Steve Mason stands on his head — and scores a goal — as the Flyers win the Stanley Cup in a full-season simulation, while Roberto Luongo turns back the clock and Patrick Kane continues to dominate league scoring.
Philadelphia Flyers fans can get ready for a parade this summer — or at least that’s what EA Sports’ NHL 17 is predicting.
The newest instalment of NHL 17 is set to be released Tuesday, but EA’s Early Access program has made the game playable days ahead of its formal release. And in a full-season simulation, the Flyers, led by outstanding goaltending by Steve Mason, have themselves in line for the third Stanley Cup in franchise history.
In order to get the results of 2016-17 campaign via NHL 17, a season was set up and simulated all the way through. Some of the happenings of the campaign may be a bit farfetched, but no video game — even one that prides itself on simulation-style gameplay as much as the EA titles do — is going to be able to accurately predict the future. Here’s a look at how the 2016-17 simmed season standings shook out:
One important note on the standings to keep in mind: These are the rosters right out of the box, and trades were turned off to avoid any GM trading oddities. For instance, we wouldn’t have wanted to see Sidney Crosby traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Connor McDavid, so the only way to ensure that was by nixing the trading.
So, yes, with that in mind, EA’s NHL 17 doesn’t project the up-and-coming Florida Panthers to have a huge season thanks to their off-season wheeling and dealing. Most surprisingly, though, is that the season is centred not around the young talent but on goaltender Roberto Luongo. Even with James Reimer as his backup, Luongo takes over and dominates the regular season.
In the post-season, though, the Panthers suffer the curse of the Presidents’ Trophy. Take a look at the playoff bracket, which features an Eastern Conference final matchup that we can only hope comes to pass:
For his play in the post-season, Steve Mason takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the Flyers to not one, not two but three Game 7 victories. It’s not shocking, though, considering Mason was among the league’s best goaltenders in the regular season. (He also somehow managed to score a goal during the campaign.)
When it came to end-of-season awards, the dominating forces were Luongo and Patrick Kane, though Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens fans will be encouraged by two of our NHL 17 simulations projected winners.
Kane led the league for a second-straight season in the simulation, potting 49 goals and 57 points. He captured the Art Ross, Hart, Lady Byng and Ted Lindsay Award. The next closest scorer to Kane was Corey Perry, who netted 48 goals and 93 points, but that wasn’t enough to earn him any hardware.
The other offensive awards went to Alex Ovechkin and Patrice Bergeron, who captured the Rocket Richard and Selke Trophies, respectively.
For goaltending, Luongo captured the Vezina and Jennings Trophies. He posted a 46-18-5 record with a .926 save percentage, 2.11 goals-against average and five shutouts. His 146 goals against were far and away the best of any starting netminder.
Finally, it was a pair of players from Canadian teams who took home the Calder and Norris Trophies. William Nylander’s rookie campaign was enough to capture top rookie honors, while Shea Weber, in his first season in Montreal, was named the league’s best defender and did his best to make the Canadiens faithful forget about P.K. Subban.
The likelihood the results from a full-season simulation in NHL 17 come to fruition are slim. That said, if the latest instalment in EA’s NHL series has any Nostradamus like qualities, get ready for a fun campaign Flyers fans.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.