The Best NHL Games

Over 2.5K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best NHL Games
Voting Rules
Game must be part of the EA's NHL series.

Here is a list of the best NHL video games, ranked from greatest to worst by thousands of gamers' votes. If you think the coolest NHL game to play isn't as high as it should be then make sure to vote it up so that it has the chance to rise to the top. Are you and a friend arguing over what the greatest NHL hockey game of all time is? Use this list of each and every NHL video game to see how many people would agree with you and end the squabble once and for all. 

This list is kept up-to-date with all new releases and includes everything from NHL 2K10 to NHL 21 and more.

If you're wondering, "What are the greatest NHL games?" or "What is the best NHL game of all time?" then this list should answer your questions.

Most divisive: NHL 16
Ranked by
  • NHL 14
    Sep 10 2013
    840 votes
    • Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

    Featuring the revolutionary Enforcer Engine, NHL 14 brought some much-needed changes to the series, combining the best of Fight Night and NHL gameplay into a seamless experience. The innovative collision physics system introduced in this iteration took into account speed, weight, direction, and more for realistic collisions on the ice. Skill Stick controls allow players to feel the smoothness of their dekes and shots, while the improved AI recognizes purposeful plays, making for an authentic hockey experience. NHL 14 had more than just gameplay improvements, as its presentation also underwent a significant overhaul, featuring a slick new menu system and enhanced commentary from legendary announcers Bill Clement and Gary Thorne.

  • NHL '94
    Mar 15 1993
    743 votes
    • Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Mega Drive, DOS

    Often heralded as one of the greatest sports video games of all time, NHL '94 was a true game-changer for the genre. The introduction of the one-timer shot forever changed hockey gaming and became a staple feature of the series moving forward. Additionally, NHL '94 touted a unique feature allowing players to control both their skater and goalie simultaneously, providing a whole new level of strategy during gameplay. Also noteworthy were the detailed player stats, team rankings, and season modes which laid the foundation for major features in future iterations of the NHL series.

  • NHL 12
    Sep 08 2011
    505 votes
    • Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

    NHL 12's revamped physics engine gave this entry in the series a far more realistic and gritty tone than its predecessors. Body checks sent players flying – or crashing – into the boards and a dynamic puck control system allowed for smoother, more precise movements on the ice. NHL 12 utilized a "Be a Pro" mode, which put players in the skates of a young hockey prospect with the potential to become a superstar, whether by breaking league records or earning prestigious awards. Furthermore, the game featured the Winter Classic, giving fans the chance to experience the excitement of outdoor hockey in a video game for the first time.

  • NHL 2004
    Sep 22 2003
    466 votes
    • Platform: GameCube, Xbox, Personal computer, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows

    NHL 2004 revolutionized the series with its new Dynasty Mode, allowing players to make management decisions such as handling finances and building a championship team. The game also made significant improvements to the player animations, resulting in a more lifelike experience on the ice. The visuals of NHL 2004 were a notable step up from previous iterations, and the game excelled in creating a realistic atmosphere with authentic arenas, team logos, and player jerseys. NHL 2004's depth of gameplay, combined with its outstanding presentation, provided one of the most satisfying and realistic hockey gaming experiences of its era.

  • NHL 13
    Sep 11 2012
    369 votes
    • Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

    Undoubtedly a turning point in the series, NHL 13 introduced the groundbreaking True Performance Skating system, which allowed for more responsive and fluid skater control. With over 1,000 new animations, this game offered an unmatched level of realism in movement, momentum, and explosiveness. In addition to these advancements, NHL 13 presented GM Connected mode, allowing players to create an online dynasty with friends by taking control of entire organizations. Lastly, the game broke barriers with the inclusion of female athletes for the first time, boasting the ability to play as renowned Olympians Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero.

  • NHL 10
    Sep 15 2009
    324 votes
    • Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

    With NHL 10, Electronic Arts took the series to new heights by incorporating several fan-requested features into the gameplay. Most notably, the introduction of Battle for the Cup, a new playoff mode that gave players the opportunity to rewrite history by winning multiple championships with their favorite teams. The game also implemented the Intimidation Tactics feature, which enabled players to taunt opponents and energize their own teammates during games. These additions, coupled with improved graphics and physics, ensured an engaging, authentic hockey experience that resonated with fans of the sport.