Two big-name, high-potential players, Tyler Myers and Evander Kane, began a month-long, league-wide trading frenzy back on February 11. It took Electronic Arts until March 7 to finally get that big-time Winnipeg/Buffalo trade (along with the 44 other transactions made since then) into NHL 15.
A few minutes, however, is all that it took for the company's Twitter account to tweet out a picture of Kane and Myers in their new uniforms, right after that trade became official.
Gamers who only play NHL 15's offline modes also could have easily gotten their copies up-to-date in mere minutes.
But for Online Versus fans, there was no choice but to wait an entire month, until EA finally put Kane, Myers, and many other NHL players onto their correct clubs.
EA is certainly capable of updating NHL 15 more often. More than 120 new cards (each with adjusted attribute ratings) were added to Ultimate Team between the February 11 Kane-Myers trade and the March 7 roster file release. But it seems that since NHL 15's October title update, which added a hurried, half-baked version of Online Team Play, EA hasn't been interested in addressing any problems that aren't related to their revenue-generating Ultimate Team mode. And roster updates -- or more specifically, the lack thereof -- have been a huge problem for NHL 15, all year long. You just wouldn't know that if you only followed EA's Twitter feed.
Saturday's March 7 roster file -- uploaded five days after the trade deadline -- still shows no noticeable ratings changes. That means Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk, who was recently named the NHL's "First Star of the Month" for February, remains an 81 overall -- making him the worst starting goalie in NHL 15. It also means that Buffalo's Chad Johnson, who has 0 shutouts, an .889 save percentage, and a 3.08 goals-against average in 19 appearances this season, is somehow rated higher than Dubnyk, since Johnson possesses an 82 overall rating. This is just one example of the many oddities in NHL 15's current attributes, which if we're being kind, we'll merely call subpar.
If Electronic Arts is going to insist on making their attributes uneditable (as is the case on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), then the company has a responsibility to keep those ratings relevant to what's happening inside real NHL arenas. Having released just two significant ratings updates in the six months since NHL 15's September 9 release, this is clearly a responsibility that EA has failed to fulfill.
In a marketplace where Madden NFL, MLB: The Show, NBA 2K, et al. are updating injuries, transactions, and ratings once a week, if not more, the NHL series cannot afford to lag so far behind its competition. Because unlike what happens in the real NHL, EA's hockey franchise won't be able to reverse its declining position in sports gaming's power rankings by simply dropping straight to the bottom.