Now 19 games into his 2014-2015 season, the 22 points tallied by Nashville Predators rookie Filip Forsberg currently tie Steven Stamkos and Phil Kessel for the fourth-highest total in the National Hockey League. Forsberg's +20 on-ice rating leads the NHL, placing five pluses ahead of the second-place skater, Vladimir Tarasenko.
It's been 10 weeks since NHL 15 launched, yet in the game, Forsberg remains the worst player in the Predators' lineup, tied with fourth-line grinder, Taylor Beck, for a team-low 77 overall rating.
While Electronic Arts has been quick to tweet out and blog up new roster file releases, the developer's half-hearted adjustments are only addressing injuries, transactions, and line assignments; to date, they've completely ignored player ratings. As of this writing, not a single NHL player has received a change to his overall rating since NHL 15 shipped on September 9.
As a result, hockey fans must manage ridiculous lineup situations, like Forsberg starting on Nashville's first line while simultaneously sporting the lowest attributes on the team, or seeing last season's NCAA player of the year, Johnny Gaudreau (14 points in 20 games), being graded only two overall points above Calgary's chief face-puncher, Brian McGrattan (27 points in 316 games).
NHL 15's lack of ratings corrections isn't just affecting up-and-coming talent, but also, the game's numerous has-beens, many of whom are holding onto “legacy ratings” that they no longer deserve. For example, Forsberg's 35-year-old, third-line teammate, Olli Jokinen, still has the fourth-highest overall rating among Predators forwards (84 overall), despite posting zero points over the same 18-game stretch.
This is, sad to say, business as usual for Electronic Arts' NHL franchise, which has historically delivered some of the most poorly rated, slow-to-update rosters in sports gaming.
The big difference this year, is that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners can no longer edit skaters' attributes to their liking, leaving early adopters of these new systems with no choice but to use EA's neglected, inaccurate ratings.
NHL 14 fans might also be wondering where last year's "dynamic roster updates" went. The much-hyped return of "hot" and "cold" player streaks was a frequently requested feature from the series' SEGA Genesis/Super Nintendo days. I guess, like most of the features from NHL 14, hot and cold streaks were simply cut from this year's game, without any formal announcement.
At a time when most other $60 sports titles are committed to updating their rosters on a weekly (and even daily) basis and allowing their users to share customized files, NHL 15's hands-off approach to roster editing embarrasses its developer and insults its declining playerbase.