One of the biggest questions leading up to the announcement of NHL 22 is who will grace the cover of EA Vancouver’s annual hockey franchise? This is a hot topic every year, but something tells me the NHL 22 cover athlete will be more hotly debated than previous years. Let’s dive in and talk about it.
NHL 22 cover athlete
The NHL 22 cover athlete is Auston Matthews, who is enjoying his second feature on the cover of the NHL franchise in three years. Now, I’m as big of a Toronto Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews fan as there is, and even I must pause and ask if this is the right move by EA Vancouver. For the dozens of players that enjoy superstar status in the NHL, you’d think coming back to someone for the second time in three years would be a silly move.
Trying to approach this from a logical perspective, EA Vancouver must have its reasons. This wasn’t some play for favoritism, as they’re based in Vancouver and undoubtedly the office is full of at least some big Canucks fans. They could plop Quinn Hughes or Elias Pettersson on the cover, and nobody would bat an eye, aside from MacKinnon fans.
No, my guess is that this is purely analytical. This almost certainly tracks back to sales and social media impressions. EA Vancouver isn’t trying to give the cover to the most deserving athlete, they’re trying to give it to the one that will stand out and potentially lead to more copies of the game being purchased. If they feel Matthews – who is a known Chel player – is more marketable than any other player, then my guess is his second cover won’t be his last.
None of this is to say that Matthews isn’t deserving. He’s the current Rocket Richard winner and finished second in voting for the Hart Trophy. His spot on the cover is deserved, it’s just that there are a lot of players who also deserve the honor, and they haven’t had it even once. From that angle, I get why fans of other players and teams would be perplexed, but as a huge Auston Matthews fan, I’m just going to take the win.
If you've yet to dig into what NHL 22 will bring to the rink this October, be sure to read our NHL 22 preview.
Bill Lavoy posted a new article, Who is the NHL 22 cover athlete?
They should have had the stones to put Pat Maroon on there.
Hell, put Coop on there for the back to back, or Rod Brind'Amour for his amazing season and winning the Jack Adam's. Article is spot on: this is about contracts, not playing.