Skill and speed are being emphasised more than ever in the NHL and EA Sports’ NHL 21, with the use of a deke being the epitome of showcasing technical ability in ice hockey.
In NHL 21, the list of deking manoeuvres has been increased a great deal, with there now being several specialist dekes for you to use in games.
Deking is one of the trickiest aspects of the NHL 21 controls to get the hang of, so here, we’re running through everything that you need to know.
On this page, you’ll find how to perform each deke, tutorials for specialist dekes – like the Michigan deke (lacrosse deke), chip deke (jump deke), and slip deke – who the best deke skaters in NHL 21 are, and plenty of tips to help you become a deke master.
How to perform a deke in NHL 21
NHL 21 offers over 20 different dekes to use, with each deke coming with its own set of controls. Most of the time, you’re required to move the right analogue stick to manipulate the puck on the skater’s stick.
To get the full range of NHL 21 deking controls, you’ll need to be using the Hybrid or Skill Stick Controls as the NHL 94 Controls only offer a limited selection of dekes.
In the table below, you can find ALL the controls of every deke in NHL 21, including the movement directions needed to perform each deking move.
|NHL 21 Deke Controls||PS4 Controls||Xbox One Controls|
|Backhand Toe Drag||R3 + R (downwards)||R3 + R (downwards)|
|Backhand Toe Drag Flip||R3 + R (downwards) + R1||R3 + R (downwards) + RB|
|Backhand Toe Drag Shot||R3 + R (downwards) + R (upwards)||R3 + R (downwards) + R (upwards)|
|Backhand Toe Drag Pass||R3 + R (downwards) + R2||R3 + R (downwards) + RT|
|One-Hand Deke (Left-Handed)||Backhand + L1 + R (right-to-left)||Backhand + LB + R (right-to-left)|
|One-Hand Deke (Right-Handed)||Backhand + L1 + R (right-to-left)||Backhand + LB + R (right-to-left)|
|One-Handed Tuck||Backhand/Forehand + L1 + R1||Backhand/Forehand + LB + RB|
|Between-the-Legs Shot||L1 + R3 + R (upwards)||LB + R3 + R (upwards)|
|Between-the-Legs Pass||L1 + R3 + X||LB + R3 + A|
|Between-the-Legs Saucer Pass||L1 + R3 + R1||LB + R3 + RB|
|Slip Deke (Near Boards)||L1||LB|
|Drop Pass||R1 (without using L)||RB (without using L)|
|Board-Bank Self-Pass (Near Boards)||L1 + R2||LB + RT|
|Behind-the-Net Self-Pass||L1 + R2||LB + RT|
|Flip Deke||Backhand/Forehand + L1 + R2||Backhand/Forehand + LB + RT|
|Lacrosse Deke (Michigan)||Forehand + L1 (hold) + R3 (hold) + R (left-to-right)||Forehand + LB (hold) + R3 (hold) + R (left-to-right)|
|Stride Deke||L1 + L (to either side)||LB + L (to either side)|
|Fake Deke||Stride Deke (Forehand) + R (Backhand)||Stride Deke (Forehand) + R (Backhand)|
|Backhand Tap Back Deke||R (right) + L1 + R (left) + L (right) + R (right)||R (right) + LB + R (left) + L (right) + R (right)|
|Forehand Tap Back Deke||R (left-to-right) + L1 + R (right) + L (left) + R (left)||R (left-to-right) + LB + R (right) + L (left) + R (left)|
|Jump Deke (Chip Deke)||L1 + R (upwards)||LB + R (upwards)|
|Skate Kick Deke||L1 + R (downwards)||LB + R (downwards)|
|Through-the-Legs Deke||L1 + R (left-to-right)||LB + R (left-to-right)|
In the table above, you can see all of the standard dekes (from Backhand Toe Drag down to Between-the-Legs Saucer Pass) listed, as well as the new and specialist deking controls thereafter.
Further down, we’ve demonstrated several of the best and flashiest deking moves in NHL 21, including visual tutorials for the Michigan deke, chip deke, and slip deke, as well as some controls tips.
How to get the puck on your forehand or backhand in NHL 21
If you’re new to deking in NHL 21, you may be a bit thrown off by the terminology of the ‘Backhand’ and ‘Forehand.’
To get the puck on your forehand with a left-shot skater (who holds the toe of their stick to their left side, as seen when looking over their shoulder), you need to pull and hold the right analogue to the left. For a right-shot skater, you need to pull and hold the right analogue to the right to hold the puck on the forehand.
To get the puck on your backhand with a left-shot skater, pull and hold the right analogue to the skater’s right side. For a right-shot skater, you’ll need to pull and hold the right analogue to the skater’s left side.
If a deke requires you to have the puck on the forehand or backhand, it’ll always be the first action of the deke. Once you’re holding the puck to either side, you can then perform the rest of the controls, which will probably have you moving the right analogue from its forehand or backhand position.
NHL 21’s best deking skaters
To make the most of the diverse selection of dekes on offer, you’ll want to use one of the best deking skaters of NHL 21.
The deking skill of the skater does matter if you want to perform the higher difficulty dekes, but most players can get away with the slick one-touch dekes available.
In the table below, you’ll find all of the best deking skaters in NHL 21 ranked by their deking attribute rating. You’ll also find their other essential factors, such as their overall ratings and handedness.
|Patrick Kane||97||Left||91||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Connor McDavid||96||Left||95||Edmonton Oilers|
|Artemi Panarin||96||Right||91||New York Rangers|
|Evgeny Kuznetsov||95||Left||89||Washington Capitals|
|Johnny Gaudreau||95||Left||87||Calgary Flames|
|Sidney Crosby||94||Left||93||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Nikita Kucherov||94||Left||92||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|David Pastrnak||94||Right||91||Boston Bruins|
|Steven Stamkos||94||Right||90||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Elias Pettersson||94||Left||89||Vancouver Canucks|
|Clayton Keller||94||Left||84||Arizona Coyotes|
Where can you practice deking in NHL 21?
It’s not easy to get the hang of the deking controls of NHL 21, especially not in the high-pressure situations of a competitive game.
So, to practice each deke, scroll down to the mode selection from the main page of NHL 21, and then select ‘Training and Practice.’ If you want to try out the solo dekes without any pressure, use the ‘Free Skate’ training as it’ll just be the skater of your choice against a goaltender.
To practice teamwork dekes, like the Between-the-Legs Pass, or if you’d like to try timing your deking against a select number of opponents, go into ‘Team Practice’ and adjust the number of players on either side of the ice.
When trying to learn the Michigan deke (lacrosse deke), it’s a good idea to go one-vs-one in the Free Skate mode of Training and Practice as you’ll have as much space as you need to perfect the timing.
For the chip deke (jump deke) and slip deke, it might be a good idea to practice against one or two defenders to work on simulating the pressure that will come your way, thus helping your timing of the dekes.
NHL 21 best dekes tutorials and tips
While all of the dekes offer you a chance to outwit your opponent, break into space, or score a goal when timed correctly, some moves are distinctly more useful and flashier than the rest.
Below, you’ll find each of the best dekes demonstrated, as well as the console controls needed to perform them and some additional tips for using the deking manoeuvres in NHL 21.
Michigan Deke (Lacrosse Deke) tutorial and tips
- Deking Move: Michigan (Lacrosse Deke)
- PlayStation Controls: Forehand + L1 (hold) + R3 (hold) + R (left-to-right)
- Xbox Controls: Forehand + LB (hold) + R3 (hold) + R (left-to-right)
- When to Use: Coming around the opposition net
- Difficulty to Perform: 10/10
The lacrosse deke, which is also known as the ‘Michigan deke,’ is perhaps the most exciting and impressive of all of the NHL 21 dekes, but it’s also the trickiest to pull off in games.
You’ll almost certainly want to utilise the Free Skate mode of the Training and Practice section to try out the Michigan deke because the timing required to perform the move is very precise.
So, to get used to using the lacrosse deke, you’ll want to stand still, pull the right analogue over to the left (for a left-shot skater), and then hold L1/LB and press down R3 at the same time. With L1/LB and R3 still held down, swing the right analogue from the left side under and around to the right.
If you go too quickly, you won’t pick up the puck, but if you go too slowly, the puck will just be nudged along the floor. Timing the swing is everything when trying to perform the lacrosse deke.
The best Michigan deke tip is to use a skater with a high deking rating, as listed above, and then watch the puck when you’re practising the deke. As you need to move the right analogue around in time with the skater’s deke, keeping your eye on the puck can help a lot.
The best place to use this deke is around the back of the goalpost as a shot. So, you’ll need to practice the deke until you have the timing perfected as you’ll likely not be able to see your movement when using the Michigan deke in its optimal area.
Chip Deke (Jump Deke) tutorial and tips
- Deking Move: Jump Deke (Chip Deke)
- PlayStation Controls: L1 + R (upwards)
- Xbox Controls: LB + R (upwards)
- When to Use: Skating towards a diving opponent
- Difficulty to Perform: 2/10
The jump deke, also known as the ‘chip deke,’ is a great little move to have in your back pocket. It takes a bit of getting used to, due to the timing needed, but it can become a heavily relied-upon deke.
To perform the chip deke, all that you need to do to skate in a direction and then tap L1/LB and push the right analogue forwards. This will see the skater chip the puck into the air and perform a short jump to follow the chip deke.
If you’re up against an opponent who tends to throw their skaters to the ice using the dive controls to stop your breakaways, you can easily nullify their efforts by using the jump deke.
The best tip for using the jump deke is to ensure that you have the timing right. If you do it too soon or too late, you’ll likely collide with a skater, stick, or goalie and lose the puck.
The chip deke only sends the puck up and down a short distance, so you need to be about a foot away from the obstacle when you use the controls to achieve the perfect chip deke.
Slip Deke tutorial and tips
- Deking Move: Slip Deke
- PlayStation Controls: L1 (near the boards)
- Xbox Controls: LB (near the boards)
- When to Use: Skating along the boards with an opponent in the way
- Difficulty to Perform: 4/10
The slip deke is a much more deft version of the board-bank self-pass, with the deke keeping the puck close to the boards and the skater going along their existing trajectory.
It’s a very simple move, and you only need to tap L1/LB to use the deke, but you will want to choose the situations for deploying the slip deke wisely as its lack of power can result in a giveaway.
The best time to perform the slip deke is when you’re surging down the boards – preferably with the boards on the same side that your skater shoots – and an opponent comes across to check you. If there’s a slither of space between them and the boards, you can slip through by using the slip deke.
As far as tips go for the slip deke, the best advice is to be hustling (hold L3) down the boards so that the slip deke is performed at a higher speed. This will allow you a better chance of squeezing past the opponent and through the space that they’re looking to close.
One-Handed Tuck Deke tutorial and tips
- Deking Move: One-Handed Tuck
- PlayStation Controls: Backhand or Forehand, L1 + R1
- Xbox Controls: Backhand or Forehand, LB + RB
- When to Use: One-on-one with a goaltender who’s pulled to one side
- Difficulty to Perform: 7/10
One of the sneakiest and most effective scoring dekes in NHL 21, the one-handed tuck deke can be very useful once you’re able to read the goaltender’s movements.
The one-handed tuck sees you have the puck either on your backhand or forehand by holding the right analogue to the left or right, depending on the handedness of the skater. Then, when you press and hold L1+R1/LB+RB, your skater will flick the puck to the opposite side to then nudge it forwards.
It’s a deke designed to drag an opponent to one side, leaving ample space on the other side of your skater for the one-handed tuck deke to move the puck into, which you can then follow. It is, of course, best used when one-on-one with a goaltender.
Practising the one-handed tuck deke in Free Skate is a good idea because the time required for the deke to initiate and complete isn’t anywhere near as speedy as the other deking moves.
The best tips for using the one-handed tuck deke are to skate on goal more towards the side where you’re holding the puck and to then perform the rest of the move (pressing L1+R1/LB+RB) just after goalie shifts that way.
It takes longer to go through the steps of the deking move after holding the buttons, so you’ll need to get the hang of the optimum distance to perform the one-handed tuck deke.
Between-the-Legs Shot tutorial and tips
- Deking Move: Between-the-Legs Shot
- PlayStation Controls: L1 + R3 + R (upwards)
- Xbox Controls: LB + R3 + R (upwards)
- When to Use: Coming across the goalie crease
- Difficulty to Perform: 7/10
Used to full effect in recent seasons by the likes of Tomáš Hertl, Sonny Milano, Aleksander Barkov, and Connor McDavid, the between-the-legs shot is a classy move that can leave goaltenders baffled.
It is a particularly effective shooting technique in the right situations in NHL 21, with the fast-moving deking manoeuvre hiding the puck from the goalie’s vision while also being able to pull the netminder across the crease.
You can use the between-the-legs shot in any offensive situation by pressing L1+R3/LB+R3 to get the puck back between the skater’s legs, and then flicking the right analogue towards the goal to shoot.
When performing the final part of the between-the-legs shot, pushing the right analogue upwards to shoot, you can direct the shot as you usually would when using the right stick to shoot, with north-west to north-east on the right analogue being the targeting zone.
A top tip to keep in mind is that the between-the-legs shot is rather weak; the best times to use this deke is when you’re coming across the crease or have received a pass close to the goal.
If the opportunity arrives to skate across the front of the goaltender, protect the puck by pulling it away from them with the right analogue. Then, when you’ve drawn the goalie over to the post that you’re heading towards, perform the deking move and shoot into the empty space behind you.
Board-Bank Self-Pass tutorial and tips
- Deking Move: Board-Bank Self-Pass
- PlayStation Controls: L1 + R2 (near boards)
- Xbox Controls: LB + RT (near boards)
- When to Use: Along the boards and near the opposing blueline
- Difficulty to Perform: 2/10
The board-bank self-pass deke is a very simple deke to play, but it can work well to take a defenseman out of the game or drift the puck into the offensive end to pounce on with the forecheck.
This deking manoeuvre is a lot like the slip deke, but activating the board-bank self-pass will push your skater towards the open ice, allowing you to hustle around the defenseman and get back to the puck.
If used closer to the blueline, you could find your skater being one-on-one with the goalie, depending on the defensive strategy selected by your opponent.
Should the L1+R2/LB+RT deke go wrong in this area, and your skater gets blocked off, the puck can still trickle through, allowing for your forecheck to surge in and apply some pressure.
It’s important to keep in mind that your skater gets pushed away from the boards by quite a distance when you make this play. So, you’ll want to push down L3 after performing the deke to sprint back to the puck.
If you want to introduce some of these slick dekes into your game, be sure to use the Training and Practice modes to perfect your timing, and use the best deking skaters in NHL 21 to baffle your opponents on the ice.
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