NHL 14 Review And Flames Player Rankings



EA Sports released the latest edition of their popular NHL video game series to much anticipation Tuesday and I managed to beat the rush and get my hands on a copy.
This year’s version of the game came with just as many promises as its predecessors did and in the past, fans were left with a bad taste in their mouths (and lighter wallets).

"All they did was add a few players and make some roster moves" was a common phrase spat by dissatisfied costumers the last few years and it seems that EA was listening, because when they announced some of the new features, it looked like they were actually changing a good chunk of the game. Hitting, Fighting and Dangling were all to be redesigned and "Be a Pro" mode was getting a facelift, renamed "Live the Life". But could they really deliver on such hefty promises?


Promise: New Hitting Engine to eliminate unrealistic collisions and bring in real life factors (size, speed, positioning) into play when a hit is delivered.
Did They Deliver?
Yes, it’s great

The new hitting engine is in a word, awesome. Hits look real, feel real and most importantly, COULD be real. That means we’ve left the days of Nathan Gerbe putting Zdeno Chara through the glass behind us. It also means no more weak pushes that result in a quintuple back flips or soft looking bumps that should’ve been devastating hits which could be really annoying and frustrating. It gives big teams like the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins an actual edge in the physical department – something that can’t be said of past NHL games. I suppose you could say, #GRITCHART actually sort of matters.

EA introduced three "main" gamemodes which essentially adjust the gameplay sliders to adapt a certain style of game. There’s a "realistic" setting which is probably used by most users, a slower setting for those getting used to the game or who just want everything slowed down, and a fast, slightly unrealistic pace setting. I play the fast setting which just makes everything that much faster, harder and in my opinion, better.
Promise: New Fighting engine
Did They Deliver? Yes, KO’s for days
Gone are the first person fights that always ended with the same annoying animation. We now have third person bouts and the fights are realistic too as they allow you to throw a combination of different punches and if you’re skilled enough, one punch knockout you’re opponent. Every fight has a different outcome and not only can you celebrate your fight (unfortunately they forgot the McGrattan salute) but both players show the ill effects of the fight (scrapes, bruises) following the scrap. Job well done EA. Not only this, but the third person view also allows for multiple scraps to take place at once paving the way for an inevitable line brawl.

If I was to identify one issue with the new set up, it would have to be the oversensitivity the CPU has to anything you do. A big hit results in someone charging you and dropping the mitts and god forbid you shoot the puck after the whistle, you’ll immediately be met by a number of angry opponents ready to fight. It’s of course your choice whether or not you fight, but having the option to duke it out after every single whistle is a little unrealistic. There may be a slider somewhere that governs this, but so far I have yet to uncover it.
Promise: One Touch Dekes
Did They Deliver? Yes, but…
Undressing a defender is now a lot easier and I’m not a fan. Call me boring, but making it so that Shayne O’Brien can turn Drew Doughty inside out does not make the game more fun. Some might find this a nice addition but it doesn’t do much for me. This feature though does change the dynamic of the game – especially online – as you’ll see a lot more dipsy-doodling and dangling in game, possibly leading to higher scores because other than trying to hit the guy or attempting a poke check (both I find are pretty ineffective against a preset deke like that), there’s little you can do to stop it.
Promise: New Be A Pro Mode (Live the Life)
Did They Deliver?
The way you play the hockey has remained the same but the mode itself is completely different. You now have real life events and actions that factor into your success as a hockey player. Before getting drafted into the NHL, you have to go through three pre-draft interviews which slightly affect your draft stock, depending on how you answer the questions they ask. The three teams that interview you are essentially the clubs that have the most interest in you and more times than not (if not all the time), you’ll be picked up by one of those teams. After that, as you play through your career you’ll be asked to answer questions (mostly from the media) or make decisions that affect your status with the fans, teammates, management and your family.

High ratings in each category result in positive things happening to your character (big contract, endorsements, captaincy) while low ratings result in negatives (getting booed, run out of town, forced retirement). Pretty basic stuff. The questions you answer are presented in a multiple choice format in which 2 answers are usually considered "good, safe awnsers", one usually being cocky and the other random. It’s a fun new fold to a mode that was getting old and outdated.
Besides the main changes, EA also made a bunch of other "improvements", the best of which was scrapping the stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid basic blue background they had for most gamemodes in NHL 13, reverting back to something derived from hockey. Everything also just seems to be cleaner and sharper looking; you can tell they put a lot more work into the design this time around.
Other nice additions include a "Twitter" like feature to the Live the Life and Be a GM modes that sees all 30 NHL Teams tweet info about the games they’re playing and also someone named "Hockey Analyst" who is essentially a Bob McKenzie/HockeyyInsiderr hybrid, tweeting signings and trades as well as rumours which is really, really cool. Besides this there are a number of tweaks and upgrades that improve your overall gaming experience.
But, is all this enough to invest 59.99 of your own (or your parents’) hard earned paper on? In my humble opinion, yes it is. If you’re a fan of hockey or still play the older versions of the game, NHL 14 offers way too many changes that enhance the overall experience and realism of the game to not purchase it. It’s a huge leap forward from last years version and between the much improved AI (all your past sure fire scoring techniques are useless now) and all the new engines that were introduced, you’ll more than likely feel your money was well spent.
My Rating: 9.5/10
They delivered on all their promises and delivered a fresh, new version of the NHL game we’ve all come to know and love.

Flames Ratings

For those who care about such things, here is what EA Sports thinks about your Calgary Flames:
Notice: If you’re thinking "hey not bad" while reading these, know that you are wrong and it is bad. The Flames have one of the bottom rated teams in the game – which kind of makes sense I guess.


Mike Cammalleri – 87 (That’s worth a 1st round pick right?)
Mark Giordano – 85 (Agreed)
Curtis Glencross – 84 (Agreed)
Jiri Hudler – 83 (Agreed)
David Jones – 82 (Hopefully)
Lee Stempniak – 82 (Sounds about right)
Dennis Wideman – 82 (I’d have him a notch or two higher)
Matt Stajan – 81 (Fair, maybe deserves a notch lower)
TJ Galiardi – 81 (Hopefully)
Mikael Backlund – 80 (I’d have him a few notches higher)
Chris Butler – 80 (That sound you’re making is called hysterical laughter)
TJ Brodie – 80 (I’d have him an 83, at least)
Kris Russel – 79 (Sounds about right)
Derek Smith – 78 (Pretty generous in my opinion)
Mark Cundari – 75 (Sounds about right)
Chris Breen – 73 (Ok)
Tim Jackman – 73 (Agreed)

Other Notables

Blair Jones – 72 (Sounds about right)
Greg FirstRoundPick Nemisz – 70 (Dat generosity)
Max Reinhart – 70 (Hopefully he proves to be higher)
Brian McGrattan – 68 (Should’ve been 99 but politics)
Sean Monahan – 64
Morgan Klimchuck – 55 (He has ridiculously high trade value)
Emile Porier – 55 (He has ridiculously low trade value)
Keegan Kanzig – 52

Joey MacDonald – 73 (Seriously, he’s the highest rated goalie on the Flames roster)
Karri Ramo – 69 (Could prove to be higher)
Reto Berra – 68 (Same boat as Ramo)
Laurent Brossoit – 61
Miikka Kiprusoff – 81 (Too bad he retired, right?)
No Joni Ortio in my version, which is weird. No Corban Knight as of yet either. Likely will be included in the next roster update.

Recently at FlamesNation

  • cpbrowner

    Some of their potential ratings are off as well. They had Brodie as a 4-star red, meaning he is unlikely to reach his potential. I think he should be a green.

    Poirier’s potential was a 2.5-yellow which is WAY too low, should be about a 4.-yellow. Monahan is a 4.5-yellow and Klimchuk is a 4-yellow.

    Also annoys me how they somehow deleted Granlund. Hope there’s a roster update sooner than later that’s accurate with the right prospects

    • 24% body fat

      I would think that the red is not that big of a deal. Gagner is a 4 red for the game. He has an 86 rating, so growth may be minimal but there is a chance he could get to the next level. Even if he only grows by one point that is a win, so it is accurate.

      Just make sure Brodie is in the minors playing 20 minutes a night with a strong veteran dman and red wont be a problem.

      CHL and recently drafted players are not up to date. Poirer was taken off the board whether you think it or not, so he was rated for a mid to late 2nd rounder. Updating CHL players is the last thing on EAs list, give it time. NUchiskin isnt even in the game. Slepyshev for the oilers was in last year but isnt this year. Lots of weird poop going on in it,

  • McRib

    “Mike Cammalleri – 87 (That’s worth a 1st round pick right?)” Hahahaha, Oh it better be come Trade Deadline time!! Look at what Jason Pominville got Buffalo.

    Its interesting always liked TJ Galiardi & David Jones, think they have more potential then just as role players that could step up. Apparently NHL14 thinks so as well. Finding that most people on FN are being relatively conservative with their expectations for them. Which is fine, but both have never been giving a major shot at regular Top. 6 minutes in my eyes and could perform there.

  • McRib

    Glencross had a hat trick in the scrimmages yesterday. Stempniak/Roman Horak both with 3 Assists. Knight, Hanowski, Nemisz (OH NO) were young guys with goals. Ferland, Gordan had assits as well.

  • McRib

    “Chris Butler – 80 (That sound you’re making is called hysterical laughter)”

    Why didn’t we trade him at the trade deadline again last year… Peoples opinion of him seems to be rediculously overrated.

  • 24% body fat

    Flames fans this is the best time to play this game (speaking as a oilers fan who new better than tambo).

    Here is how I would rebuild in these games for the oilers.

    1. Trade bad contracts or any veterans for picks. (Cammo, Wideman, Glencross, etc.) Start by always asking for a first and a third. If they dont except ask for a first and fourth. than first and fifth.

    2. Trade all useless prospects you know wont develop for picks. Start by asking for a third and than repeat above. But ask for a two fourths. if not ask for a fourth and fifth.

    3. Once you depleted your roster fill it with free agents. There will be enough decent ones to replace what you cut and get you by.

    4. Sign high potential guys to two year two way deals. If they take leaps forward its a win. If not you trade them at the draft or late rounders.

    5. Pick guys off of waivers and trade them for picks. Only do this 6 times or so or the players get mad and wont sign with you.

    6. DOnt sim all your games. Build up Gm points in the first year and develop your assistant coach so your players develop better. You should be better than the sim and you will likely win more games. If not you could get fired.

    7. Trade any old asset at deadline even if you are contending. YOu are better than the sim and you could still go deep into the playoffs with out say Cammo.

    8. Trade your accumulated picks to move up. Your GM rating drops but this is a huge win in the long run.

    9. This is a big cheat and takes time. Save before draft day. Do the draft. Record each player where they went an to which team. Sort by team and look through who was a steal and where they went. Set a priority list as to when you think you can get these players. Make trades accordingly to position yourself and possibly acquire more guys. I have found a lot of late round steals in the 5th and 6th round from this. Drafting first overall has not always been the best player. Ihave traded first for 3rd and 9th before and got the best player in the draft plus another guy I wanted. If you use this strategy (cheat) it also saves you from having to upgrade your amateur scout and you can use the points on med staff and asst coaches.

    10. Get rid of farm players that arent under contract for you and play your prospects.

    11. dont sign drafted players until you have to. Jr is best than AHL time than NHL time.

    I await the trashes and props.

    • Shoestring

      I have noticed is previous games players are not picked in the same order and develop different. I haveen’t done your draft redraft before but have played multiple be a GM before. The new game is much better than last years for sure. I am sure you all are aware of the roster update from 9/9/13

    • JumpJet

      I’d say most of this doesn’t work as well if at all in NHL 14.

      1. The only contract the Flames have out of the gate that is worth a first round pick is Cammy’s, and you’re not going to get much else.

      4. A really cool addition to this years’ game is how some players develop. A player’s overall is not set for the season at the draft: they can improve (marginally) during the season and take big leaps in the off-season months. I had Pat Sieloff go from a 77 to an 82 between July and September. Pretty neat stuff, so don’t give up on prospects to soon.

      9. I’ve always thought about doing this, but it seems like a lot of work. Kudos to you for sticking to it.

      • 24% body fat

        1. I traded Nick Shultz and got a first rounder. I traded Ales Hemsky and got a first rounder. You just need to make sure they have the need for the player. I traded Tuebert for a second rounder. Use the block. If the player is Green you can trade him easily. Flames have cap room. Try using your cap retention to up the trade value.

        4. Seiloff is a good prospect, Im talking guys like Nemitz, C Hamilton, Bigos… The bottom of the barrel. Get rid of them. Let me know how your bottom guys do, if they turn out to be players.

        9. I actually thought of a better way of doing it. Just go through the rookie list on each team after the draft. Find the guys with high trade values and see where they were drafted and in which year. Would be much quicker.


        considering that gagner was a top 10 scoring center last year and you flames fans are complaining about backlunds rating who is a 30 point guy I think they got Gagner dead on. 86 with a low read on his potential but a good ceiling. Pacioretty is an 88!

        EDIT: The top 4 forwards on Kents list plus Wideman can fetch a first rounder if cap is held back, a late pick is added or you delay and trade to a team with a later first round. I once traded Staios for Seabrook. So keep hope alive.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Aside from the video game, how good is Glencross? (so I mean in real life – I haven’t really played video games ever so I don’t care about NHL 14)

    Is he the best player on Calgary and if so, how does he rank in the league?

    Sort of related (to my post about how good Flames players are)

    I was watching NHL network. They were showing the run the Habs went on when they, as huge underdogs, beat Caps and Pens.

    Cammi played unreal. In the offensive zone he controlled everything. Holding the puck, dishing, finishing. Oh and not showing any emotion either which sucks and he needs to stop being a robot and let loose-I mean go bat s__t crazy after every goal.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Cammalleri and Glencross are both 1st line calibre players in real life.

    Glencross is comparable to, but better than, Clarkson. He very quietly has one of the highest shooting percentages in the entire NHL. He also has the rare advantage of being effective in power-vs-power situations, having spent most of his career playing against top opposition in a checking role.

    Cammalleri is a very high-level trigger man. Being honest, he’s pretty one-dimensional, but he’s good at his dimension, and it’s one that every team needs lots of. Unless he’s injured, he’s a 25-30-goal scorer when playing with average players, and can pot 30+ goals if he’s got a first-line playmaker with him. He’s also got a history of being a beast in the playoffs not that long ago.

    I’d take Glencross for an 82-game season, and I’d pick Cammalleri for a playoff run.

  • redricardo

    I’d love to see someone do a review of “Franchise Hockey Manager”. That game apparently actually is detailed enough to track a few of the advanced stats. Seems like a sports simulation built for Flames Nation.

  • redricardo

    The game play is fun, but the rosters are way out of wack. Players like Kipper are still in, players like Knight/Monahan are not, the Heat roster is a mess, I saw one Flame wearing number 12.

    You would think they could get the rosters right. I could do it in a weekend. It isn’t that hard.

    • seve927

      It is when you have to set the rosters a minimum of a month before the game ships, probably more.

      There’ll be a roster update in the first week of the season that fixes things like Kipper being gone. He officially retired last week – the game was pressed and being shipped out before it was official.

    • seve927

      One of Monahan’s goals was a brutal giveaway by Glencross, but good snipe nonetheless – I think it was against MacDonald. The other was a good snipe as well, but the setup was the key and i can’t remember who it was from.

      D Jones was outstanding. Ferland scored another goal where he brought the puck into the zone, Jones recovered, took two big hits on the boards but kept control, got it back to Wotherspoon, who got a shot through and Ferland was there for the rebound. Jones was very noticeable all game.

      One thing I’ve noticed is that every time a guy has gotten onto Ferland’s line, he’s had his best game yet. Knight was better in the first game as well, then didn’t look very good at all in the next game playing with B Jones and … I forget. B Jones and Glencross got in a little fight – I don’t know what that was about, but I think it was real, and maybe not forgotten. Glencross looked seriously pi$$ed.

      Ferland made a move on a breakout with Brodie pinching to take the puck away that left Brodie nothing but air. Brodie was excellent after that;I think he was a little embarrassed.

      Ramo was excellent. I think he played both games for the White team (B) unless I’m mistaken. The 5-1 win was definitely him.

      Culkin made a spectacular pass to McGrattan, at full speed, as he got too deep to take a shot, put it on the tape for McGrattan to finish. Excellent finish, by the way, right under the bar.

      Kulak looked bad defensively, but pretty good in the O-zone. Kanzig looked a little more like an 18 year old today, but I still wouldn’t say bad.

      Didn’t mean for this to get so long, but I could go on for quite a while yet… I’ll just stop and get back to work.

        • seve927

          All right, a couple more things:

          SOB and Bouma got into a little dust up too. Both guys just competing really hard, and it eventually got to punches being thrown, and everybody jumping in. Feel good story of the day 😉 Had me pumped.

          Kanzig got burned good by Poirier. I think he was expecting him to pass and just let him walk by him into the slot from the half wall for a good shot. I’m not even sure what he was doing on that side of the ice. Looked really bad.

          Ok, I think I’m done for today. Parking lot was packed there today, I can’t imagine where everybody is supposed to park when they fill the Markin McPhail center.

          • beloch

            Thanks for injecting a little *real* hockey into my day seve927. I’m not really interested in the video game since EA practically runs their code-tank on dead baby belugas.

      • McRib

        Never too long when you bring first hand insight when no one else is!! Haha. Ferland always had the tools for me to be a Top. 6 power winger, but everything else he did to get in shape has allowed me to think he might actually reach that potential. Which before was questionable with incidents in Cochrane and his playing weight where it was until this summer. He looked so good in Penticton, whenever I watched him he was making something happen. He has earned a long look with the big club this year to say the least. Glad to hear Ramo looked good as well. Look forward to tomorrow night! David Jones always had the potential for me to be a regular 50-60 point guy but Colorado was a disaster last year. The entire team gave up on the coach, because he had a young family and was never at the rink. Apparently Adam Foote was basically the coach two years ago, like JS said the team was more worried about Las Vegas year end trip then they were playing hockey.

        • seve927

          I’ve been a big fan of Ferland since the first time I saw him play. I was really disappointed in his season last year. Even the games I saw him play with the Blades, he was getting points, but was not impressive. This year, he seems to be putting it all together. Quite honestly, if I got to pick a team to play tomorrow, basing it only on the scrimmages I’ve seen, he would be my first pick. He could be a big wild card in the rebuild.

          I also like the time of the scrimmages. These are not Jarome’s Flames! Really like SOB. Hated him with Vancouver, but always thought he played strong D. I think he’ll be a fan favorite. He’s always talking, chirping, encouraging… Pretty sure he’ll do something to try to stoke the BOA tomorrow!

  • RedMan

    I cant help but wonder – to those of you who have the game – what Tanguay, Iginla & Bouwmeesters scores are?????????????
    this is important…

    if your looking anyway, could you throw in Reghere and Dion’s score as well??? ill double your tip in ya do 😉