NHL 21: Fastest Players (Forwards and Defensemen)

Inject some speed into your NHL 21 lines to get an edge against all of your opponents.


Speed is certainly a coveted asset to boast in the modern NHL, but in NHL 21, it’s all-but necessary to have some of the fastest players in your lines.

Going forward, having players with high speed ratings down the wings or through the middle can help you expose the opposing goaltender.


On the flip side, due to how many of the fastest players in NHL 21 are forwards, you also need to have some of the fastest defensemen to keep up with the blazing attackers.

Here, you can find all of the fastest forwards and fastest defensemen in NHL 21, with the speediest players featured before a complete table below.

Finding the fastest players in NHL 21

To establish which of NHL 21’s skaters are the fastest, we found the speed score of each player by calculating their average rating in acceleration, agility, and speed.

Each of the fastest forwards on this list has attribute ratings of at least 87 agility, 91 acceleration, and 91 speed.


The bar is slightly lower for the fastest defensemen, with each requiring attribute ratings of at least 85 agility, 90 acceleration, and 90 speed.

All of the fastest players in NHL 21 can be found listed in the table towards the foot of the page.

Connor McDavid (Speed Score: 97.0)

Age: 23
Overall Rating: 95
Position: Center
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Edmonton Oilers
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 98 Offensive Awareness, 97 Passing, 97 Speed

Connor McDavid continues to establish himself as one of the greatest players in the NHL today. Destined for a Hall of Fame spot, the 23-year-old has already recorded 496 points in 351 games.

Midway through last season, at the NHL All-Star meet, the speedster whipped around the fastest skater course in 13.215 seconds, beating his score of last season but narrowly missing out to Mathew Barzal. On the run, Edmonton’s captain hit a speed of 45 km/h.

In NHL 21, McDavid’s not only the top center of the game, but he’s also the fastest player. With a 95 overall rating, the center is made even more menacing by his 97 acceleration, 97 agility, and 97 speed.

Along with his blinding pace, McDavid’s 97 passing, 95 wrist shot accuracy, 93 slap shot accuracy, 90 stick checking, 96 hand-eye, and 96 puck control make him almost unplayable.

Johnny Gaudreau (Speed Score: 94.0)

Age: 27
Overall Rating: 87
Position: Left Wing
Player Type: Sniper
Team: Calgary Flames
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 95 Agility, 95 Discipline, 95 Deking

Having scored more than a point per game in 2017/18 and 2018/19, Johnny Gaudreau  – and the rest of the Calgary Flames – slumped last season, with the American left wing dipping to 18 goals and 58 points in 70 games.

Gaudreau still put in several classy performances, using his speed down the flank to turn provider on many occasions, but his 18 goals marks a tally that’s half of his goal haul two seasons ago.

When it comes to learning how to deke in NHL 21, Gaudreau ranks as one of the best skaters to use thanks to his 95 deking. The Flames forward also boasts a tremendous speed score of 94.0, which is comprised of his 94 acceleration, 95 agility, and 93 speed.

With the puck on his stick, Gaudreau is an incredible offensive weapon to have: his speed and deking can be used to full effect alongside his 94 puck control, 90 wrist shot accuracy, 89 wrist shot power, and 92 offensive awareness.

Nathan MacKinnon (Speed Score: 93.3)

Age: 25
Overall Rating: 92
Position: Center
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 94 Offensive Awareness, 94 Passing, 94 Speed

The Colorado Avalanche entered the playoffs as the favoured pick of the Western Conference to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, with Nathan MacKinnon’s incredible 93-point regular season being a primary reason for their lofty rating.

While the Avs didn’t make it to the big show, MacKinnon was as impressive as everyone had hoped he’d be, tallying 25 points, a +13 rating, and 20 hits through his 15 playoff appearances.

MacKinnon comes into NHL 21 with a hefty overall rating of 92, as well as true speedster attribute ratings of 93 acceleration, 93 agility, and 94 speed.

An ever-present offensive threat in the game, the Halifax-native boasts 93 deking, 93 hand-eye, 94 passing, 93 puck control, 92 slap shot power, and 93 wrist shot accuracy.

Taylor Hall (Speed Score: 93.3)

Age: 28
Overall Rating: 88
Position: Left Wing
Player Type: Sniper
Team: Buffalo Sabres
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 94 Acceleration, 94 Speed, 92 Hand-Eye

Selected first overall in 2010, Taylor Hall hasn’t enjoyed the best of times in recent seasons. Moving from the Edmonton Oilers to the New Jersey Devils, following the advent of McDavid, Hall quickly became the team’s primary scoring threat, even nailing 39 goals and 93 points in the 2017/18 campaign.

However, he could only muster 37 points in 33 games in the following season, getting 25 points in 30 games last season before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes. In the desert, Hall saw out the final months of his contract by scoring ten goals and 27 points in 35 games.

Now with the Buffalo Sabres, Hall remains as one of the fastest players in NHL 21, boasting 94 acceleration, 94 speed, and 92 agility.

The Calgary-born sniper is also well-equipped to put the puck in the back of the net when it comes his way, thanks to his 91 slap shot accuracy, 92 slap shot power, 92 wrist shot accuracy, and 91 wrist shot power.

Matt Duchene (Speed Score: 93.3)

Age: 29
Overall Rating: 87
Position: Center
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Nashville Predators
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 94 Speed, 93 Agility, 93 Acceleration

Last season was Matt Duchene’s first as a Nashville Predator, being snapped up by the Tennessee franchise as one of the top free agents in the summer of 2019.

Proving to be worthy of his deal with the Preds, Duchene often showcased his hustle and high hockey IQ, resulting in his stat line reading 42 points in 66 games, 136 shots, and a 56.12 faceoff win percentage.

Duchene’s greatest assets in NHL 21 are his 93 acceleration, 93 agility, and 94 speed, which combine to make the center one of the fastest skaters in the game.

Being rated 87 overall, pace isn’t the Canadian’s only asset, with hefty ratings of 90 deking, 89 passing, 89 offensive awareness, 88 stick checking, 89 slap shot accuracy, and 89 wrist shot accuracy making him a very user-friendly player to have on the ice.

Cale Makar (Speed Score: 93.3)

Age: 21
Overall Rating: 85
Position: Right/Left Defenseman
Player Type: Offensive Defenseman
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 94 Agility, 93 Speed, 93 Acceleration

Taken fourth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Cale Makar spent the next two seasons with UMass Amherst in the NCAA. Finally, for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the defenseman was brought up to the NHL lines.

His six points in ten games for the Avs in the postseason was enough to keep Makar in the NHL roster, following up with 50 points in his first NHL regular season – placing second only to MacKinnon for Colorado.

Despite his young age, Makar is a very well-rounded blueliner from the outset of the game, with his 93 acceleration, 93 speed, and 94 agility making him the fastest defenseman in NHL 21.

While the offensive defenseman does boast high defensive ratings like 90 stick checking, 86 defensive awareness, and 84 body checking, Makar’s 90 deking, 89 passing, and 89 offensive awareness make him more of a weapon in front of the opposing net.

All of the fastest players in NHL 21

In the table below, you can find all of the fastest forwards and fastest defensemen in NHL 21, with the fastest skaters being listed according to their speed scores.

NameSpeed ScoreOverallPositionPlayer TypeAgeTeamBest Attributes
Connor McDavid97.095CenterPlaymaker23Edmonton Oilers98 Offensive Awareness, 97 Passing, 97 Speed
Johnny Gaudreau94.087Left WingSniper27Calgary Flames95 Agility, 95 Discipline, 95 Deking
Nathan MacKinnon93.392CenterPlaymaker25Colorado Avalanche94 Offensive Awareness, 94 Passing, 94 Speed
Taylor Hall93.388Left WingSniper28Buffalo Sabres94 Acceleration, 94 Speed, 92 Hand-Eye
Matt Duchene93.387CenterPlaymaker29Nashville Predators94 Speed, 93 Agility, 93 Acceleration
Cale Makar93.385Right/Left DefensemanOffensive Defenseman21Colorado Avalanche94 Agility, 93 Speed, 93 Acceleration
Evgeny Kuznetsov93.089CenterPlaymaker28Washington Capitals95 Deking, 94 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 94 Passing
Nikita Kucherov92.792Right WingSniper27Tampa Bay Lightning95 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 95 Passing, 95 Puck Control
Steven Stamkos92.790Center/Left WingPlaymaker30Tampa Bay Lightning95 Passing, 95 Puck Control, 94 Deking
Jack Hughes92.780CenterPlaymaker19New Jersey Devils93 Agility, 93 Speed, 92 Deking
David Pastrnak92.391Right WingSniper24Boston Bruins95 Hand-Eye, 94 Deking, 94 Agility
Artemi Panarin92.391Left WingSniper28New York Rangers96 Deking, 95 Offensive Awareness, 94 Passing
Dylan Larkin92.388CenterPlaymaker24Detroit Red Wings94 Acceleration, 93 Speed, 92 Offensive Awareness
Jack Eichel92.091CenterPlaymaker23Buffalo Sabres94 Passing, 94 Puck Control, 94 Offensive Awareness
Vladimir Tarasenko92.089Right WingSniper28St. Louis Blues94 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 93 Deking, 93 Hand-Eye
Quinn Hughes92.086Left/Right DefensemanOffensive Defenseman20Vancouver Canucks93 Speed, 93 Deking, 92 Acceleration
Mathew Barzal92.086CenterPlaymaker23New York Islanders94 Speed, 92 Acceleration, 92 Passing
Jonathan Drouin92.085Left WingSniper25Montreal Canadiens93 Agility, 93 Deking, 92 Acceleration
Nikolaj Ehlers92.084Left WingPlaymaker24Winnipeg Jets93 Deking, 92 Hand-Eye, 92 Speed
Kasperi Kapanen92.083Right/Left WingTwo-Way Forward24Pittsburgh Penguins93 Acceleration, 93 Speed, 90 Agility
Tyler Seguin91.789CenterPlaymaker28Dallas Stars94 Passing, 93 Wrist Shot Power, 93 Puck Control
Alex DeBrincat91.785Right/Left WingSniper22Chicago Blackhawks95 Discipline, 93 Deking, 92 Speed
Cam Atkinson91.784Right WingSniper31Columbus Blue Jackets93 Deking, 92 Agility, 92 Acceleration
Erik Karlsson91.389Right/Left DefensemanOffensive Defenseman30San Jose Sharks95 Poise, 94 Passing, 94 Puck Control
Kailer Yamamoto91.382Right/Left WingPlaymaker21Edmonton Oilers92 Agility, 91 Speed, 91 Acceleration
Claude Giroux91.088Center/Left WingPlaymaker32Philadelphia Flyers94 Passing, 94 Puck Control, 93 Deking
Shayne Gostisbehere91.084Left/Right DefensemanOffensive Defenseman27Philadelphia Flyers92 Deking, 91 Speed, 91 Acceleration
Mats Zuccarello91.083Right WingPlaymaker33Minnesota Wild91 Acceleration, 91 Agility, 91 Speed
Oliver Bjorkstrand90.783Right/Left WingSniper25Columbus Blue Jackets95 Discipline, 91 Speed, 91 Acceleration
Michael Grabner90.780Right/Left WingSniper32Free Agent95 Discipline, 92 Speed, 91 Acceleration
Drew Doughty90.391Right/Left DefensemanTwo-Way Defenseman30Los Angeles Kings94 Passing, 94 Endurance, 93 Puck Control
Phil Kessel90.385Right WingSniper32Arizona Coyotes93 Slap Shot Power, 93 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 92 Passing
John Klingberg90.087Right/Left DefensemanOffensive Defenseman28Dallas Stars93 Passing, 92 Puck Control, 91 Slap Shot Power
Morgan Rielly90.087Left/Right DefensemanTwo-Way Defenseman26Toronto Maple Leafs92 Endurance, 91 Passing, 91 Puck Control
Keith Yandle90.086Left/Right DefensemanOffensive Defenseman34Florida Panthers92 Passing, 92 Puck Control, 91 Offensive Awareness
Jared Spurgeon90.084Right/Left DefensemanTwo-Way Defenseman30Minnesota Wild95 Discipline, 93 Endurance, 91 Stick Checking
Sami Vatanen90.083Right/Left DefensemanOffensive Defenseman29Free Agent90 Deking, 90 Acceleration, 90 Speed
Samuel Girard90.082Left/Right DefensemanOffensive Defenseman22Colorado Avalanche95 Discipline, 91 Speed, 90 Durability
Duncan Keith89.785Left/Right DefensemanTwo-Way Defenseman37Chicago Blackhawks93 Passing, 90 Speed, 90 Deking

NHL 21 fastest starting line to play

While the Tampa Bay Lighting are the fastest team in NHL 21, with a few trades – most likely based around Connor McDavid – you could ice a line that rockets past even the speediest teams in the game.

This is the fastest line to play in NHL 21, with each player selected based on their speed score and their preferred position.

Johnny Gaudreau (94.0) – Connor McDavid (97.0) – Nikita Kucherov (92.7)
Quinn Hughes (92.0) – Cale Makar (93.3)

If you want to create more goalscoring opportunities, inject more pace into your lines by adding some of the fastest players in NHL 21.

Want to learn more about playing NHL 21?

NHL 21: Complete Controls Guide (Goalie, Faceoffs, Offense, and Defense) for PS4 and Xbox One

NHL 21: Complete Deke Guide, Tutorial, and Tips

NHL 21: Best and Worst Teams to Use and Rebuild

NHL 21: How to Fight and Win

NHL 21 Ratings: Best Enforcers

NHL 21 Draft: Best Prospects and Top Draft Steals 2021

NHL 21 Draft: Best Prospects and Top Draft Steals 2022

NHL 21 Franchise Mode: Best Young Players

NHL 21: Top Centers

NHL 21: Top Faceoff Centers

NHL 21: All Team Ratings


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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