Blake’s Takes: Auston Matthews Named NHL 22 Cover Athlete

It’s been a slower few weeks around the NHL and hockey community. It gives me some time to catch up on a few of the major stories that dominated headlines over the last week or two. This week, I’ll address a few notable extensions, EA Sports’ NHL 22 cover star, and unfortunate death in the hockey community.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

1. Matthews to Grace NHL 22 Game Cover


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Auston Matthews was named the cover athlete for EA Sports’ NHL 22 making him the third player in the game’s history to grace the cover twice, joining Alexander Ovechkin (NHL 07 and  NHL 21) and Jonathan Toews (NHL 11 and NHL 16) in this exclusive club. Matthews’ was previously on the cover of NHL 20. NHL 22 will be available on October 15 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, XBOX One, and XBOX Series X. 

I’ve long expressed that Matthews is the NHL’s most marketable young player. He’s young, flamboyant, confident, and plays in hockey’s most insatiable market. Oh yeah, he’s also really fucking good. Matthews is coming off a season where he achieved a great deal of individual success, winning his first, of what I assume will be many, Rocket Richard trophies. He scored 41 goals, good for a career-high 0.79 GPG. The day Matthews brings the Leafs a Stanley Cup, he will be immortalized forever.

I might get NHL 22 this year and even invest in a PlayStation 5, too. 

2. R.I.P. Jimmy Hayes


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Jimmy Hayes passed away on August 23, 2021 due to undisclosed reasons. Hayes played seven years in the NHL for the Blackhawks, Panthers, Bruins, and Devils. Hayes last suited up for the Devils during the 2017-18 season. Kevin Hayes is Jimmy’s younger brother and the brothers are cousins with the Tkachuk family. Hayes passed away only one month after the birth of his son.

Hayes wasn’t the most notable NHL player, however, he did play a big role in Boston College’s run to a National Championship during the 2010 season. In 117 games with BC, Hayes scored 42 goals and added another 39 assists.

Hayes played 334 NHL games, scoring 54 goals, and tallying 55 assists.

Hayes will be survived through his brother Kevin and other family members. May he rest in peace.

3. Sean Couturier Gets Paid

The Flyers and Sean Couturier agreed to an eight-year extension with a $7.75 million AAV. Couturier has one year remaining on a six-year deal with a $4.33 million AAV. Couturier is 28-years-old and will be 37-years-old when the deal expires.

Couturier has always been a defensive stalwart, winning the 2019-20 Selke Trophy. However, he has dramatically improved his offensive game over the last four seasons. He averaged between 0.46 PPG over his first six NHL seasons. He has averaged 0.91 PPG over his last four campaigns. It’s clear he’s come into his own.

This is a great deal for Philadelphia. They’re a team that’s built to win now with Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, and Ivan Provorov entrenched in the lineup. While they’re coming off a disappointing season, locking up Couturier for another eight seasons will give them the pieces they need to continue building around to try and win another championship. Couturier has been a key contributor in Philadelphia over the last 10 seasons and he’ll need to continue to produce the way he has over the last four years if the Flyers want to compete for a Stanley Cup going forward.

4. Zach Parise Lands on Long Island


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Zach Parise has agreed to join the New York Islanders for the upcoming season. The details of the contract have not been disclosed. The Minnesota Wild bought out the final four years on his contract.

Parise will provide the Islanders with a much-needed offensive boost. The Islanders have quickly become one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but always seem to lack the offensive firepower to compete with the juggernauts in the East. The Isles have lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in back-to-back Conference Finals. Tampa went on to win the Stanley Cup in each season. Tampa is of course stacked offensively. The Islanders take more of a defensive approach.

Last season was a dud for Parise, scoring only 19 points. However, he did score 25 or more goals in the two seasons prior. If he can score 20 plus goals on Long Island, I’m sure he will provide the Islander with what they need to make another deep playoff run.

5. Svechnikov, Canes Ink 8-Year Extension


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Andrei Svechnikov has become a very rich 21-year-old. He agreed to an eight-year extension with the Carolina Hurricanes with a $7.75 million AAV. Svechnikov has quickly become one of the league’s brightest stars. In three seasons, he’s scored more than 20 goals in a season twice and has notched a 60-point season. He’s helped push the Hurricanes into immediate relevancy, the team has made the playoffs each year of his career.

It’s an easy take, but I love this deal for both sides. If Svechnikov reaches his potential, $7.75 million per season will be a steal. For Svechnikov, he’ll make that much money for the next eight seasons with another chance to cash in again at 29-year-old. This deal was a no-brainer. ■

Blake Isaacs is a die-hard Red Wings fan that doesn’t go to as many games as he should. He is also a big fan of 7-Eleven Slurpeees, Chipotle, and all things Michigan State. Follow him on Twitter @bisaacs1995.

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