Much like its predecessors, NHL 22 is loaded with teams to play with across its game modes. Naturally, many will gravitate to the NHL or Alumni teams, and gamers from Europe will find their more local clubs available too, but for a true test of your skill, it’s always good to pick one of the lowest-rated teams in the game.
Here, NHL 22’s worst teams to use are primarily based on the ratings given to them, and while they’re not the outright worst available, we have included the lowest-rated NHL teams on this list as well.
The Arizona Coyotes are in a sorry state coming into NHL 22, especially as they only feature one skater, Jakob Chychrun, with an X-Factor Ability – but not a game-changing Zone Ability. By far the lowest-rated team in the NHL, you’d have a tough time playing as the Yotes against any of their league competitors.
Skaters don’t exceed the 84-mark in the forward lines, with there being a huge drop off from the top line of Clayton Keller (84 OVR), Nick Schmaltz (84 OVR), and Phil Kessel (84 OVR) to the second line of Lawson Crouse (78 OVR), Barrett Hayton (79 OVR), and Christian Fischer (79 OVR).
The defensive sets do have the more exciting talents, with Shayne Gostisbehere (81 OVR) and Jakob Chychrun (85 OVR) being major threats from the point. Still, the lines are distinctly weak on the right side. In goal, you’ve got Cater Hutton (80 OVR), with low netminder overall ratings being more detrimental than ever in NHL 22.
Ranking as one of the best teams to rebuild in NHL 22, the Buffalo Sabres are also one of the worst NHL teams to use from the get-go. As you’d assume from a team primed for a rebuild, there’s not a lot to go off of in the Sabres line, with the only trustworthy focal point being Jack Eichel (91 OVR) and his X-Factor Ability.
Around Eichel, you could possibly draw some good match-ups when using Victor Olofsson (85 OVR) against second or third-line defensemen, but even then, you’d be looking to feed Eichel for the most part. Below those two, Dylan Cozens (82 OVR) and Vinnie Hinostroza (80 OVR) are the team’s only other 80-plus forwards.
In the defensive lines, Rasmus Dahlin (85 OVR) offers superb puck-moving ability and a decent shot, so he can make things happen from the blue line. Will Butcher (82 OVR) offers a bit of extra bite, but overall, the ratings given to the Sabres defensemen make them easy to beat, especially with the 81-rated goalie Craig Anderson behind them.
By way of overall ratings, Japan ranks as the worst team in NHL 22, standing as the ultimate test of your skill – especially if up against one of the international heavyweights or an NHL side. The players in the lines have barely changed over nearly a decade of the EA Sports game, with only one featuring an overall rating that exceeds 50.
The star of the show is Mitsuharu Yoshida (60 OVR), the top line’s center. Elsewhere, you’ll be looking to feed Kato (55 OVR), Wakabayashi (59 OVR), Kobayashi (55 OVR), and Tanaka (58 OVR). The team’s best defensemen are the top-liners Sasaki (56 OVR) and Irizawa (55 OVR), who sit in front of goaltender Ueno (53 OVR).
Only narrowly better than Japan by way of the side’s overall ratings, Kazakhstan could be seen as a worse team than Japan due to their lack of even a 60-overall star player to feed. While they are one of the worst teams in NHL 22, the overall ratings of the players are essentially the same on each line.
You’ll find players with an overall rating of at least 56 on each line, with Kozybaev (58 OVR), Lopatin (58 OVR), and Dakeev (58 OVR) being the top options. In the defensive lines, much like the forward lines, there’s very little between the top and bottom set, each of which will be looking to stop shots from reaching Konichev (55 OVR) in the net.
Much like Kazakhstan, Ukraine has strength in depth – in regards to the ratings of the worst teams in NHL 22 – but has a few higher-rated skaters and a much stronger netminder. Still, the side is only strong by comparison to the likes of Japan and Kazakhstan.
For some reason, Ukraine’s default lines hide their best talents away in the bottom six. Line 3’s Kelembet (60 OVR) and Kretschmann (62 OVR) and Line 4’s Hryshko (63 OVR) are the team’s best forwards. In the defensive sets, Bilik (59 OVR) is the highest-rated skater, but the star of the show will almost certainly be goalie Plaskon (64 OVR) in every game.
Pivoting away from the generated international teams and into the major juniors of the Canadian Hockey League, the Hamilton Bulldogs get into the ranks of the worst teams to use in NHL 22. As they’re developing very raw talents, it makes sense that the OHL side would be rated relatively lowly.
The team’s three highest-rated skaters are center Ryan Winterton (60 OVR), Tag Bertuzzi (60 OVR) on the left wing, and Jan Myšák (62 OVR) on the right wing. The defensive lines are rather shallow, with the third line not featuring more than a 48-overall rating, but Zachary Roy’s rating (56 OVR) is serviceable in the goalie’s crease.
If you want a challenge within the NHL or from the wider selection of clubs in the game, be sure to pick one of the worst teams in NHL 22.