NHL 22 is set to release later this year, but who can fans expect to be chosen as the NHL 22 cover athlete?
Here’s everything we know so far about the favorites to be the NHL 22 cover athlete, and when that news could be released and made official.
NHL 21 Cover Athlete
Even though NHL series games have regional cover stars that allow fans to celebrate their local heroes, one player always receives the most cover glory.
Alex Ovechkin was selected as the cover athlete for NHL 21, which was his second time being chosen as he also appeared on the cover of NHL 07.
EA has never had multiple main cover athletes for their NHL game. However, with next gen platforms continuing to grow, it’s possible there’s a different athlete for different generation consoles.
Nevertheless, it’s more likely NHL 22 follows the pattern of the series and has just one main cover athlete.
NHL 22 Cover Athlete Favorites
When it comes to the top contenders and favorites to be the Cover Athlete for NHL 22, there are three names that appear likely to receive that honor.
Nathan MacKinnon finished off the regular season with sensational stats as he recorded 65 points and 45 assists.
Since his Colorado Avalanche won the president’s trophy as the team with the best record, MacKinnon could be the first choice to grace the cover of NHL 22.
Connor McDavid is widely considered as the best young player in the league. The Oilers centre already appeared on a cover in NHL 18, but that shouldn’t stop him from appearing again.
Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews are the only two athletes to appear on an NHL cover twice, and the league’s leader in points could be poised to be the third.
Fans should view McDavid as a big time favorite for the NHL 22 cover, as he’s currently the odds on favorite to win league MVP this year.
McDavid’s teammate Leon Draisaitl should also be considered a top choice as a cover athlete for NHL 22.
Draisaitl was picked high by the Oilers in the 2014 NHL draft, but has seriously broken out in the last two seasons. Draisaitl was the NHL’s leader in points in the 2019-2020 season, and is second behind McDavid this year.
Although he’s hidden behind McDavid on the Oilers roster, it’s very possible EA picks a fresh star from Edmonton as it’s latest cover athlete.
READ MORE: NHL 22 trailers to reveal biggest changes
Who are the other contenders for NHL 22 Cover Athlete?
The three names listed above are clearly the most likely, but there are dark horses NHL fans can think about for this year’s cover.
Brad Marchand has been on the Boston Bruins roster since 2009, but broke out five years ago. Since he’s third in the league in points and his team has one of the biggest fan bases, he could be a name to consider for the NHL 22 cover.
Another name to float around is Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson as he had an outstanding stretch earlier in the year with 19 points in 18 games. Pettersson also lands in the top ten for NHL jersey sales this year. However, a season ending injury he sustained in March could stop one of the NHL’s brightest young stars from being the cover athlete.
Fans can’t count out Auston Mathews for the NHL 22 cover. Although he appeared on the cover of NHL 20, the league’s leader in goals is still a name with a lot of recognition. If the Maple Leafs go far in this year’s postseason, expect Mathews to shoot up the list once again as a contender for the cover.
When will the Cover Athlete be revealed?
Last year, EA announced Alex Ovechkin as the cover athlete for NHL 21 on August 24, 2020. This was about six weeks before the game came out on October 13, 2020. But, fans should expect it earlier this year as there’s no delays in development due to the pandemic.
Since the game typically comes out early in September, a trailer could be released in late July.
This makes sense as EA Play Live lands on July 22 this year, so fans should expect a cover athlete reveal around that time.
There’s still not an official release date for NHL 22, but it’s not hard to predict when the game should launch.
The game shouldn’t come out as late as October like it did this year. With likely less development delays due to the pandemic, we can assume NHL 22 will come out in the first few weeks of September: when the game is usually released.