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EA Sports revealed Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban as their cover athlete for NHL 19. It’s the first time Subban or the Predators have been on the cover of the series. “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky will be on the cover of the “Ultimate Edition” and “Legend Edition.”

The legend edition has Gretzky in his Oilers jersey holding up the Stanley Cup while the Ultimate cover has Gretzky wearing his black L.A. Kings jersey.In addition, the game will add pond hockey as one of the features and will hit stores on September 14, 2018.

It has been 25 years since NHL 94 won our hearts (Where did the time go?) and in that time, there have been a mixture of great covers, decent covers and some just terrible mistakes in regards of design and athlete choice.

We decided to rank the covers dating back the last 25 years, from best to worst. Keep in mind, the rankings are not reflective of the gameplay, only the visual look and personal bias.

 

1. NHL 16, Cover: Jonathan Toews

At this point, it’s the only time the Stanley Cup has been on the cover with an athlete. Toews has been on two covers but this one gets the nod. Originally, Toews’ teammate Patrick Kane was on the cover with him but was removed.

2. NHL 14, Cover: Martin Brodeur

Brodeur is a top three goaltender ever and has three Stanley Cups and is now in the Hall of Fame. Great choice by EA that year. Personally, I’m a sucker for covers with a goalie, getting to see the goalie mask, the glove and the net, great stuff.

3. NHL 07, Cover: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin is a wild man and is probably still recovering from his non-stop partying with the Stanley Cup. We have come to love Ovi and expect his scruffy beard and gray hair he has as a 33-year old man, but on the NHL 07 cover, Ovi is clean-shaven, looks young even for a 21 year old and he’s skating in the old white Capitals uniform. It just looks like a clean cover.

4. NHL 2002, Cover: Mario Lemieux

Easily the best player to ever be on the cover of the NHL series (before Gretzky’s cover is released). Super Mario had just come out of retirement and was an easy choice for the cover. Plus, this was was  the first time the NHL series got released on Xbox.

5. NHL 17, Cover: Vladimir Tarasenko

In reality, this should probably be higher on the list. It’s one of the best covers created. Tarasenko and the Blues sweater pops with the bokeh crowd really making it a superb cover.

6. NHL 10, Cover: Patrick Kane

The red Blackhawks jerseys is probably the best sweater in hockey (with the Habs right behind). I don’t know if showing Kane chewing on his mouthpiece was the best option but it adds character.

7. NHL 97, Cover: John Vanbiesbrouck

The cover photo is a little dark but the Panthers goalie mask and his stick really put this over for us.

8. NHL 15, Cover: Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron won a Cover Vote contest that generated over 10 million votes, beating out Logan Couture in the first round, T.J. Oshie in the semis before defeating NHL 19 cover athlete, P.K. Subban, in the finals.

9. NHL 18, Cover: Connor McDavid

Love him or hate him, McDavid is a stud and the goal celebration in the orange Oilers sweater really does it for us.

10. NHL 99, Cover: Eric Lindros

It’s Eric Lindros, c’mon! Lindros is one of the most dominant players ever when he wasn’t injured and this was in his heyday.

10. NHL 19, Cover: P.K. Subban

Subban’s cover in the yellow Preds jersey in front of the orange background is one of the most colorful covers for sure. We dig it!

11. NHL 06, Cover: Vincent Lecavalier

This was after the NHL lockout and they decided to go with Lecavalier for the cover since he and Tampa Bay had just won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The arena in the background was a nice touch with the black, blue and white Lightning jersey.

12. NHL 1994, Cover: Tomas Sandström and Andy Moog

This game will always have my heart as I played it non-stop on SEGA. As for the cover, it captures the action quite well with the view being behind Sandström as he gets ready to shoot on Boston’s Moog.

13. NHL 13, Cover: Claude Giroux

This isn’t a bad cover but NHL had about a three-year stretch of weird cover designs where they unnecessarily added stuff like Giroux looking like orange liquid is popping off of his jersey. What’s up with that?

14. NHL 96, Cover: Scott Stevens and Steve Yzerman

Two of the best teams in the 90s: New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. This was the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals with the Devils winning the series in a sweep. However, Scott Stevens is probably my all-time most hated player but it’s a good cover.

15. NHL 98, Cover: Peter Forsberg

It’s a cover for the original Playstation, which makes it hard to compete with the newer versions. Still, Forsberg was awesome and just had a 26-goal and 86-point season with the Avalanche the season before. Man, I miss the 90s.

16. NHL 2000, Cover: Chris Pronger

I was always a big Pronger fan. In fact, in the 2000 season, Pronger won the Hart Memorial Trophy. Similar to the Tarasenko cover, the crowd behind Pronger skating is really good especially for the Playstation cover.

17. NHL 11, Cover: Jonathan Toews

The second cover with Toes suffers from the same problems as the NHL 12 and NHL 13 covers with unnecessary designs. Why does it look like spikes or scratches are all over him as if it was a terribly designed tattoo. Not to mention, the black jersey was a mistake.

18. NHL 2003, Cover: Jarome Iginla

Iginla led the NHL in goals and points scored the previous season so he was an ideal choice for the cover of NHL 2003. There’s really nothing to complain about for the cover. Visually, it looks good.

19. NHL 08, Cover: Eric Staal

The red Canes jersey really stands out with the white background but there certainly wasn’t much effort put into designing it. It’s just bland.

20. NHL 12, Cover: Steven Stamkos

Look, Stamkos is an amazing player and he’s a great choice for the cover but the same thing with the Toews cover, what’s up with the scratches everywhere. And on top of that, it looks like the video game version of Stamkos; not actually Stamkos.

21. NHL 2001, Cover: Owen Nolan

I have no idea why Owen Nolan was named the cover for NHL 2001. He finished fifth in points the previous season behind stars like Jaromir Jagr, Pavel Bure, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. Any of those would have been better choices.

With the cover though, it looks like Nolan is being sucked down a toilet.

22. NHL 09, Cover: Dion Phaneuf

I believe Phaneuf is one of the worst choices of all-time when it comes to athletes on the the cover of the NHL series. Visually it looks pretty good with the Flames jersey and the Canadian patch visible on the sleeve.

23. NHL 95, Cover: The back of the net

What was the pitch for this in the creative team meeting? “What do you got for us, Bob?” “Well, how about a cover from the view of the camera in the back of the net so it looks like the puck is coming right at your face and like you’re chilling behind the goalie?”

24. NHL 2004, Cover: Dany Heatley

Where do we even begin with this? The fact that it’s Don Heatley? That it’s the now the defunct Atlanta Thrashers? The cover looks like it was designed by one of the 13 Thrashers fans who just got photoshop.

25. NHL 2005, Cover: Markus Näslund

This was the lockout year and just everything is awful- jersey, the weird black and gray graphic that we have no idea what it’s supposed to be) and it’s the Canucks.