NHL 21 HUT gameplay features ‘Synergy Icons’ that can be unlocked and added to your roster. They help with improving player stats in particular areas and making them absolute monsters on ice.

NHL 21 Synergy Icons can be categorized into two broad categories – Silver and Gold Icons. Silver icons directly influence individual player stats while gold icons improve team synergy. We will focus on the Silver Icons which will help improve individual players in your team, allowing you to dominate opponents in NHL 21 HUT.

There are several Synergy Icon options in NHL 21. Certain Icons are more geared towards defensive statistics and help improve your team’s physicality and blocking ability. We have compiled a list of all the icons that we think are the best at improving a defender’s stats which will ensure that your team has a solid backline and help keep an enviable record in online HUT matches.

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Best NHL 21 Defensive Synergy Icons


As the name suggests this NHL 21 Synergy Icon is geared toward the enforcers who use their physicality to push smaller forwards off the puck. NHL 21 places a heavy value on defenders’ physical stats. A weak defender is very ineffective in shielding the puck and has to rely on the sub-par skills with the stick to dispossess attackers. This is a rather ineffective strategy and could lead to many you conceding a lot of goals in HUT Rush.

This NHL 21 Synergy Icon gives selected defenders +3 Body Checking, Strength, Defensive Awareness, Slap Shot Power. This is an all-around bump in your defensive stats and can be a great way to strengthen your defensive line even if you have cheaper or younger players with low stats.

Also, the Gladiator Synergy Icon costs 4 upgrade points. This means that your upgraded players will now be extremely competent in one vs one scenarios and can physically dominate opponents. This upgrade also works with the best defenders in your team. This will give you an unplayable defender who will be a rock for your team at the back.

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Unlike Offensive Synergy Icons, the defenders are not gifted with a wide range of skills that can be upgraded. They are either extremely strong or have great defensive awareness. What do you do if you have a strong defender with extremely good body checking but not that great at stealing the puck with the stick?

The solution to use the Thief Synergy Icon which upgrades a defender’s stick checking by +5 points. It also gives the selected defender a +5 stat boost in faceoff scenarios. This helps give one-dimensional strongmen a chance at being effective at making stick checks and contribute to other areas of the field too.

NHL 21 values players with multiple skillsets. It increases their transfer value and are also much smoother to handle in-game and play with generally. We have all encountered defenders who can shove people but cannot stick-check to save their lives! Well, the Thief Synergy Icon in NHL 21 provides the best solution for you to cheaply upgrade your back-line without having to spend a lot of money trying to buy expensive alternatives.

Shut Down

This is arguably the best defensive Synergy Icon in NHL 21. It upgrades a wide gamut of defensive stats and makes the chosen player a much better and well-rounded option for your HUT team.

We have all encountered players with huge potential who are a joy to play with. But, they lack the cutting edge to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the best and most expensive players in the game. The Shut Down enables you to make an above-average defender one of the world’s best by giving you a chance to instantly boost the most important defensive stats in the game.

It gives the chosen player a +3 increase in Shot Blocking, Slap Shot Accuracy, Body Checking, and Puck Control. What makes this icon special is that it not only upgrades prime defensive attributes like body checking but also focuses on what a defender needs to do after winning a duel, which is to play the puck to a teammate and start an attack.


An honorable mention in this category, this icon helps a player endure tougher battles for longer durations, which is an important quality for a defender in the modern-day game and NHL 21.

Marking wingers is no easy task. a regular complaint from gamers is that defenders gas out halfway through the game because they lack the agility and endurance that some attackers have. This slows them down further, leaving more open spaces at the back for your team.

One easy way to avoid this is by using the Workhorse Synergy Icon. This gives your player a +3 Acceleration, Balance, Durability, and Endurance. This allows them to absorb a lot more shots than before, last longer in body battles, and also be far better at fistfights when enforcing the code on an opponent. This is extremely valuable as your defender will be able to chase down quicker forwards even towards the end of the game and will not force you to make changes when under threat.