NHL 22: Cover athlete reveal is a little bit shocking

EA Sports
EA Sports /

EA Sports premiered the highly anticipated NHL 22 reveal trailer, giving us our first look at this year’s game, which will be released on next-gen as well as last-gen. In doing so, they also confirmed this year’s cover athlete. While there was plenty of speculation as to who would be on the cover of NHL 22, not many people were expecting to see was Auston Matthews grace the cover.

Auston Matthews is now a two-time cover athlete. His first appearance on an EA Sports NHL cover was with NHL 20.  Now two games later, he is on the cover once again and it is a little surprising.

It would be one thing if the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. But they had a very disappointing post season. Postseason hockey doesn’t define who gets to be the cover athlete, but repeating a cover athlete, especially a player on an underachieving team, within only a two year period comes as a bit of a shock.

That being said, Auston Matthews had a sensational shortened season. He played in 52 games this year and scored 41 goals and 25 assists for a total of 66 points. Now imagine his production if it was a regular 82 game season. There would have been a chance that he would have scored 55+ goals in this past season.

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Auston Matthews is one of the most talented hockey players in the world. He is such a skillful and talented athlete, which makes him such a valuable asset to the Maple Leafs. I think if it has been 5-6 years since Matthews has last been on the cover, then would maybe have been a different story.

But what about all the other talented athletes that haven’t been on a cover yet? I think that Auston Matthews is super deserving of this achievement once again and I am happy for him to represent this years game again, but I am just a little surprised that EA went this route. There are plenty of players to choose from, including those on the Vegas Golden Knights, Seattle Kraken, or even Artemi Panarin, who was on this year’s cover.

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You are able to pre-order NHL 22 now and the game is set to be officially released on October 15, 2021 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One. You can also pre-order the X-Factor Edition and get early access to the game on the first day of the NHL regular season on October 12, 2021.