The Colorado Avalanche are on the brink of winning their third Stanley Cup in franchise history. They currently lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals and have a chance to close out the series in game 5 on home ice.
Despite being a lopsided series so far, it has been a very entertaining one, to say the least. Two of the first four games have reached overtime. That being said, this may be the year that the NHL 23 cover athlete comes out of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.
Back in April, EA Sports sent out what appeared to be a potentially joking Tweet about having to put Auston Matthews on the NHL 23 cover because of the amazing year that he had. There is no doubt that Auston Matthews had an incredible year, taking home both the Ted Lindsay Award and the Hart Trophy. He became only the second-ever American-born player to do so since Patrick Kane did it in 2016.
On top of that, Matthews scored a career-high 60 goals which was something else spectacular to witness for Toronto Maple Leafs fans. Even though Auston Matthews had a more than stellar year, it wouldn’t make sense for EA Sports to have him on the cover of NHL 23 for the third time in four years.
This could be the year that the NHL 23 cover athlete comes out of the Stanley Cup Final. The last time we have seen a cover athlete out of Tampa Bay or Colorado was Steven Stamkos on the cover of NHL 12. The fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third consecutive year is actually insane. Getting there three times is a feat in itself but winning it three years in a row would be an exclamation point in the dynasty that we have been witnessing in their organization. I don’t think that the Lightning will be winning it this year, but the performance we have seen out of their players this year is NHL 23 cover athlete worthy in my opinion.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been lights out in key situations and Kucherov has the potential to win the Conn Smythe trophy if the Lightning figure out a way to win the series. With Stamkos already gracing the cover in the past, Vasilevskiy and Kucherov could be possible candidates.
On the other side of the ice, we have the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche have put together a crazy 2022 NHL postseason performance. They have a chance to win the Stanley Cup with a record of 16 wins and only 3 losses. It is one of the most dominant performances I have witnessed. Everyone knows how good Nathan MacKinnon can be, but let’s talk about Cale Makar.
Cale Makar played in 77 games and recorded 28 goals and 58 assists for a total of 86 points — all while playing defense. Makar’s performance ultimately won him the 2022 Norris Trophy. Both players could be potential targets for the NHL 23 cover athlete and if it ends up happening, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.
There are also a handful of other players from each team that have made impacts that would also be deserving to be on the cover of NHL 23, but with the performance seen from Colorado this year and potentially adding a Stanley Cup to their Resume, all signs are pointing to Denver.
EA Sports should be releasing the cover athlete sooner rather than later. Right now, all of the focus is on the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals, but the rest of the Summer is up for grabs. With NHL 23 likely releasing sometime during the next four months, we should EA Sports to make an announcement rather soon.