Connor Bedard NHL 25 Cover
(Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

Who will be on the cover of NHL 25?

EA Sports releases a new edition of their popular NHL videogame series every fall, and there’s no shortage of deserving candidates for the NHL 25 cover.

We’ve made our NHL 25 cover predictions, ranging from a German sensation to a rookie star considered to be the future of the NHL.

Here are the top five leading NHL 25 cover athlete candidates:

5. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

Kicking off our list of candidates for the EA Sports NHL 25 cover is Boston Bruins star David Pastrnak. He is one of the most marketable players in the sport while being one of the most skilled players on the ice. Pastrnak is coming off another incredible season in which he surpassed the 100-point mark for the second straight year.

Pastrnak is always having fun on the ice, making him an NHL 25 cover athlete that most hockey fans could get behind. Pasta delivered a crushing blow to the Maple Leafs’ playoff hopes by scoring the Game 7 winner against them. He then won gold at the IIHF Championships with his country, the Czech Republic. Pastrnak’s celebration in Prague showcased his great personality even further.

4. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

Could Leon Draisaitl end up being the first German-born player to appear on the cover of EA Sports NHL? We’ve been advocating for a Draisaitl NHL cover over the years. However, the star has been snubbed despite his lethal goal-scoring ability. EA could acknowledge Draisaitl’s skills by putting him on the NHL 25 cover.

Edmonton Oilers Leon Draisaitl is a leading NHL 25 cover athlete candidate

We really like the idea of a Draisaitl NHL 25 cover if the Oilers win the Stanley Cup. It would end Canada’s 30-year Cup drought. However, the Oilers are down to the Panthers in the Final at the time of publishing. So we aren’t placing Draisaitl as a leading NHL 25 cover option.

Connor McDavid is the obvious choice for an Oilers NHL 25 cover athlete. However, EA put him on the cover of NHL 17. There have been a few two-time EA cover athletes, but we think the videogame company will go with someone fresh in 2025. Still, regardless of whether or not the Oilers win the Cup, Draisaitl remains a strong candidate. Over the last five years, no player besides Auston Matthews has scored more goals than the German stallion.

3. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers

When was the last time a goalie was on the cover of EA Sports NHL? You have to go back over a decade to Martin Brodeur on NHL 14. Sergei Bobrovsky could end the EA goalie cover drought if the Florida Panthers continue their Cup run. Bobrovsky has been a wall in the playoffs, leading the Panthers to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals.

Bobrovsky’s story is truly compelling. He has been tasked with shutting down one of the most explosive offenses featuring Connor McDavid. Bobrovsky is a top Conn Smythe contender and will play a huge role in a potential Cup victory. It will be hard for EA to ignore him if he leads the Cats to glory this postseason.

Bobrovsky isn’t ranked higher on this list because Jonathan Toews is the sole player to have appeared on the cover the year following a Stanley Cup win in the past decade. Playoff success isn’t too important of a factor for EA in this day and age. This is especially true considering Auston Matthews got two covers when the Leafs were being mocked for first-round exits.

2. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers

As a superstar player on a popular Original Six franchise, Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers possesses great NHL 25 cover athlete potential. The superstar winger is coming off one of his best career seasons (49G, 71A). Plus, he has a fun personality for EA Sports to market.

Artemi Panarin NHL 25 cover

The Rangers are one of the NHL’s most popular teams, and they just won the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best regular-season team. It’s somewhat surprising that the team hasn’t gotten a player on the cover of EA NHL since Alexei Kovalev on NHL 95.

Back in 2021, there were rumors of Panarin being on the cover of NHL 22. However, EA chose Auston Matthews instead. We could see Panarin get his due this year, as he’s consistently been one of the best superstars in the league. However, his goalie, Igor Shesterkin, is also a candidate (more on that in honorable mentions).

1. Connor Bedard, Chicago Blackhawks

Our leading candidate for the NHL 25 cover is Chicago Blackhawks rookie sensation Connor Bedard. The presumptive Calder winner burst onto the scene in 2023-24, defying expectations with a stellar point-per-game season. He scored several goals that were literally straight out of a video game, including a Michigan tally against the St. Louis Blues.

Connor Bedard is a leading candidate for the NHL 25 cover
(Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

EA Sports has recently been going younger with their cover athletes, including 21-year-old Trevor Zegras on NHL 23. Just this past season, they went with 25-year-old Cale Makar on the NHL 24 cover. Bedard is also playing on the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the most recognized franchises in the NHL. A Bedard NHL 25 cover would certainly help broaden the game’s appeal.

EA Sports featured Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews individually on the cover during their prime, plus one time together. So it’s clear the videogame makers have a fancy for the team from the Windy City. Of course, it’s possible Bedard will decline EA like Sidney Crosby is believed to have done. But until we know for a fact Bedard doesn’t want the cover, the young phenom is our leading NHL 25 cover athlete. “Bedsy” represents the future of hockey and is a perfect fit for a product marketed towards the younger Gen Z generation.

Honorable Mentions

Quinn Hughes: Unlikely due to a defenseman being on the current cover, but still possible after his incredible season. He’s the likely Norris winner and possesses video-game-like talent. The EA studios are also based out of Burnaby, BC, so bringing him in wouldn’t be hard.

Nikita Kucherov: He’s expected to win the Hart Trophy after a career-high season, but the Bolts are in decline. It might be strange to place a Tampa Bay player on the cover the year after the Panthers win the Cup.

Igor Shesterkin: He put the Rangers on the back in the playoffs and is about to become the highest-paid goalie in the NHL. But how can EA not go with Bobrovsky if they decide to go the goalie route? Bob got the better of Igor in the playoffs after all, although the relevance of the Rangers can’t be underestimated.