EA is all in with a three-year plan for NHL games and it all starts with the NHL 18 release date on September 15th. This what you need to know about the new NHL game for 2017 and what new features it brings.

Connor McDavid is the NHL 18 cover star and if you buy a special edition you can play three days early, without the need for EA Access. There’s also an NHL 18 beta that will let you test out the game ahead of the release to see if this is the year that NHL games click with you.

While Madden 18 is moving to Frostbite, that is not happening for NHL 18. Instead, you will need to wait for NHL 19 or later to make that jump and see a story mode with off-the-ice interactions in NHL games from EA.

We know more about the NHL 18 release date, how you can play early, beta details and other key information about the game.

  • NHL 18 Release Date
  • NHL 18 Gameplay
  • NHL 18 Demo or Beta
  • NHL 18 Graphics
  • NHL 18 Features

Let’s take an early look at the NHL 18 release date, potential features, and when you can expect to see NHL 18 screenshots and gameplay.

NHL 18 Release Date

The early NHL 18 release date is September 12th, and the standard version of the game arrives three days later on September 15th.

Following the lead of Madden 18, there are two editions of NHL 18 and with one of them, you can play three days early. The NHL 18 Young Stars edition is $79.99 and includes $60 worth of Golf Plus Hockey Ultimate Team packs, a Connor McDavid HUT Player item, adidas Custom HUT Jersey and EASHL celebration as welll as a Rookie HUT player from your favorite team. That and you get to play three days early. That costs $20 more than the standard version of the game.

This is roughly two weeks after the Madden 18 release date and two weeks before the FIFA 18 release date.

NHL 18 Gameplay & Screenshots

We get a look at in-game footage for NHL 18, but there is little actual gameplay like you and I will experience as we play it. The video above is that latest from EA, but we should see more soon as EA starts to bring attention to the NHL 18 beta.

NHL 18 Demo & Beta

Expect options to play NHL 18 early, a NHL 18 beta and likely a NHL 18 demo.
Expect options to play NHL 18 early, an NHL 18 beta and likely an NHL 18 demo.

While EA Sports no longer delivers a Madden demo, the company routinely delivers a demo and we’ve also seen many NHL betas. We saw the NHL 18 beta earlier this summer. .

The NHL 18 beta ran from July 26th through August 2nd with Online Versus, EA SPORTS NHL THREES and EA SPORTS Hockey League game modes in the beta. There is also a chance that you will see an NHL 18 demo arrive about two or three weeks before the NHL 18 release date.

EA Access subscribers will be able to play NHL 18 five days early, likely for 10 hours of total gameplay at no added charge. Unlike a beta or demo, this access carries over to the final game. Count on this NHL 18 trial release date on September 7th in the afternoon.

NHL 18 Graphics

Expect some NHL 18 graphics upgrades even without Frostbite.
Expect some NHL 18 graphics upgrades even without Frostbite.

There is no evidence that NHL 18 will switch to Frostbite this year. This is the graphical engine that powers FIFA 18 and Battlefield 1. EA is switching Madden 18 to Frostbite this year, and we saw a major revamp of NHL two years ago. While there is an NHL Frostbite conversion planned, the teams are learning from Madden 18 and FIFA 18 before implementing.

Even without a full switch to Frostbite for NHL 18, you can expect graphical improvements and potentially better-looking gameplay on the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X.

NHL 18 Features

Here is what we know about the new NHL 18 features that you can use in the beta and in September when the game arrives on consoles. There are important changes that will impact gameplay, but we are still waiting to see them in action in real gameplay.

  • Defensive Skill Stick – More control over poke checks, keep your stick out to mess up an attack or sweep it back and forth for cover.
  • Creative Attack Dekes – one handed moves, between-the-legs dekes, back-handed toe drags, heel drags, puck flips and more.
  • Smarter AI – Your teammates will use these new dekes and stick controls to better support your and will make smarter overall plays.
  • 3 on 3 EASHL – You can play full 3 vs 3 matches in EASHL to show off your skills even more.

There is a new NHL 18 Hockey Training Camp that will walk you through the moves, including how and when to use them, complete with real life pros on video. There are also upgrades for the Franchise Mode with Expansion draft that delivers the following features.

  • Run a unique expansion draft, build a unique roster, and manage your team, the business and the games.
  • Select your team’s hometown from cities across North America and Europe, and use the Creation Zone to choose an area, design a uniform and logo, and –  for the first time ever – design your own custom team mascot.
  • If you prefer, you can use Expansion Draft to experience the brand-new Vegas Golden Knights, who come with their own roster, arena, uniform and logo.

NHL 18 adds draft expansion to Franchise mode and you can take control of the 31st NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights. You can play as them before the real team even takes the ice. You can also draft your own 32nd, NHL team. If you make your own team, you can set up the logo, jersey, mascot and arena.

11 Comments

  1. Brandi

    04/26/2017 at 7:14 am

    I like these ideas. Maybe EA should add on-ice warmups, actual team practices, press conferences, be a ref mode, and maybe the winter classic and outdoor games, but they should add that to Franchise Mode and Be a Pro. It would be pretty cool if EA gave the players the full experience of being an NHL player. I think they should bring back practices, the outdoor game, and in Be a Pro mode, they should bring back interviews and team events.

    Reply

  2. Sam

    05/02/2017 at 1:18 am

    I really want EA to put in some more variation in the Be a GM mode.
    I really would like to choose which league I want to play in, SHL, KHL, Extraliga whatever you know! Make it global and not just about the NHL! Make it more like FIFA.

    Reply

  3. NHL 18 Features

    05/02/2017 at 9:24 am

    Nice Article.

    Reply

  4. Daniel Nava

    05/03/2017 at 8:17 am

    Sounds like a great game from what I hear. Excited to see Las Vegas golden knights as I’m from LV,NVbut still my #1 team dallas stars :)

    Reply

  5. Craig Friestad

    05/06/2017 at 5:41 pm

    I wish there was alot more detail in scouting players you want to draft and better chances on finding a 7th round gem. More detail in making profits for the team and team expensive. It like full control of the budget and expenses make it super detailed. There should be more gm goals to achieve too. Make the game harder. Gm mode is my favorite and very popular adding more to manage like a life like manager would be ideal. Glad you can finally make your own team without having to replace an original team now.

    Reply

  6. SmokeAntelope

    05/17/2017 at 1:05 pm

    1. Bring back the singing of the national anthems.
    2. As a GM in franchise mode, have the ability to fire and hire coaching staffs.
    3. Random refs, each with different tolerances. Doesn’t have to be real actual NHL refs, made up names would be fine.
    4. Being able to drop into a friends EASHL game midway thru. In other words, if my buddies are playing and I log on late, drop me into the bench, when there’s stoppage of play, then I can come on.
    5. During a playoff game, if the home tie is getting crushed, please don’t have the fans waving their playoff towels. Make the arena half empty, do a cut scene where fans are leaving the building.
    6. If you win the conference finals, have the option to hold the trophy, it’s been the same cut scene for 10 years already!
    7. Speaking of cut scenes, NEW CUT SCENES! They keep rolling over the same cut scenes.
    8. Option to choose different commentators. Heck, FIFA allows you to choose 6 different commentary languages!
    9. The ability to change strategies using hybrid controls! Some of us are old school! Don’t take that away from us!
    10. I can go on and on, but lastly, who is taking these “surveys”? I’m 41 years old and I’ve been playing the NHL series since day 1. Been vocal about every game and never have I’ve seen a survey.

    Reply

    • Will Heitner

      05/21/2017 at 7:39 pm

      wow that stinks i’m 12 and nhl 16 (with my boy Captain serious on the cover) was the first nhl i ever played and i have actually taken a survey for the nhl 17 game and what to do with the world cup of hockey.

      Reply

    • Francis Daniels

      05/23/2017 at 12:49 am

      I got one of these surveys. I assume that they pick randomly from a pile of EA Access consumers and subscribers to their newsletter.

      Reply

    • Christian

      06/11/2017 at 7:29 am

      I’ve been playing since NHL 01 and tbh I’ve seen games from that time (I.E. NHL 04 and 05 had arena customization) that made the game feel more like you were in the skates of the team, but most of that is gone now and when they bring them back they act like it’s a big thing that has never happened. In NHL 18 can we have the props do something? all they do is blow smoke from the rafters, I used to love being a kid playing NHL 05 and when you play as Nashville or Dallas they would go through there prop, pls bring that back. Also Connected GM Mode would be cool and I want to be interviewed in Be a Pro or GM and I can select different options (Like NBA 2k games)

      Reply

  7. Will Heitner

    05/21/2017 at 7:36 pm

    This is dope it is expected to release on my birthday also the day i loose ea access so clutch.

    Reply

  8. Panda

    06/14/2017 at 6:06 pm

    You talk about being realistic? you want players to feel like they are real players and playing in a real NHL game? create an intro where players can (choose to) walk from the dressing room to skate on the ice! The crowds have been horrific in the past few years. When you win a fight, they don’t cheer, when you lay a big hit, they don’t react, when you lay a small bump, the crowd goes nuts. They did a great job on some of the improvements, but there are so many small details that are easily changed that can make the game subpar.

    I think they should create mini games, like an All-Star challenge, shootout marathon, or even small arena 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. Not everyone plays the full game, but they can get into it too with these mini games.

    Reply

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