NHL 23 is back with updated player attributes after another season filled with excitement. Who tops the list will be no surprise to hockey fans. The fact that the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche lead the way with two players in the top ten (tied with the Edmonton Oilers) and three of the top 15 players is not surprising either.
Below, you will find the best players in NHL 23 by their overall rating. These ratings are from game launch and are subject to change throughout the season. Click here for the best teams and for the best goalies. Or if you need to up your offense, here are the best snipers.
1. Connor McDavid (95 OVR)
Team: Edmonton Oilers
Salary: $11.875M (4 Years)
Best Attributes: 98 Passing, 98 Off. Awareness, 98 Agility
Unsurprisingly at the top is who many consider the best player in hockey in center Connor McDavid. The former top overall pick has the attribute ratings to boot, being the only player to have a 98 rating in any attribute, and not only that, but he has five attributes at that rating! Along with his Hand-Eye, Passing, and Puck Control, McDavid also has 98 in Off. Awareness and Agility. He also has a foursome of 97 attributes in Deking, Acceleration, Speed, and Wrist Shot Accuracy. All in all, the Playmaker archetype is as talented in NHL 23 as many view him in real life. McDavid has the Wheels X-Factor Zone Ability, giving him exceptional agility, speed, and acceleration when skating with the puck.
The 2015 first overall pick has already had a Hall of Fame worthy career in terms of stats and awards, but a Stanley Cup championship has eluded him – and every Canadian team for decades. Still, McDavid is a two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner as the league’s MVP, four-time Art Ross Trophy winner for scoring the most points in a season, and three-time Ted Lindsay Award winner as the best player as voted on by his peers. He and another player on this list helped lead Edmonton to the 2022 Western Conference Finals but suffered a sweep to the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche. For the 2021-2022 season, McDavid recorded 44 goals and 79 assists for 123 points.
2. Cale Makar (94 OVR)
Position: Right Defense
Archetype: Offensive Defenseman
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Salary: $9.000M (5 Years)
Best Attributes: 97 Deking, 97 Puck Control, 96 Speed
The first representative of the Stanley Cup champions is right defenseman Cale Makar. Makar is one of three players with a 94 OVR rating, but the only defenseman, making him the best defenseman in NHL 23 as well. Makar is great with the puck having 97 Deking and Puck Control, along with 96 Passing and 92 Hand-Eye. Makar is also a speedy skater with 96 in Acceleration, Agility, and Speed. As the best defenseman, he carries 95 Def. Awareness and Stick Checking, plus 89 Shot Blocking, 90 Poise, and 85 Discipline. He can hang with even the fastest centers and wingers on the fast break while creating a stifling area of impenetrability. Makar’s Zone Ability is Elite Edges, giving him exceptional maneuverability and the ability to turn tight corners at high speed.
The young Makar has already built himself a solid career as the 2019-2020 Calder Memorial Trophy winner as the best rookie, also placing on the All-Rookie team. He was integral to Colorado’s title win during the 2021-2022 season, winning the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the best defenseman and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the top player in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup winner. During the season, he recorded 28 goals and 58 assists in 77 games played with 25:40 average time on ice.
3. Auston Matthews (94 OVR)
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Salary: $11.375M (2 Years)
Best Attributes: 97 Off. Awareness, 97 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 96 Slap Shot Accuracy
The cover athlete for NHL 23 is once again rated highly at 94 OVR. The Sniper has 97 Off. Awareness to go along with Shooting attributes of 97 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 96 Slap Shot Accuracy, 94 Wrist Shot Power, and 92 Slap Shot Power, making him a quintessential Sniper. He’s not just a shooter, though, as he has 95 Hand-Eye, 95 Puck Control, 93 Passing, and 92 Deking, which are key for any center. He has good defense for a center as well with 94 Def. Awareness and Stick Checking. Matthews’ Zone Ability is Shock and Awe, giving him exceptional power and accuracy shooting out of or shortly after a toe drag.
Matthews has been scintillating since he entered the league, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2016-2017 and placing on the All-Rookie team. He also won both the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lindsay Award in 2021-2022, making him the MVP to both the voters and players. He’s also a two-time winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy as the season’s top goal scorer. During the 2021-2022 season, Matthews tallied 60 goals and 46 assists in 73 games. During the playoffs, he added four goals and five assists as the Maple Leafs lost the first round in seven games to eventual Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay.
4. Nathan MacKinnon (94 OVR)
Position: Center, Right Wing
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Salary: $6.300M (1 Year)
Best Attributes: 96 Off. Awareness, 95 Puck Control, 95 Acceleration
The the random pattern of 94 OVR players in NHL 23 beginning their last names with the letter “M” reaches its fourth and final member in Avalanche center and right winger Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon is the second Avalanche in not just the top nine, but in the top four. The Playmaker has 96 Off. Awareness to go along with great Skating attributes like 95 in Acceleration, Agility, and Speed, 90 Balance, and 88 Endurance. His Puck Skills are also great with 95 Puck Control and 94 Deking, Hand-Eye, and Passing. His Shooting attributes are either 92 or 94, making him a solid scorer. MacKinnon’s Zone Ability is Ankle Breaker, giving him the ability to deke opponents at high speeds.
MacKinnon justified his selection as the top pick in 2013 by winning the Calder Memorial Trophy and placing on the All-Rookie team. He also won the 2019-2020 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for displaying outstanding sportsmanship during the season. During the 2021-2022 season, MacKinnon recorded 32 goals and 56 assists in 65 games. In the Stanley Cup-winning playoff run, MacKinnon added 13 goals and 11 assists in 20 games, tying Evander Kane for the most goals during the playoffs.
5. Leon Draisaitl (93 OVR)
Position: Center, Left Wing
Team: Edmonton Oilers
Salary: $7.990M (3 Years)
Best Attributes: 97 Off. Awareness, 95 Puck Control, 95 Wrist Shot Accuracy
The second Oilers player in the top five, Leon Draisaitl is another Sniper who isn’t just a shooter. With his 97 Off. Awareness, Draisaitl packs a good combination of Puck Skills and Shooting to maximize his awareness. He has 95 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 94 Slap Shot Accuracy, and 92 Slap and Wrist Shot Power. With the puck, Draisaitl has 95 Puck Control, 94 Hand-Eye and Passing, and 93 Deking. Defensively, Draisaitl is also sound with 93 Stick Checking, 91 Def. Awareness, 90 Poise, 81 Shot Blocking, and 80 Discipline with a good 85 Faceoffs. Draisaitl’s Zone Ability is Tape to Tape, giving him exceptional power and accuracy on all passes within his vision, and the passes will auto saucer when necessary.
Draisaitl had himself a season in 2019-2020 as he won the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Ross Trophy, and the Lindsay Award. During 2021-2022, Draisaitl produced 55 goals and 55 assists in 80 games. In 16 playoff games, he recorded seven goals and 25 assists (most during the playoffs) as Edmonton was swept by eventual champion Colorado in the Western Conference Finals.
6. Patrick Kane (93 OVR)
Position: Right Wing
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Salary: $10.500M (1 Year)
Best Attributes: 97 Off. Awareness, 97 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 96 Puck Skills
Longtime Chicago right winger Patrick Kane is still an exceptional player. The former top overall pick in 2007 has 97 Off. Awareness, which aids in his shooting with 97 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 95 Slap Shot Accuracy, and 89 Slap and Wrist Shot Power. Kane is a master with the puck as he carries a 96 in all Puck Skills. He’s also speedy, with 96 Agility, 95 Acceleration, and 92 Speed. Kane also has 95 Poise, but a little low 70 Discipline. Kane’s Zone Ability is Puck on a String, giving him exceptional toe drag and stick handling speed.
The veteran entering his 16th year is a three-time champion, including winning the Smythe Trophy in 2013. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the 2015-2016 season. During the 2021-2022 season, Kane recorded 26 goals and 66 assists in 78 games.
7. Victor Hedman (93 OVR)
Position: Left Defense
Archetype: 2 Way Defender
Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
Salary: $7.875M (3 Years)
Best Attributes: 95 Def. Awareness, 95 Stick Checking, 95 Poise
The first representative of the Stanley Cup Final runner-up Tampa Bay is left defenseman Victor Hedman, tied for the second-best defenseman in NHL 23 with the next player on the list. As expected, his best attributes are in Defense with 95 Def. Awareness and Stick Checking and 90 Shot Blocking. He also has 95 Poise and 94 Balance. Physically, he has 93 Strength, 90 Body Checking, and 88 Aggressiveness, but his 82 Durability could be better. Hedman’s Zone Ability is Stick ‘Em Up, giving him phenomenal defensive stick speed and greater accuracy when poke checking against momentum or at speed. It also reduces the chances of a penalty, essential for any defenseman.
A member of Tamba Bay as it’s reached the past three Stanley Cup Finals – winning the first two – Hedman has proved his worth on the defensive side. The two-time champion won the Norris Memorial Trophy in 2017-2018 and the Smythe Trophy during the Lightning’s first title win in 2019-2020. In 2021-2022, Hedman played all 82 games with an average of 25:05 time on ice. He scored 20 goals and assisted 65 others. He had three goals and 16 assists in 23 playoff games as Tampa Bay was thwarted in their quest for a three-peat, losing to Colorado in six games.
8. Roman Josi (93 OVR)
Position: Left Defense
Archetype: 2 Way Defender
Team: Nashville Predators
Salary: $9.060M (6 Years)
Best Attributes: 96 Def. Awareness, 94 Stick Checking, 93 Endurance
The third and last defenseman on this list is Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators. Josi has 96 Def. Awareness, 94 Stick Checking, and 90 Shot Blocking to go along with 90 Poise and 85 Discipline. His Physical attributes don’t reach the apex of Hedman’s but are still respectable with 92 Strength, 89 Durability, 87 Body Checking, and 85 Aggressiveness. His Zone Ability is Send It, which grants Josi a large increase to pass assist and the ability to auto saucer long passes.
The two-time All-Star is also a former Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the best defenseman in 2019-2020. Josi showed great durability during the 2021-2022 season, playing in 80 games with an average of 25:33 time on ice. He scored 23 goals and assisted on 73 others. He had 46 penalty minutes, which averages to a standard penalty in only 23 games with each penalty being two minutes. He had one goal and one assist as Nashville suffered a sweep to eventual champion Colorado in the first round.
9. Sidney Crosby (93 OVR)
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Salary: $8.555M (3 Years)
Best Attributes: 95 Poise, 94 Hand-Eye, 94 Def. Awareness
The Pittsburgh mainstay and future Hall of Famer Sidney Crosby finishes off the list as the last player rated at least 93 OVR. The top overall pick from 2005 is still formidable, carrying 85 Poise to go with with his Puck Skills of 94 Hand-Eye and Passing, and 93 Deking and Puck Control. The Playmaker can also score with the best of Snipers with 91 Slap Shot Accuracy, Slap Shot Power, and Wrist Shot Accuracy, plus 90 Wrist Shot Power. Crosby also holds his own on defense with 94 Def. Awareness and Stick Checking and 86 Shot Blocking. He will also be hard to beat on the faceoff with 88 Faceoffs. His Zone Ability is Beauty Backhand, which grants him exceptional power and accuracy when shooting with his backhand.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion had another typical Crosby season in 2021-2022 with a high tally of assists. He played 69 games, scoring 31 and assisting 53. In the playoffs, he scored twice and assisted eight goals as the Penguins lost in the first round in six games to the New York Rangers. For his career, Crosby is a two-time winner of both the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Smythe trophy.
All of the best players in NHL 23
Below, you will find all of the best players in NHL 23 by overall rating. While Tampa Bay and Edmonton both have two players in the top 15, Colorado beats them with three players in the top 15: Makar, MacKinnon, and Miko Rantanen.
|Connor McDavid||95||25||Center||Playmaker||Left||Edmonton Oilers||$11.875M (4 Years)||98 Passing, 98 Off. Awareness, 98 Agility|
|Cale Makar||94||23||Right Defense||Offensive Defenseman||Right||Colorado Avalanche||$9.000M (5 Years)||97 Deking, 97 Puck Control, 96 Speed|
|Auston Matthews||94||25||Center||Sniper||Left||Toronto Maple Leafs||$11.375M (2 Years)||97 Off. Awareness, 97 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 96 Slap Shot Accuracy|
|Nathan MacKinnon||94||27||Center, Right Wing||Playmaker||Right||Colorado Avalanche||$6.300M (1 Year)||96 Off. Awareness, 95 Puck Control, 95 Acceleration|
|Leon Draisaitl||93||26||Center, Left Wing||Sniper||Left||Edmonton Oilers||$7.990M (3 Years)||97 Off. Awareness, 95 Puck Control, 95 Wrist Shot Accuracy|
|Patrick Kane||93||33||Right Wing||Sniper||Left||Chicago Blackhawks||$10.500M (1 Year)||97 Off. Awareness, 97 Wrist Shot Accuracy, 96 Puck Skills|
|Victor Hedman||93||31||Left Defense||2 Way Defender||Left||Tampa Bay Lightning||$7.875M (3 Years)||95 Def. Awareness, 95 Stick Checking, 95 Poise|
|Roman Josi||93||32||Left Defense||2 Way Defender||Left||Nashville Predators||$9.060M (6 Years)||96 Def. Awareness, 94 Stick Checking, 93 Endurance|
|Sidney Crosby||93||35||Center||Playmaker||Left||Pittsburgh Penguins||$8.555M (3 Years)||95 Poise, 94 Hand-Eye, 94 Def. Awareness|
|Nikita Kucherov||92||29||Right Wing||Sniper||Left||Tampa Bay Lightning||$9.500M (5 Years)||96 Deking, 96 Off. Awareness, 95 Hand-Eye|
|Jonathan Huberdeau||92||29||Left Wing||Playmaker||Left||Calgary Flames||$5.900M (1 Year)||96 Off. Awareness, 95 Passing, 95 Puck Control|
|Aleksander Barkov||92||27||Center||2 Way Forward||Left||Florida Panthers||$9.615M (8 Years)||95 Def. Awareness, 94 Stick Checking, 93 Passing|
|Artemi Panarin||92||30||Left Wing||Playmaker||Right||New York Rangers||$11.645M (4 Years)||96 Deking, 96 Off. Awareness, 95 Passing|
|Alex Ovechkin||92||37||Left Wing||Sniper||Right||Washington Capitals||$8.950M (4 Years)||97 Off. Awareness, 96 Slap Shot Power, 95 Slap Shot Accuracy|
|Miko Rantanen||91||25||Right Wing||Sniper||Left||Colorado Avalanche||$9.250M (3 Years)||95 Off. Awareness, 93 Passing, 93 Puck Control|
Now you know all of the best players NHL 23 by their overall rating. Which players will you target for your team?
Need some wingers? Check out our article on the NHL 23 best wingers.
Check out our article on all the NHL 23 team ratings.