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EA Sports NHL 20: Reviewing the Changes Made to Franchise Mode

2019 NHL Awards Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The annual release of the EA Sports Series is right around the corner. With that quickly approaching, we are starting to get more in-depth details regarding NHL 20. Yesterday afternoon, EA released a deep dive into their Franchise Mode and the anticipated updates are certainly encouraging.

Coaching Carousel

Probably the biggest addition to this year’s iteration is the inclusion of coaches, and it finally gives the user full control over their organization from top to bottom. Each coach will have a specific set of ratings for which they specialize in, so users can better differentiate which coach is a better fit for their organization. As the articles states, coaches will be broken down into six different attribute categories which are offense, defense, power play, penalty kill, teaching, and influence.

Here’s a little breakdown on how each of these ratings influence the overall performance of a team, and whether it can make or break a team’s quest for the Stanley Cup.

Each of these has a distinct impact to the team. The Offense, Defense, Powerplay and Penalty Kill attributes have direct impact to gameplay and game simulations. Teaching can grow or stunt player development on the team via player potential. Each coach also has teaching specialty, these simply let the user know what type of player the coach likes to teach. Influence ties into the growth of coaches, having a head coach with high influence will help grow the coaching staff faster. Coaches will also accumulate stats and can be awarded the Jack Adams Trophy during the end of season awards.

The Coaching Carousel will be completely operational throughout the season with teams firing coaches if they fail to meet expectations. NHL Players will also become available and transition into coaching when they officially retiring from playing. Finally, as the acting general manager, users will have the ability to formally interview various coaching candidates before offering them an official contract. This will allow users to go a little more in-depth with different coaches to gauge their interest on the team makeup, market, and fan base.

Line Chemistry & Scheme Fit

Unlike previous years, there was no real magic formula to creating an optimal lineup. Now, EA has opened up a whole new box of tools for users to play around with when building the next great roster. The line chemistry formula will take a coach’s style of play into account and that will determine how lines are deployed during the games.

Users will have the option to form a more balanced attack throughout their lineup by mixing and matching players, or they could stack their top-tier players together to create an elite scoring unit. The decision is entirely up to you, but depending on which route you take, it could increase or decrease a players overall rating. If a player doesn’t match the chemistry of his line, his overall could drop as low as five overall points from his initial rating. However, if a player is a perfect match with his lines chemistry, his overall rating will increase accordingly.

Trade Finder

Trading in previous versions of the game became very intricate and a user often had to spend an extended period of time trying to find the right trade that made sense. Finally, EA has given users the ability to alert other general managers of an assets availability and have them make offers to you on the spot. Users can simply select the various assets they want to move on from and be presented with various offers from interested teams.

On the flip side, you can also select players from outside your organization and discover the price it would take to acquire them. The traditional trade system still exists, but this certainly presents a much more fluid style of trading, and allows you to quickly put a price tag on players within your organization.

While we’re still on the topic of trades, there are several other additions that should make for a more realistic Franchise experience.

  • PTS/G Trade Value Mod - A player’s trade value will increase or decrease depending on how they are performing during the season. If a player is playing well, their trade value will increase and you can cash in on a breakout season if you are a rebuilding team.
  • Skaters are valued higher than goaltenders in terms of trade value.
  • Defensemen and centers are also valued higher in terms of trade value when compared to wingers.
  • Players with one year left on their current contract will take a slight hit in trade value, and will create a more dynamic rental market. Previous versions of the game valued a player the same whether they had one or five years left on their deal. In addition, those same players will decrease in value yet again if they remain un-traded and reach the NHL Entry Draft.
  • You can now attach “sweeteners” to players with negative value in order to reward teams for taking on a bad contract. The more negative an asset becomes, the more it will take for a team to accept the trade.

Overall, the changes listed above are welcomed improvements, which creates a much more realistic environment for users to live out their dream of running an NHL organization. We will be reviewing NHL 20 in its entirety when the game officially releases on September 13, so be sure to stick around for that.