With the growing popularity of esports, NHL teams are creating their own gaming squads and giving players opportunities to enter tournaments for prizes. EA Sports has been reluctant to include these new leagues in its games because inviting one team from a single league would dilute the game’s competitive balance. With Trevor Zegras’ rise up the ranks, we might see them change their minds about how much they want an individual player or league present in FIFA 18
The “anaheim ducks roster” is a team that has been in the NHL for over 50 years. They have won two Stanley Cups, and they are currently in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. Their current roster consists of four centers, but one of them might force EA Sports’ hand.
Trevor Zegras should be gratified if imitation is the purest form of flattery.
Since sending a pass over the Buffalo Sabres’ net to teammate Sonny Milano for a goal on Dec. 7 — a move dubbed “The Zegras” at the time — the Anaheim Ducks rookie has been swamped with comments, links, and films of other players at all levels of hockey trying the feat.
“Obviously, a handful of students that were attempting it tagged me,” the 20-year-old told ESPN. “I honestly believe that watching everyone having so much fun with it was the nicest thing that came out of that aim.”
They’re also giving The Zegras a go at virtual hockey. In EA Sports’ NHL series, players have a long history of attempting to reproduce legendary goals in the game, even if there isn’t a typical button combination to perform the move, such as Alex Ovechkin’s sliding goal and “The Michigan” lacrosse-style goal.
Players in NHL 22 are now trying to pass over the net to teammates and uploading janky, rough, squint-hard-enough-and-you’ll-see-it renditions of Zegras’ performance.
EA Sports’ NHL series producer, Sean Ramjagsingh, said they haven’t officially included The Zegras in the game yet, but that talks are already beginning to include the move in the next edition of the series.
“As soon as a move like that makes the rounds on the internet, people rush to our game to attempt to duplicate it. Try to get the first video out there as soon as possible. It’s awe-inspiring to witness “he said “There are folks out there who have found out how to pull off The Zegras using some of the game’s elements. It’s simply incredibly challenging.”
It’s a technique that has sparked viral videos on TikTok and YouTube, such as “How to Zegras Goal in NHL 22”:
“To make that happen, they’re deceiving the game. When you get possession of the puck, you may flip it up and execute a small hop over. So you may lift it over the net by flipping it up from behind the net “Ramjagsingh said.
Due of the programming, he added, players in front of the goal would instinctively attempt to knock the puck out of the air in one-player mode. You’re the Zegras, aren’t you? They’re known as the Milano.
“And in online play, where every single person can be controlled,” Ramjagsingh said, “it’s simple to set up behind the net, attempt to perform that move, have your partner run up and try to coordinate.”
Is it challenging? That is precisely the objective.
“In terms of philosophy, we strive to offer players as many tools as possible instead than simply telling them to “click this button to pull off this maneuver.” People pull off these innovative plays that we didn’t anticipate for when we put these mechanisms in place because of that philosophical approach “he said
Whether The Zegras will be included in the game hinges on whether EA Sports thinks it’s a realistic move to include in a video game — or simply a hockey aberration.
Keso Paghuni is an enthusiastic fan of the series and a tester for EA Sports’ “Game Changer” program.
He was one of the testers for the game’s most recent trick shot, the Michigan lacrosse-style goal, which involves a player lifting the ball with his stick, keeping it under the crossbar, and tucking it under the goaltender. It was named after Mike Legg, a player for the University of Michigan who scored a lacrosse-style goal in the 1996 NCAA tournament. (It’s a goal with a lot of names.) It’s “The Zorro” in Sweden.)
“It’s fantastic. Since that’s something I’ve always wanted to do in the game but couldn’t because there wasn’t a means to accomplish it, “Paghuni said.
Andy Agostini, an EA Sports developer, recalls the controversies that accompanied the inclusion of The Michigan in the game.
“I was like, ‘OK, but what’s the gameplay like?’ when we first stated we were going to put it in. Is it going to be simple? ‘How difficult will it be?’ “he said “The team worked hard to ensure that it would not be a ‘always goal.’ It shouldn’t be that way. An NHL player with his arms outstretched behind the net? He’s in a dangerous situation.”
The Michigan was eventually included, but only for expert players like Paghuni.
“Only a few people, I believe, can pull it off online. It’s something you don’t see very often “he said “It should be just as much effort if they put that Zegras pass in there.”
If The Zegras are included in the game, it will be because it met the same criteria as The Michigan in assessing if it was a “hockey play” worthy of inclusion.
The first criterion was consistency. Was it a play that NHL players tried during games?
It wasn’t for a long time. That was until October of this year, when Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov defeated Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich to become the first NHL player to score on The Michigan during a game. In a December game against the Winnipeg Jets, he did it again.
In January 2020, Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators scored one against the Edmonton Oilers. Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals are among the other NHL players who have tried it.
EA Sports had had enough of it.
“If we had placed it in our game five years ago, our gamers would probably have claimed it was ‘arcadey’ and not realistic,” Ramjagsingh added. “But, because to these kids’ talent, they’re now putting all of these talents to the test in real-world settings. Because it’s a part of the sport, we’re less apprehensive today. It is seen by players as a legitimate means of scoring a goal. In the realm of hockey, it’s become a viable option.”
This season, Zegras has had a lot of exciting stunts to show off. Getty Images/Ethan Miller
Others are attempting to establish The Zegras as legitimate. Cross Hanas, a forward for Portland of the Western Hockey League and a Detroit Red Wings prospect, accomplished it a few weeks after Zegras. Matthew Knies of Team USA attempted one against China in the preliminary round of the Winter Olympics, but was unsuccessful.
The Zegras’ popularity, according to Ramjagsingh, will help decide if it is featured in the game.
“It’ll be interesting to watch how players respond as they continue to test it,” he added.
Then there’s the gaming community as a whole. If they keep attempting to figure out how to do the move on digital ice, Ramjagsingh believes it will help EA Sports.
“It’ll be fascinating to watch how many of our guys give it a go. It’s something we can look into if they’re attempting to pull it off “he said “It’s a mix of the real world and what’s going on in the game,” she says.
The Zegras, according to Paghuni, are deserving of inclusion in the NHL series.
“It should be in the game if it occurs on the ice,” Paghuni remarked.
“Only [Boston Bruins winger] Brad Marchand licking someone’s face is an exception. That should probably not be in the game.”
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