/NHL 15 and some shootout exploits

NHL 15 and some shootout exploits

NHL 15 was a disaster.

Between expected game modes that were either cut or heavily stripped down, a slow and clunky menu system, and a long list of gameplay issues and bugs, EA’s hockey franchise is still, in many ways, recovering from the damage of its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One debut.

Why NHL 15 fell so flat, and how it set the NHL series back years, is a story for another day (though Johnny Superbman/2BC Productions has several in-depth videos that go over all of the game’s issues here, here, and here). For now, I want to focus on a couple of exploits from the game – ones that I remember well and heavily relied on during the game’s life cycle (from its September 2014 launch to NHL 16’s release the next year).

In my retrospective of NHL 2001 for the PlayStation 2, I went over the floater shot: a glitch where shooting from the neutral zone and back on the game’s default settings resulted in an easy way to rack up goals.

In NHL 15, there were two go-to moves that turned shootouts into either easy wins or marathons in online games if your opponent knew about them, too.

Ahead of its launch, one of NHL 15’s advertised gameplay features was a revamped skill stick.

Starting with NHL 07 on the Xbox 360, the NHL franchise built itself on a foundation where the left analogue stick on the controller functioned as the player’s skates, and the right as the player’s hands, creating a control scheme that allowed for 1:1 stick handling. The R1 button (PS3)/right bumper (Xbox 360) served as a modifier to pull off more advanced dekes.

The gameplay system was improved and iterated on throughout the years, but NHL 15 was the first major restructuring of it.

Moves like toe drags were now tied to half-circle rotations on the right stick instead of using the right shoulder button modifier.


Also, stride dekes were introduced to the series, performed by shifting both sticks either left or right for the puck carrier to do the same with his hands and feet.


These additions, for the most part, made stick handling smoother. However, CPU-controlled players, especially the goalies, weren’t equipped to deal with the new dekes, and this was prevalent when games went to the shootout.

The shootout itself wasn’t included as its own game mode in NHL 15, despite having been one both online and offline since NHL 08. In addition, the ability to control your goalie when a game did reach a shootout was taken away, and CPU goalies were easy to beat.

Though they didn’t have 100-percent success rates, a stride deke to the backhand or a toe drag to the forehand were tough stops for CPU goalies, and stood to take online matches from a battle of wits to a test of who would crack first.


To the A.I.’s credit, goalies would catch on after about three consecutive tries at one move, but switching every other turn easily nullified that, and made any lineup you had a near-unstoppable force in the shootout.

Plus, going back and looking at the game’s E3 trailer, EA didn’t exactly hide how over-powerful backhanders were going to be.


Nick has been obsessed with hockey ever since he saw The Mighty Ducks for the first time when he was three. A graduate of Temple University, he currently works on the sports desk at The Philadelphia Inquirer while contributing to GNGHockey.