(Photo Credit: EA Sports NHL, via Twitter)
It used to be that every team had an enforcer, and this is still the case in some of the minor leagues. But, over the last few years, the NHL has made a real effort to move past the role of the enforcer and focus on skill and speed. In the game, however, dropping the gloves for your team still offers benefits, so it can be useful to roll a good enforcer onto the lower lines when a rival comes to town.
Ranked by overall rating, these are some of the last bastions of the role of enforcer in NHL 19.
Ross Johnston (71 OVR)
Team: New York IslandersPosition: Left WingAge: 24Nationality: CanadianHeight: 196cmWeight: 102kgShoots: LeftBest Stats: Aggressiveness 88, Body Checking 88, Strength 88, Balance 88, Durability 85Fighting Skill: 85
Last season, Ross Johnston earned 24 games in the NHL and scored three goals and six points, as well as 62 penalty minutes. Johnston is built to fight, and given his age, overall rating, and 85 rating in stick checking, slap shot power, and wrist shot power, he’s got enough going for him to have him as a bottom line left wing or scratch rotation.
Stu Bickel (70 OVR)
Team: Free AgentPosition: DefensemanAge: 31Nationality: AmericanHeight: 193cmWeight: 94kgShoots: RightBest Stats: Aggressiveness 90, Strength 90, Balance 90, Body Checking 88Fighting Skill: 85
If you need a tough player on your defensive line who can lay out big checks and drop the gloves, Stu Bickel is your best bet. The burly blueliner is built to lay down a beating when called upon, while his 85 in shot blocking and slap shot power compliment the rest of his game nicely.
Andrew MacWilliam (69)
Team: Rochester AmericansPosition: DefensemanAge: 28Nationality: CanadianHeight: 188cmWeight: 104kgShoots: LeftBest Stats: Body Checking 90, Strength 90, Balance 88, Shot Blocking 88Fighting Skill: 75
Andrew MacWilliam does much of his enforcing with the gloves on in NHL 19, boasting 90s in strength and body checking. His fair defensive attributes and physicality make up for his lacking 75 rating in fighting skill.
Anthony Peluso (68 OVR)
Team: Calgary FlamesPosition: Left WingAge: 29Nationality: CanadianHeight: 191cmWeight: 106kgShoots: RightBest Stats: Aggressiveness 92, Strength 91, Body Checking 90, Balance 90, Stick Checking 85, Slap Shot Power 85, Wrist Shot Power 85, Durability 85Fighting Skill: 87
Sometimes, the overall rating isn’t everything. Anthony Peluso puts up monstrous numbers in many key areas of the attributes sheet, making him quite satisfying to play as on NHL 19. But, of course, his massive 85-plus numbers in the physical column, which includes a mighty 87 for fighting skill, are his main assets.
Luke Gazdic (67 OVR)
Team: Free AgentPosition: Right WingAge: 29Nationality: CanadianHeight: 193cmWeight: 102kgShoots: LeftBest Stats: Body Checking 90, Aggressiveness 90, Strength 90, Balance 90Fighting Skill: 90
Boasting the joint-best fighting skill of the enforcers, Luke Gazdic’s attributes have him built for the sole purpose of dropping the gloves and annihilating his foes. But, if you happen to find Gazdic in the offensive zone, his 85 slap shot power could result in an unlikely scorer being added to your stats sheet.
Zack Stortini (66 OVR)
Team: Charlotte CheckersPosition: Right WingAge: 32Nationality: CanadianHeight: 193cmWeight: 104kgShoots: RightBest Stats: Aggressiveness 95, Balance 93, Body Checking 90, Strength 90Fighting Skill: 90
The key attribute that puts Zack Stortini as a tougher fighter than the other skater with a 90 in fighting skill, Luke Gazdic, is his balance of 93. With that, when two players come together to shove and pull jerseys, Stortini will be able to stay on his skates while continuing to deliver massive thumps.