NHL 13: Ranking the 7 Best Potential Cover Athletes

Aaron MillerContributor IIIApril 14, 2012

NHL 13: Ranking the 7 Best Potential Cover Athletes

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    As you may or may not be aware, EA Sports is currently in the process of deciding who will be on the cover of their soon-to-be released game, NHL 13.

    Part of this process is fan voting. There are 32 candidates on the voting ballot.

    This slideshow is my opinion of who fans should vote for and why. Obviously, players who are not on the ballot will not be included. Despite Steven Stamkos being on this year's ballot for some unknown reason, he will not be included. He was the cover athlete of NHL 12, the game that precedes NHL 13.

    I hope you enjoy!

7. Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Ilya Kovalchuk is so dangerous every time he steps on the ice, with a proven goal scoring record over a career spanning 10 years now.

    Kovalchuk is arguably the best player on one of the most successful teams of the modern era. Despite this success, the Devils have been notably absent from an EA Sports NHL cover since 1995.

    He may not be renowned for his defensive prowess, but his 37 goals and 87 points (good enough for equal sixth in the league and fifth in the league respectively) show that he certainly has the skills to dazzle the crowds and perhaps entice a new fan into the sport.

6. Corey Perry

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    The winner of the 2010-2011 Hart Trophy surely deserves consideration for the cover of NHL 13.

    Despite having a bit of a down year with the equally disappointing Anaheim Ducks, Perry still managed to tally 37 goals. His talent isn't questioned, and when the Ducks bounce back, I am sure Perry will earn an All-Star selection, instead of being handed one by teammate Teemu Selanne.

5. Pekka Rinne

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    The fact that Pekka Rinne has beaten out superstar defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter in the ballot speaks volumes.

    Despite the coverage that the superstar defensive pairing get, I believe that Rinne is Nashville's most valuable player. He makes it extremely tough for the opposing team to get anything behind him, whether it be at even-strength or on the penalty kill.

    His 43 wins this season—good enough for No. 1 in the league—is a testament to his ability and hard work.

4. Evgeni Malkin

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    Boy has Evgeni Malkin taken the league by storm this season.

    With 50 goals and 109 points in 75 games, Malkin proved himself to be an unstoppable offensive threat, especially in the latter half of the season. If he is not the Hart Trophy recipient for this season, there will be questions asked.

    Malkin is surprisingly tough, has dazzling skill and is someone that any hockey fan would pay good money to see.

    However, there are two factors preventing Malkin from taking the No. 1 spot:

    • He will always remain in the shadow of Crosby, unless Crosby is unfortunate enough to suffer a career-ending concussion.
    • Malkin has not been durable by any means, which has affected his point totals over the previous two seasons.

    If Malkin does make the cover, it will be very deserved.

3. Claude Giroux

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    This may be a bit of a Homer pick, but I don't think any hockey fan can deny that there is something special about Claude Giroux.

    Giroux could be the most poised player I have ever seen. It's like he has an extra second or two to deke or make a play. He seems to make everybody around him better.

    This is only Giroux's third full season in the NHL, and I think he has big things ahead of him. Paul Holmgren obviously agrees, having sent away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter over the offseason, knowing that Giroux could shoulder the offensive load.

    Claude Giroux will be a force in the league for years to come, and is very worthy of an NHL cover.

2. Henrik Lundqvist

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    Henrik Lundqvist is a goaltender who has almost single-handedly scraped the Rangers into the playoffs since the lockout. Lundqvist is the only goalie in NHL history to record seven consecutive 30-win seasons to begin his career, and has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy on multiple occasions, unfortunately never taking home the award.

    My personal belief is that if Henrik Lundqvist had received more support from the team in front of him, he would have won the Vezina multiple times. A place on the cover of NHL 13 may not be a Stanley Cup, but it may soften the blow just a little bit.

1. Pavel Datsyuk

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    If someone were to ask me who the most dazzling and electrifying player in the NHL was, my answer would be unequivocally Pavel Datsyuk.

    The man is like a wizard on skates. He has such amazing hands. I'm sure if the songwriters for Maroon 5 were searching for a genuine metaphor, the lyric would have been "moves like Datsyuk."

    His defensive prowess is also astonishing; he holds no less than three Selke Trophies and four Lady Byng Trophies. He is truly a class act and the exact type of player the NHL should be promoting.

    He's also No. 13, which is somewhat convenient.

    Agree? Disagree? Feel free to tell me your thoughts!