Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews returns as cover athlete for EA's NHL franchise

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TORONTO, ON - MAY 22: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs stretches during warm up before playing the Montreal Canadiens in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Arena on May 22, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 22: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs stretches during warm up before playing the Montreal Canadiens in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Arena on May 22, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Auston Matthews is back... on the game.

For the second time in three editions, the Toronto Maple Leafs star sniper will grace the cover of EA Sports' NHL video game, this time aptly named NHL 22.

Here's a closer look at the new edition:

There is, of course, some outrage with Matthews receiving his second cover in only three years. Many are pointing to a common criticism of the game, which is the fact that there are only small changes from edition to edition. 

Others are poking fun in more creative ways.

The franchise went with Alexander Ovechkin (also for the second time) in between Matthews's covers.

Aside from the repetitiveness, Matthews is a slam-dunk choice in every respect. He's the reigning Rocket Richard winner, arguably the face of USA Hockey, the best player on arguably the league's most important franchise, and a member of Justin Bieber's friends circle, to boot.

NHL 22 is available for purchase on Oct. 15.

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