The most integral part of your Hockey Ultimate Team set up is your goaltender. You can be the best player in the world, but if your goalie isn’t good enough then you’ll get scored on all game long. Your goalie can, and will, be your game winner most of the time, so you need a damn good one.
Here we’ll be looking into the best rated goalies, how to beat the best goaltenders, best synergy boosting goalies, the best right handed catching goalies – why they need to be in your team – and which skills your net minders need to stifle common goal scoring plays by online HUT players.
This analysis concerns base goalie cards because if you have one of the special edition cards, or even a legendary player card, then obviously you’re going to be playing them.
Best rated HUT goalies
It will come as no surprise to anyone that Montreal goaltender Carey Price has the highest rated base goalie card on Hockey Ultimate Team. Despite missing most of last season, he is still the best, there’s very little to dispute that. On NHL 17 HUT, his strengths are his endurance (95 in rating), positioning (93), rebound control (93), vision (93), five hole, aggression, stick low, breakaway, shot recovery and speed (92). With an overall rating of 92, Price is just immense.
Coming in at second on HUT is Braden Holtby, of the Washington Capitals. At 91 overall, the Caps net minder comes close to rivalling Price, but his best stats are humbled by the Habs goalies’. Holtby boasts a strong stick low and agility stat (93). He’s also strong in five hole, aggression, positioning, rebound control, vision, shot recovery and speed (92).
The King himself comes in at number three; Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers continues to be a top ranking goalie in NHL 17, hosting a 90 overall rating. His best stats include his endurance (95 – same as Price), positioning, rebound control, vision (93) and his five hole, stick low, breakaway and shot recovery (92).
Nashville’s cool-headed Finn pulls in at joint fourth overall with an overall rating of 89. Pekka Rinne’s best stats lines are his endurance (95) and his five hole, positioning, stick low, glove low, rebound control, vision and shot recovery (91).
Cory Schneider pulls in with an 89 overall rating also, boasting his positioning (91) as his best attribute. Then comes his other high ranking stat lines in stick low, vision, speed, five hole, aggression, agility, rebound control, and shot recovery (90).
To round off the very top goalies on NHL 17 HUT is another 89 overall rated goaltender, this time coming in the form of LA Kings star Jonathan Quick. Quick posts very high numbers in both endurance (95) and aggression (94), along with more high numbers in positioning, agility, rebound control, vision, shot recovery and speed (92).
Whilst there’s a well established top three – Price, Holtby, Lundqvist – places four to six all offer something different whilst being the same overall. Schneider is the most balanced of the goalies, with his peak stats and lowest stats all falling very close to the 89 mark; whereas Quick peaks very highly in endurance and aggression, along with speed and agility. Then Rinne is very strong at defending the low end of his net whilst stopping the puck from bouncing out of his grasp.
So if you want a quicker goalie, more likely to make those last second, extravagant saves, go for Jonathan Quick. If your opponent is likely to attack close to goal, trying to deke in, go Pekka Rinne. The Finn will mop up anything in the low areas. If you can’t decide and just want a trusty, stand-by goalie, go Cory Schneider.
How to beat the best goalies
Every goalie has their weakness. Whilst their lowest stats may still be very highly rated, they still present your best shot at getting past them.
Carey Price’s lowest stats come in at 88 and 89 – he’s just ridiculously good – with glove high, passing and durability (88) and poke checking (89) being the weak spots. We all know how difficult it is to score on the glove side, but at least his durability means that if you keep going for it, he will eventually concede. So the key with Price is volume. Of course you should always aim high to the glove side, but at some point, a thunderous slap shot from the point will be able to breach that glove side – Price’s left hand, your shooting right side.
Braden Holtby’s biggest dip is on passing (84) but it’s hard to take advantage of that still quite high stat as the attacker. Next is his poise and durability (86), along with the poke check and glove high (89). The trend with these most elite goalies is simply going to be pure volume of shots, trying to find the openings hopefully bolstered by a net-front presence.
Henrik Lundqvist also sees a dip in passing (81), with durability (86), glove high (87) aggression and stick high (88) coming in as the weak spots. Finally an area that can be properly exploited. Stick high is one of the best areas to score in on NHL 17 HUT, and even though Lundqvist’s is still rated at a mighty 88, it is exploitable.
Pekka Rinne, despite his accomplished play in real life, sees his passing (82) hit the lowest stat line, with poise, durability (85), poke check (86), agility and speed (87) rounding off his lowest skills. Whilst the lower poise, speed and agility can be exploited by speedy skaters hustling across the goal front on the forehand, his still quite high poke checking causes a problem – he’s also very good down low, as discussed before. So what will be best is skating across the mid-slot, then firing high. His glove high (90) and stick high (88) are still pretty high, but are lesser opponents than his ground coverage.
Cory Schneider is nice and level across all of his stats, with his weaknesses coming in at poise (85), passing, poke check (87), stick high, glove high, glove low, breakaway and durability (88). The more easily exploited areas such as stick high may be his lower stats, but are still quite high. It’ll be a case of either waiting for the stick side to open up as he moves across his crease, or just unload as may shots as possible into different areas.
Jonathan Quick’s high peaks have opened up some of the best areas of scoring for his weaknesses. Quick’s lows come in as passing (85), poke check (87), stick high (88), breakaway (89), poise, durability, glove high, glove low (90). Whilst he does have the speed and agility to compensate for his poke checking to still deter a run across the crease, stick high looks like a great option, especially as his durability is one of the weaker stats, allowing for success after nailing in multiple shots, eventually.
All of these goalies are so elite that trying to score on them is going to be a trial, but no matter how good they are, none of them are perfect.
Best synergy boosting goalies
Synergy has become a vital component to Hockey Ultimate Team – [if you’re not 100 percent on synergy, follow this link for the comprehensive guide] – and the goalies, both starter and back-up, contribute to the counts. Whilst the vast majority of net minders – including all of the above elite goalies – add to the One-timer Efficiency, It’s A Trap or Long Range Bombers, there are three synergies that are aided by a few NHL goalies.
Cycle Game, which requires six points to unlock its team bonus of +2 to endurance, agility, puck control and passing, can be aided by getting either New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, Flames keeper Brian Elliott or Red Wings net minder Jimmy Howard. All have an overall rating of 85 so probably shouldn’t be your first choice goalie – luckily the back-up goalie contributes to your synergy.
Tape to Tape, which requires six points to unlock its team bonus of +3 to passing, offensive awareness and poise, will be contributed to by including either Chicago’s starting goalie, Corey Crawford, who is rated 88, or San Jose’s Martin Jones or Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen – both rated 86. Any of these wouldn’t be bad choices for your starting goalie, especially Crawford.
Team Wheel – the synergy that many will strive for – requires eight points to unlock a +3 perk to the whole team on acceleration, agility and speed, and is added to by both Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers, and Islanders’ goalie Jaroslav Halak. Both stand at an 85 overall rating so can sit as back-up. There’s also the 84 overall of Boston’s Anton Khudobin who would act as a cheap synergy booster.
Best rated right-handed catchers
Right sided catchers are extremely rare in NHL 17 HUT, but can give a huge tactical advantage over one-dimensional players. We’ve all been there, when your opponent has all of the quickest players in the game and blaze past your beefy, sluggish defensemen. Now they’ve boosted them with the synergy, and have the hustle button to play with too.
Most players in the situation get on the breakaway and either pull across the goalie on the forehand and wrist the puck in, or deke fake to move the goalie and then wrist it in. This is where a right-handed goalie comes in handy.
A lot of skaters shoot left, meaning that these deke moves and runs across the crease almost always end up in shots to the left of the net, where the notoriously weak stick side is. On a right-handed goalie, his glove will meet these attempted moves – at least temporarily stifling the opposition.
The big problem with this, though, is that Hockey Ultimate Team offers next to nothing by way for righties. Philadelphia’s Steve Mason tops the bill with a rating of 86 – so is a fair first choice goalie – but after him, there’s just Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson (83), Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (82), and Marek Mazanec (81) team mate of Pekka Rinne.
Having Mason on the bench to change the emphasis of scoring, whatever the level of your starting goalie, can really put off the opposition and help you get the all important win. At 86, he probably can’t be trusted as your number one once you’ve develop your team.
Hopefully Steve Mason gets a Team of the Week or some other special card during the season, to make the mighty righty a legitimate option as your first choice HUT goalie.
Best goalies to stifle on HUT
Why is this section separate from the best rated HUT goalies? Because there are certain skills that not all top goalies are prevalent in to stop some of the most common ways of scoring in Hockey Ultimate Team.
It’s still early days, but what seems to be a common technique – and has been for some time on EA games – is to have as much speed as possible. Thanks to the new ability to hustle (press the left analogue) and the Synergy bonuses for Speedster and Team Wheel, teams can get mega quick really easily. This makes it easier for them to break past your defense and get in on goal one-on-one, on the breakaway. Then the sure fire way to score comes out; the deke to the forehand, backhand, forehand, and in, right in-front of the goalie. Sometimes they’ll just drive across the crease and wrist in at the back post.
Then there’s the other particularly annoying method of scoring. The opposition will once again use speed to power past your defensemen and behind your net. Whilst on the move they will pass the puck to the slot or the crease where one of their players will be waiting to one-timer it home, with your goalie stranded on either post.
Luckily, some goaltenders possess increased skill sets that help to prevent these goals from occurring. Below is a table showing you who the best goalies are to stop the dreaded breakaway dekes or drives and the best goalies to react to the behind the net assist.
The goaltenders listed below are all base cards with an overall rating of 86 or higher as that’s the minimum rating that you’ll want your all important starting goalie to be.
Goalie rankings to stop the breakaway attacks.
|Player Name||Breakaway||Positioning||Stick Low||Poke Check||Poise||Overall Rating||Rank in stopping breakaway attacks|
Goalie rankings to stop the behind the net assist goals.
|Player Name||Positioning||Agility||Aggression||Vision||Speed||Stick High||Overall Rating||Rank in stopping behind the net assist goals|
The rankings of these goalies for each of the two situations is based on an average rating of the skill stats relevant to the specific goaltending requirement for those situations. As you can see by the tables, Carey Price comes in as the top goalie when trying to stop a shot from a behind the net pass, and Henrik Lundqvist ranks as the best net minder for stopping those breakaway attacks.
By calculating the average rank of goalies across both situations, we can find who the best goalies are over both situations are, and who you should get for your NHL 17 HUT team. The combined rankings come in as: 1. Carey Price, 2. Braden Holtby, 3. Henrik Lundqvist, 4. Jonathan Quick, 5. Tuukka Rask, 6. Marc-Andre Fleury, 7. Pekka Rinne, 7. Cory Schneider, 9. Ben Bishop, 10. Sergei Bobrovsky, 10. Roberto Luongo, 12. Corey Crawford, 13. Semyon Varmalov, 14. Craig Anderson, 15. Kari Lehtonen, 16. Devan Dubnyk, 17. Frederick Andersen, 18. Steve Mason, 19. Martin Jones, 19. John Gibson, 21. Petr Mrazek.
Whilst you may not want to pick your starting goalie purely based on stifling two common forms of scoring, this should help you to decide between goalies of equal overall rating. For example, the Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is rated at 88 overall, the same as Ben Bishop, Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury and Sergei Bobrovsky, but outclasses all of them when called upon to snuff out two of the more common, and frustration, methods of scoring online.
If you’re playing in offline modes, it’s almost always best to just go with the highest rated goalie, but when you play online, against real people, you’ll want a strong keeper in all areas. You’ll want the goalie who can stop the easier ways of scoring on the game, and possibly the option to swap to a right hander to force them to change their usual play style.
We hope that this guide to the best goalies on NHL 17 Hockey Ultimate Team has helped. Stay tuned to RealSport for more NHL 17 guides.