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)
Overall Rating: 95
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Edmonton Oilers
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)
Overall Rating: 87
Position: Left Wing
Player Type: Sniper
Team: Calgary Flames
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)
Overall Rating: 92
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Colorado Avalanche
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)
Overall Rating: 88
Position: Left Wing
Player Type: Sniper
Team: Buffalo Sabres
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)
Overall Rating: 87
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Nashville Predators
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)
Overall Rating: 85
Position: Right/Left Defenseman
Player Type: Offensive Defenseman
Team: Colorado Avalanche
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.
|Name||Speed Score||Overall||Position||Player Type||Age||Team||Best Attributes|
|Connor McDavid||97.0||95||Center||Playmaker||23||Edmonton Oilers||98 Offensive Awareness, 97 Passing, 97 Speed|
|Johnny Gaudreau||94.0||87||Left Wing||Sniper||27||Calgary Flames||95 Agility, 95 Discipline, 95 Deking|
|Nathan MacKinnon||93.3||92||Center||Playmaker||25||Colorado Avalanche||94 Offensive Awareness, 94 Passing, 94 Speed|
|Taylor Hall||93.3||88||Left Wing||Sniper||28||Buffalo Sabres||94 Acceleration, 94 Speed, 92 Hand-Eye|
|Matt Duchene||93.3||87||Center||Playmaker||29||Nashville Predators||94 Speed, 93 Agility, 93 Acceleration|
|Cale Makar||93.3||85||Right/Left Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||21||Colorado Avalanche||94 Agility, 93 Speed, 93 Acceleration|
|Evgeny Kuznetsov||93.0||89||Center||Playmaker||28||Washington Capitals||95 Deking, 94 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 94 Passing|
|Nikita Kucherov||92.7||92||Right Wing||Sniper||27||Tampa Bay Lightning||95 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 95 Passing, 95 Puck Control|
|Steven Stamkos||92.7||90||Center/Left Wing||Playmaker||30||Tampa Bay Lightning||95 Passing, 95 Puck Control, 94 Deking|
|Jack Hughes||92.7||80||Center||Playmaker||19||New Jersey Devils||93 Agility, 93 Speed, 92 Deking|
|David Pastrnak||92.3||91||Right Wing||Sniper||24||Boston Bruins||95 Hand-Eye, 94 Deking, 94 Agility|
|Artemi Panarin||92.3||91||Left Wing||Sniper||28||New York Rangers||96 Deking, 95 Offensive Awareness, 94 Passing|
|Dylan Larkin||92.3||88||Center||Playmaker||24||Detroit Red Wings||94 Acceleration, 93 Speed, 92 Offensive Awareness|
|Jack Eichel||92.0||91||Center||Playmaker||23||Buffalo Sabres||94 Passing, 94 Puck Control, 94 Offensive Awareness|
|Vladimir Tarasenko||92.0||89||Right Wing||Sniper||28||St. Louis Blues||94 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 93 Deking, 93 Hand-Eye|
|Quinn Hughes||92.0||86||Left/Right Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||20||Vancouver Canucks||93 Speed, 93 Deking, 92 Acceleration|
|Mathew Barzal||92.0||86||Center||Playmaker||23||New York Islanders||94 Speed, 92 Acceleration, 92 Passing|
|Jonathan Drouin||92.0||85||Left Wing||Sniper||25||Montreal Canadiens||93 Agility, 93 Deking, 92 Acceleration|
|Nikolaj Ehlers||92.0||84||Left Wing||Playmaker||24||Winnipeg Jets||93 Deking, 92 Hand-Eye, 92 Speed|
|Kasperi Kapanen||92.0||83||Right/Left Wing||Two-Way Forward||24||Pittsburgh Penguins||93 Acceleration, 93 Speed, 90 Agility|
|Tyler Seguin||91.7||89||Center||Playmaker||28||Dallas Stars||94 Passing, 93 Wrist Shot Power, 93 Puck Control|
|Alex DeBrincat||91.7||85||Right/Left Wing||Sniper||22||Chicago Blackhawks||95 Discipline, 93 Deking, 92 Speed|
|Cam Atkinson||91.7||84||Right Wing||Sniper||31||Columbus Blue Jackets||93 Deking, 92 Agility, 92 Acceleration|
|Erik Karlsson||91.3||89||Right/Left Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||30||San Jose Sharks||95 Poise, 94 Passing, 94 Puck Control|
|Kailer Yamamoto||91.3||82||Right/Left Wing||Playmaker||21||Edmonton Oilers||92 Agility, 91 Speed, 91 Acceleration|
|Claude Giroux||91.0||88||Center/Left Wing||Playmaker||32||Philadelphia Flyers||94 Passing, 94 Puck Control, 93 Deking|
|Shayne Gostisbehere||91.0||84||Left/Right Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||27||Philadelphia Flyers||92 Deking, 91 Speed, 91 Acceleration|
|Mats Zuccarello||91.0||83||Right Wing||Playmaker||33||Minnesota Wild||91 Acceleration, 91 Agility, 91 Speed|
|Oliver Bjorkstrand||90.7||83||Right/Left Wing||Sniper||25||Columbus Blue Jackets||95 Discipline, 91 Speed, 91 Acceleration|
|Michael Grabner||90.7||80||Right/Left Wing||Sniper||32||Free Agent||95 Discipline, 92 Speed, 91 Acceleration|
|Drew Doughty||90.3||91||Right/Left Defenseman||Two-Way Defenseman||30||Los Angeles Kings||94 Passing, 94 Endurance, 93 Puck Control|
|Phil Kessel||90.3||85||Right Wing||Sniper||32||Arizona Coyotes||93 Slap Shot Power, 93 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 92 Passing|
|John Klingberg||90.0||87||Right/Left Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||28||Dallas Stars||93 Passing, 92 Puck Control, 91 Slap Shot Power|
|Morgan Rielly||90.0||87||Left/Right Defenseman||Two-Way Defenseman||26||Toronto Maple Leafs||92 Endurance, 91 Passing, 91 Puck Control|
|Keith Yandle||90.0||86||Left/Right Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||34||Florida Panthers||92 Passing, 92 Puck Control, 91 Offensive Awareness|
|Jared Spurgeon||90.0||84||Right/Left Defenseman||Two-Way Defenseman||30||Minnesota Wild||95 Discipline, 93 Endurance, 91 Stick Checking|
|Sami Vatanen||90.0||83||Right/Left Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||29||Free Agent||90 Deking, 90 Acceleration, 90 Speed|
|Samuel Girard||90.0||82||Left/Right Defenseman||Offensive Defenseman||22||Colorado Avalanche||95 Discipline, 91 Speed, 90 Durability|
|Duncan Keith||89.7||85||Left/Right Defenseman||Two-Way Defenseman||37||Chicago Blackhawks||93 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?
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