15 Oct 2021 6:44 AM +00:00 UTC

NHL 22 Franchise Mode Beginner's Guide: How to build your NHL Dynasty this year

NHL 22 will soon finally be in the hands of all players after a lengthy period of early access with the EA Play Trial and X Factor Edition preorders. That means it's time to get started with the many game modes that picked up new features and other improvements in NHL 22.

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The game mode that arguably grew the most heading into NHL 22 is Franchise Mode. With this in mind, here's where to start with Franchise Mode, and how to best take advantage of its new features.

Expansion Draft & Start Options

NHL 22 Franchise Mode offers players an important decision right off the bat - to jump into an Expansion Draft as an entirely new franchise, take over the brand new Seattle Kraken, or settle in with a franchise with some history behind it already.

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NHL 22 Seattle Kraken Franchise Mode
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NEW START: Want a fresh franchise in NHL 22? The Seattle Kraken have arrived

Most players will jump right to running their favorite NHL organization in NHL 22 Franchise Mode, but do give these choices consideration, as they make for some very exciting and interesting Franchise Mode saves everyone should try at least once!

If you want to throw realism to the wayside right from the start, a Fantasy Draft is a great way to shake things up in your Franchise Mode save.

Setting up Your Scouting

Scouting is more in-depth in NHL 22 Franchise Mode than most other sports sims, with many regions and leagues to pick from and scouts with their own abilities to find prospects in these regions and leagues.

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NHL 22 scouts regions levels types leagues
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EARS TO THE GROUND: Build from within by putting together an elite rotation of top scouts

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your scouting, make sure you cover your target regions with scouts specified to succeed there. To make this simple, target Scouts with B or higher ratings in the region you’re sending them to.

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READ MORE: NHL 22 HUT: Ultimate Team update arrives just ahead of launch

When assigning your scouts, be sure to take stock of what your team needs the most - and not just immediately, but in the future as well. Have an older defenseman that’s slowing down? A star reaching the end of a contract you don’t want to resign? Scouting can be your long-term solution to these problems if handled correctly, and can mean you won't have to pull off incredible trades or just to get better.

Taking full advantage of Free Agency

Right from the start of your NHL 22 Franchise Mode save, the Free Agency will offer some fantastic talent across all positions.

NHL 22 Franchise Mode Free Agency
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DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH: The Free Agency is loaded with talent right from the start

While there are some standout Free Agents that can add serious talent to any NHL organization, the real way to use Free Agency is to fill the gaps in your roster first - especially improving the chemistry of your lines.

Alternatively you can also use the Free Agency to pick up players for trade value. This way you can better pick talents that fit exactly what you’re looking for, be it future prospects or a certain kind of player.

Completing Owner Goals

NHL 22 Franchise Mode gives players a ton of creative freedom in rebuilding or creating an organization in the NHL, but there are some limits (unless you choose to play without them).

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NHL 22 Owner Goals Happiness State of the Team
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KEEP THE BOSS HAPPY: Owner Goals can offer some extra cash in a pinch

One of these is Owner Goals, which are challenges that you should complete in NHL 22 Franchise Mode for some extra cash as well as job security.

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Most NHL 22 Owner Goals are simple - things like upgrading stadium parking or beating a Rival in a big game.

READ MORE: NHL 22 World of Chel: New Changes, X Factors, Be a Pro integration, Season 1 & more

These Owner Goals will vary based on the State of the Team, which can fluctuate between being a selling team that's rebuilding or a buying team that's contending.

If you play Franchise Mode with these additional challenges, be sure to tailor your decisions around completing Owner Goals, even paying mind to targets that may be a year off.

How X Factors make a big difference in NHL 22 Franchise Mode

X Factors are a massive improvement for NHL 22 across all game modes, but they shine brightest in Franchise Mode.

NHL 22 Franchise Mode edit lines x factor players
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STAR OF THE SHOW: X Factors and Superstars make a big difference in your Franchise Mode lines

This is because NHL 22 X Factors (and Superstar Abilities) really play a huge part in how teams operate - and with a ton of roster moves all around the league in Franchise Mode, gives some new character to teams as they change over time.

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With X Factors and Superstars in mind, chasing down the best players in the NHL regardless of pricetag is a much more successful strategy in building your team in Franchise Mode. And you can better fill exact holes in your roster based on the abilities players offer, whether it’s improving Skating, Defending, Scoring, Playmaking, Physicality, Hockey IQ, or Goalkeeping.

With this system, veteran players will hold value for much longer, and newly drafted prospects will need some serious skills to justify much time on the ice.

Roster Sharing Timeline

Unfortunately, NHL 22 Franchise Mode players may be most excited for a feature that won't actually be available at launch.

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WORK IN PROGRESS: NHL 22 Roster Sharing is expected to arrive in December

NHL 22 Roster Sharing will arrive to Franchise Mode in December via a major Title Update. This means until then, players will be stuck with the default NHL 22 roster options as well as creating one (which is much more of a challenge than most will stomach).

The good news is with the NHL 22 season now in full swing, we expect EA will deliver regular roster updates to keep the game up to pace with roster moves, star-making performances, and slumps alike.

And once December arrives, players will have had plenty of time to create some amazing Franchise Mode rosters to send out through Roster Sharing, where players will then be able to customize how they want the NHL 22 ratings to look around the league in any Franchise Mode save.