Sports fans get carried away with their favorite teams and players, and this passion carries over to ratings in sports video games like NHL 23 every year. Fans are proud to argue about which players should be rated the highest, and are outraged when the publisher of NHL 23, EA Sports, thinks about something else.
Defenders don’t get as bright statistics or fame as the best centers or wingers in the NHL, but they make up the backbone of any championship team. In NHL 23, skilled offensive defenders will help players with excellent long-range passes and strong point shots. The best defenders even have elite skating, which allows them to join the hype and join the attack deep in the attack zone.
Changes in the composition of the defenders of the NHL 23
Players who spend a lot of time in NHL 22 are likely to see at least some changes in the elite quarterbacks line-up when NHL 23 comes out, as a couple of young quarterbacks became superstars in 2021-2022, while some veterans began to show some decline. Thomas Chabot, ranked seventh in the NHL 22 defensemen ranking, took only 36th place in the number of points scored in the 2021/22 season, leaving the group of elite players after the release of NHL 23.
It is important to note that not all defenders of the same rating are equal, and not all attributes are equally important for the blue liner. Offensive defenders are much more valuable in NHL 23 Head-to-Head and Ultimate Team, and attributes like skating, shooting, passes, and offensive awareness will carry much more weight than others when determining the best defenders in the game.
John Carlson, Washington Capitals, 89
John Carlson is a great example of a steady, high—quality defender who succeeds in everything and can be on the ice in any situation for his team. Of the 71 points he scored last season, 25 of them came in the majority of the game, mainly due to Carlson’s elite possession and his ability to control the puck, from above or a good view and a throw that can provide rebounds close to the goal for his teammates. Feeding Alex Ovechkin in NHL 23 by playing the majority also helps to increase stats a bit, but John Carlson still has the skills to generate a lot of attacks on his own.
Carlson’s skill set may not match the Ultimate Team or Head-to-Head in NHL23, as well as the abilities of some other defenders, but he can still be a reliable and stable option for players who want to focus their attack on their forwards. Later in the game cycle, Carlson will probably be the best option in the second or third defensive pair for many competing Ultimate Team lineups, but at the beginning of the game cycle he will be a reliable defender of the top pair.
Adam Fox, New York Rangers, 90 years old overall
The last elite defender to break into the league, Adam Fox is a dominant striker who can handle any situation on the ice and has established himself as one of the Rangers’ best young players. Only the 15th highest-rated defender in the NHL 22, who scored 71 points last season, should raise his overall rating to the top in the game thanks to improved throwing, passing and review characteristics.
Fox is not a very physical player, so NHL 23 players will have to use his attacking abilities to make the most of him in their lineup. Gamers who prefer to play jailbreak style with long passes to attackers will like Adam Fox as part of the team in NHL 23 Ultimate Team or Rangers in full-time matches.
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, 92 years old overall
Victor Hedman scored 85 points in the 2021/22 season, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to the third consecutive Stanley Cup finals. Hedman is stable and his skills are evenly distributed in attack, which fits very well into Tampa’s style of play in possession, which focuses on dominating possession time and goal kicks. Hedman has been one of the best players in the NHL series in years past, largely due to his elite skating, throwing power and handling of the puck.
Hedman’s throw makes him one of the best players you can get in Hockey Ultimate Team, and he will serve as the basis of a great team to use in face-to-face meetings for players who prefer this mode. The Lightning is a possession—based team, so players who want to play with a fast attack might want to choose a different team. However, for players who pass a lot and like to control the puck, Hedman and Lightning will be more than competitive.
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche, 93 years old overall
Like the Avalanche team for which he patrols the blue line, Cale Makar is the epitome of highlights with his puck management, speed, vision and shot making him the best defender in the game at just 23 years old.