront of categories, Toews beats Kopitar across the board by a wide margin on his defensive play. By almost 30 points. Much of it in the category of Faceoffs, though he also wins handily in everything else.
Mike Richards Better than Kopitar, What?
Another question mark on the rating system is how players individual ratings weigh on their overall by player type. For a forward there are 6 types of players; Sniper, Playmaker, Two-Way Forward, Power Forward, Grinder, and Tough Guy (also known as worthless punching bag that probably shouldn't be on the ice).
Where Koptiar is a playmaker who's overall is weighted more heavily based on his puck skills, Mike Richards is a Two-Way Forward who gets an overall bonus based on his aggression and defense. The following quote is direct from EA producer Gurn Sumal.
"Another example is when you look at a player like Mike Richards (87) compared to Anze Kopitar (86) the difference in overall is very small. When you look at Kopitar’s Offensive Ratings they are slightly better than Richards’ but Richards has much better defensive and physical attributes and that is enough for him to overcome Kopitar’s offensive edge."
But for anyone that watches the Kings, or even looks at the above chart of in-game Kopitar how much of an advantage could Mike Richards really have
Now for this to make sense you would have to assume that Richards is being granted 90's in his defensive game to make up the offensive difference, as Kopitar is still in the 85-90 range on shooting skills. This is not the case. In shooting Mike Richards is given a range of 85-87, very close to Kopitar. His Defensive prowess as one of the elite 2-way players in the game? 88's in Defensive Categories, and 87's in Physical. Which as an aggregate easily makes up the 1 point overall point difference. Again, likely because they are taking Kopitar's 2-way play for granted.
The place this hurts the most is when you examine a player like Stamkos, another Coverboy of the NHL franchise and see him rocking higher defensive skills than Kopitar and see him neck and neck with former Selke finalist, Richards.