NHL 21 Ratings: Best Enforcers

Need a menacing presence to put fear into the skates of your rivals? These are the best enforcers of NHL 21 that you want in your lines.

The game continues to creep away from having a designated fighter on the lines, with NHL teams rarely icing a skater who can do little more than throw his fists or pose a threat.

That said, it seems impossible that the NHL will ever be able to fully separate itself from fighting, simply due to the high-intensity and physicality of the sport that players are inclined to govern themselves – and rightfully so.

In NHL 21, skaters with the specific player type of ‘Enforcer’ are very lowly rated and barely worth having in an NHL roster. However, there are many players who have high ratings in the key attributes that make them a force when the gloves come off.

As starting and winning a fight in NHL 21 offers many benefits, it’s worth having one of the best fighters in the game in your roster, and on the ice for the big games.

These are the best enforcers of NHL 21, with their rankings being decided by finding the average rating, or ‘enforcer score,’ of their balance, strength, and fighting skill.

Zdeno Chára (Enforcer Score: 92.67)

Overall: 84
Position: LD/RD
Height and Weight: 6’9’’, 250lbs
Age: 43
Player Type: Two-Way Defender
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Team: Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chára enjoyed another solid season for the Boston Bruins, somehow scoring the exact same number of regular season goals and assists during this campaign as he did in 2018/19. With five goals and nine assists in 68 games, it was Chára’s defensive presence that proved invaluable again, finishing with a +26 plus-minus rating.

The towering Czech also wasn’t a stranger to the penalty box. He still managed to average 21 minutes on the ice per game, but he spent 60 minutes of the season waiting to come back onto the ice, with four of his 23 total penalties being majors.

With a rating of 84 OVR despite being 43-years-old, Chára is one of the most usable of the best enforcers on NHL 21. With his 91 slap shot power, 90 stick checking, 89 defensive awareness, and 89 shot blocking, the Bruins blueliner continues to be an invaluable asset on the ice.

The Boston Bruins are still loaded with tough players, but if you want to start a fight, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got Chára at the ready. Along with his absurd height, his 90 fighting skill, 94 strength, and 94 balance combine to make him the joint-best enforcer of NHL 21.

Milan Lucic (Enforcer Score: 92.67)

Overall: 78
Position: LW
Height and Weight: 6’3’’, 236lbs
Age: 32
Player Type: Power Forward
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Team: Calgary Flames

Now five years removed from his days as a Boston Bruin, Milan Lucic certainly helped to bring some muscle to the Calgary Flames last season, as well as some extra scoring. He scored eight goals and 20 points through 68 games and held himself to 54 penalty minutes.

The 2019/20 season marked only the third time in Lucic’s career that he sat in the box for less than an hour in a season. He managed to keep pace with the forceful Matthew Tkachuk on the major penalties front, though, with the two Flames wingers clocking two each.

While the Vancouver-native still carries some decent skilful attribute ratings – including 86 hand-eye, 88 wrist shot power, and 84 stick checking – Lucic’s primary assets in NHL 21 are his physical attributes.

His 94 balance, 90 fighting skill, and 94 strength give Lucic the exact same enforcer score as Chára, but the 6’3’’ forward also boasts 90 aggressiveness and 95 body checking to allow him to always be a physical threat on the ice.

Dustin Byfuglien (Enforcer Score: 91.67)

Overall: 87
Position: RD/LD
Height and Weight: 6’5’’, 260lbs
Age: 35
Player Type: Two-Way Defender
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Team: Free Agent

Now 35-years-old, Dustin Byfuglien was forced to miss the entirety of last season. An injury-stricken 2018/19 campaign saw the defenseman break his streak of four consecutive seasons with over 100 penalty minutes.

While the American did manage to play in the 2019 playoffs, his ankle surgery in October 2019 ruled him out of 2019/20, with Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets mutually terminating his contract back in April.

With an 87 overall rating, Byfuglien is one of the best free agents in NHL 21’s Franchise Mode, even if he is 35-years-old with a 75 durability rating.

Power is the name of the game for the long-time Jet, with his 85 fighting skill, 95 strength, and 95 balance making him one of the best fighters in NHL 21. However, Byfuglien’s 93 slap shot power, 83 slap shot accuracy, 93 stick checking, 93 endurance, and 93 body checking give his power some use on the puck, too.

Ryan Reaves (Enforcer Score: 91.33)

Overall: 79
Position: RW
Height and Weight: 6’1’’, 225lbs
Age: 33
Player Type: Enforcer
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Team: Vegas Golden Knights

Coming from a family of NFL and CFL players, Ryan Reaves is known in the NHL for his immense physicality, hefty but often clean checking, and willingness to drop the gloves.

Last season, the forward clocked-in 316 hits and three major penalties in the regular season, as well as another 93 hits in his nine minutes of average ice time over 19 playoff matches.

Hailing from Winnipeg, Reaves’ 90 fighting skill in NHL 21 puts him on par with Lucic and Chára, with his 92 strength and 92 balance adding to place him as the fourth-best fighter in the game.

Reaves is also the best-rated enforcer in NHL 21, coming in with a 91.33 enforcer score and a decent 79 overall rating.

Jamie Oleksiak (Enforcer Score: 91.00)

Overall: 80
Position: LD/RD
Height and Weight: 6’7’’, 255lbs
Age: 27
Player Type: Defensive Defenseman
Physical Attributes: Five-Star
Team: Dallas Stars

Originally drafted 14th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, Jamie Oleksiak struggled to amass a consistent run of starts for the Dallas Stars, eventually being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2019 fourth-round pick in late 2017.

Oleksiak was put to work as a physical defensive defenseman for the Penguins, proving his worth and becoming a mainstay on their blueline until the Stars traded him back for the same pick they received just over a year prior. Now a regular for the team that drafted him, the defenseman landed three major penalties in the regular season and 117 hits in their deep playoff run.

As one of the best fighters of NHL 21, Oleksiak’s 6’7’’, 225lbs frame and 91.00 enforcer score allow him to come as close to being toe-to-toe with Chára as you’ll find on the ice.

The Toronto-born defenseman also has some other favourable ratings for open play in NHL 21, including his 88 shot blocking, 88 stick checking, 90 body checking, 85 discipline, and he’s only 27-years-old.

All of the best enforcers of NHL 21

In the table below, you can see all of the best fighters in the game, ranked by their enforcer score. Both defensemen and forwards are included in the best enforcers list, but each skater has to have a minimum overall rating of 75 OVR to make the cut.

Name Enforcer Score Overall Position Team Best Attributes
Zdeno Chára 92.67 84 LD/RD Boston Bruins 94 Balance, 94 Strength, 92 Body Checking
Milan Lucic 92.67 78 LW Calgary Flames 95 Body Checking, 94 Strength, 94 Balance
Dustin Byfuglien 91.67 87 RD/LD Free Agent 95 Strength, 95 Balance, 93 Stick Checking
Ryan Reaves 91.33 79 RW Vegas Golden Knights 93 Aggressiveness, 92 Balance, 92 Strength
Jamie Oleksiak 91.00 80 LD/RD Dallas Stars 94 Strength, 94 Balance, 90 Body Checking
Zack Kassian 90.33 81 RW Edmonton Oilers 92 Strength, 91 Body Checking, 91 Balance
Brian Boyle 90.33 79 C/LW Florida Panthers 93 Balance, 93 Strength, 90 Stick Checking
Shea Weber 90.00 88 RD/LD Montreal Canadiens 95 Slap Shot Power, 93 Strength, 92 Balance
Kyle Clifford 89.33 78 LW Toronto Maple Leafs 92 Aggressiveness, 90 Fighting Skill, 90 Body Checking
Nicolas Deslauriers 89.33 78 LW/RW Anaheim Ducks 90 Aggressiveness, 90 Fighting Skill, 90 Strength
Dylan McIlrath 89.33 75 RD/LD Grand Rapid Griffins 90 Strength, 90 Balance, 90 Body Checking
Jarred Tinordi 89.00 77 LD/RD Nashville Predators 90 Balance, 90 Strength, 90 Body Checking
Ben Chiarot 88.67 80 LD/RD Montreal Canadiens 91 Strength, 90 Endurance, 90 Aggressiveness
Jordan Nolan 88.33 77 C/LW Springfield Thunderbirds 90 Aggressiveness, 89 Strength, 89 Balance
Matt Martin 88.33 77 LW New York Islanders 93 Aggressiveness, 93 Body Checking, 89 Strength
Deryk Engelland 88.33 77 RD/LD Vegas Golden Knights 90 Endurance, 89 Body Checking, 89 Strength
Samuel Morin 88.33 75 LD/RD Lehigh Valley Phantoms 90 Strength, 90 Body Checking, 90 Balance
Tom Wilson 88.00 84 RW Washington Capitals 94 Aggressiveness, 91 Body Checking, 90 Strength
Nikita Zadorov 88.00 80 LD/RD Colorado Avalanche 90 Balance, 90 Aggressiveness, 89 Body Checking

If you need someone to call upon to drop the gloves and change the momentum of a game, look to one of the best enforcers in NHL 21, as listed above.

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