NHL 20 Ratings: Best Enforcers

Whether you want to protect your young star, are coming up against a rival, or are in the playoffs, having the best enforcers can make a huge difference.

NHL 20 continues the franchise’s move towards a more skilful game and away from the physical side, but enforcers can still have a role to play. 

Many teams in the NHL keep an enforcer-like player on the same line as their top young player or new rookie, for protection and to keep opponents accountable for heavy checks. Others bring them in for the high-paced, emotionally-charged playoffs or rivalry match-ups to drop the gloves and give their team a boost with a fight if needed.

In NHL 20, all of the players designated as enforcers simply aren’t worthy of an NHL team’s time. As such, the best enforcers in NHL 20 play other roles but still have decent overall ratings and very high ratings in strength, balance, and fighting skill. 

So, here are the best enforcers in NHL 20. All of the figures are taken from within Franchise Mode on the 10 October 2019 Online Roster. The best players with the player type of enforcer in NHL 20 are listed in the table at the foot of the article.

Milan Lucic (Enforcer Score: 92.67)

Overall: 79
Age: 31-years-old
Position: Left Wing
Player Type: Power Forward
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Shoots: Left
Team: Calgary Flames
Nationality: Canadian

After establishing himself as the resident hard-man and a trusted point scorer with the Boston Bruins for eight seasons, Milan Lucic bounced from the Los Angeles Kings over to the Edmonton Oilers to become an alternate captain, and now he’s playing for the Calgary Flames. 

Not known for keeping it clean, Lucic clocked in 34 penalty minutes through the first 38 games of this season. The power forward clocked in his first fight of the campaign on 8 October, with Lucic taking on Kurtis MacDermid after the Kings skater failed in an attempt to land a big open-ice hit on him.

In NHL 20, Milan Lucic is the joint-best enforcer based on his 90 fighting skill, 94 strength, and 94 balance giving him an average enforcer score of 92.67. 

Standing 191cm and 107 kg, Lucic is certainly a unit on the ice outside of a fight. His 95 body checking, 90 aggressiveness, and handy speed stats of 84 acceleration, 83 agility, and 85 speed make him a decent top-nine skater to have on the ice. 

Zdeno Chara (Enforcer Score: 92.67)

Overall: 85
Age: 42-years-old
Position: Defenseman
Player Type: Two-Way
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Shoots: Left
Team: Boston Bruins
Nationality: Slovakian

He’s 42-years-old, captain of the Boston Bruins, and stands 206cm tall. Zdeno Chara is one of the most instantly recognisable players in the NHL, is adored in Boston, and is always willing to drop the gloves if needed. In the 2019/20 season, by the 38-game mark for the Boston Bruins, Chara had already notched two big fights, which happened to come on back-to-back nights. 

On 11 December, against the Washington Capitals, the 6’9’’ defenseman took on one of the most notoriously feisty skaters in the league, Tom Wilson, with the two swinging to the floor in the middle of the first period. On the very next night, Chara took on Patrick Maroon of the Tampa Bay Lightning, sending the Bolts winger to the ice around 30 seconds into the game.

In NHL 20, Zdeno Chara boasts a great overall rating of 85 OVR, with his 90 stick checking, 89 shot blocking, and 89 defensive awareness making him a grand addition to any team’s defensive lines. 

Of course, as we’re in a piece about the best enforcers on NHL 20, it helps that Chara has 94 balance, 94 strength, and 90 fighting skill, landing joint-first as the NHL 20 best enforcer. His numbers mirror that of Milan Lucic. 

Ryan Reaves (Enforcer Score: 91.33)

Overall: 79
Age: 32-years-old
Position: Right Wing
Player Type: Grinder
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Shoots: Right
Team: Vegas Golden Knights
Nationality: Canadian

Ryan Reaves’ father, Willard Reaves, played in the NFL and CFL, with his brother, Jordan Reaves, currently playing in the CFL as a defensive lineman for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Reaves decided to take his talents in physicality to the ice, breaking into the NHL in 2010/11 with the St. Louis Blues. 

Known for his physical style of play and hulking 102kg frame, Ryan Reaves notched a career-best scoring season in 2018/19 with the Vegas Golden Knights, notching nine goals and 20 points. At the halfway mark of this season, Reaves had landed four goals and seven points, along with two fights. 

Many who watch Ryan Reaves play might be surprised to see him with a rating of only 92 in strength, but coupled with a 92 in balance and 90 in fighting skill, Reaves is still one of the best enforcers in NHL 20. 

The right wing grinder has an overall rating of 79 OVR, 88 stick checking, 93 aggressiveness, 92 body checking, 87 slap shot power, and 81 slap shot accuracy, so he’s a fair bottom-six option to have in your roster. 

Nicolas Deslauriers (Enforcer Score: 89.33)

Overall: 76
Age: 28-years-old
Position: Left Wing
Player Type: Grinder
Physical Attributes: Four-½-Star
Shoots: Left
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Nationality: Canadian

Drafted in 2009 by the Los Angeles Kings, Nicolas Deslauriers was never given a chance to skate for the team that picked him 84th overall. In the midst of the 2013/14 season, though, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, who gave him 17 games in the NHL. 

Next season, Deslauriers notched a full 82-game season as a Sabre, clocking in 15 points. A couple of seasons later, he moved on to the Montreal Canadiens, and now Deslauriers plays for one of the Kings’ Californian rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. He’s already been in eight fights for the Ducks this season, taking on the likes of Radko Gudas, Givani Smith, and Micheal Haley.

While he has usable ratings of 87 in stick checking, 86 in shot blocking, 86 in wrist shot power, and 86 in slap shot power, Nicolas Deslauriers’ primary purpose is as a physicality player and fighter. 

In NHL 20, Deslauriers boasts an enforcer score of 89.33 with 88 balance, 90 fighting skill, and 90 strength. As a 76 OVR skater, the Ducks winger is best suited to the fourth line, if not as a regular healthy scratch until a big game comes along. 

Kyle Clifford (Enforcer Score: 89.33)

Overall: 78
Age: 28-years-old
Position: Right Wing
Player Type: Grinder
Physical Attributes: Four-½-Star
Shoots: Left
Team: Los Angeles Kings
Nationality: Canadian

Drafted one round before Nicolas Deslauriers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, it seems that the Los Angeles Kings preferred the playing style of Kyle Clifford over the current Ducks enforcer. Clifford broke into the Los Angeles lines in 2010 and has been a mainstay ever since. While his 125 points through 646 games have been welcomed, his 812 penalty minutes are what stand out. 

He’s toned down a bit on the fighting side since his colossal 11-fight season of 2016/17 but has tallied two this season. At the end of October, Clifford squared up to Micheal Ferland of the Vancouver Canucks and then on 7 December, he had a linesman-stifled scuffle with Zac Rinaldo after the Flames grinder mulched Nikolai Prokhorkin into the boards.

Kyle Clifford does tote ratings at or over 80 in areas like hand-eye, passing, puck control, defensive awareness, and offensive awareness, as well as across all skating and shooting attributes. That said, Clifford’s primary uses are as a physical forward. 

The Kings winger’s 88 balance, 90 strength, and 90 fighting skill make him one of the best enforcers on NHL 20, with his 92 aggressiveness and 90 body checking meaning that he ends up in his fair share of scraps. 

Dylan McIlrath (Enforcer Score: 89.33)

Overall: 74
Age: 27-years-old
Position: Defenseman
Player Type: Defensive Defenseman
Physical Attributes: Four-½-Star
Shoots: Right
Team: Detroit Red Wings (Grand Rapids Griffins)
Nationality: Canadian

Standing at 6’5’’ and 236 lbs, many NHL teams have tried to harness the immense physical assets of Dylan McIlrath. However, through spells with the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, and currently the Detroit Red Wings, McIlrath has mostly been resigned to the AHL. 

As his 74 OVR rating would suggest, Dylan McIlrath isn’t going to be any NHL 20 team’s first choice to even sit on the third defensive line. However, he makes for a decent 7th D-man to be pulled in for tough physical contests. 

McIlrath’s 90 aggressiveness, 90 body checking, 85 shot blocking, and 89 stick checking make him a decent defenseman to use at times, but it’s the 90 strength, 90 balance, and 88 fighting skill which makes him one of the best enforcers on NHL 20.

Those skaters shown above are the very best enforcers in NHL 20 which you could probably use in your NHL lines. The following players are the best designated enforcers in NHL 20:

Name Overall Age Position Team Best Attributes
Ross Johnston 72 25 Left Wing New York Islanders 90 durability. 88 balance, aggressiveness, strength, body checking. 85 fighting skill
Andrew MacWilliam 69 29 Defenseman Rochester Americans (AHL) 90 body checking, strength. 89 aggressiveness. 75 fighting skill
Anthony Peluso 68 30 Left Wing Bakersfield Condors (AHL) 92 aggressiveness. 91 strength. 90 balance, body checking. 87 fighting skill
Tom Sestito 68 31 Left Wing Free Agent 95 aggressiveness. 93 strength. 92 balance, body checking. 90 fighting skill
Luke Gazdic 67 30 Right Wing San Diego Gulls (AHL) 90 balance, strength, aggressiveness, body checking, fighting skill

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Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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