Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ranking the Top 10 Players in Each Position- Centers

Welcome to the second to last part of these rankings. Today I'll be looking at perhaps the deepest position in hockey; the centers.

Honorable Mentions:
Eric Staal- Staal just missed the Top 10, losing out to Anze Kopitar and Henrik Zetterberg. All three are good players and leaders, but Zetterberg and Kopitar are a bit better, I feel.
Nicklas Backstrom- He is sensational when he is with Alex Ovechkin, but that dependence on one player is not enough for a Top 10 center.
Claude Giroux- He had a good year a few years back, but had a bit of a slump last year. He is still one of the best young centers in the league.

10. Anze Kopitar- Kopitar may be one of the most underrated centers in the league. He is one of few offensive weapons of a very defense-dependent LA Kings team, and is a good leader too, despite not being a captain.
9. Henrik Zetterberg- Zetterberg was given a tough job; replace Nick Lidstrom as the captain of one of the best franchises in history. He performed admirably, and although his center skills are overshadowed by teammate Pavel Datsyuk, he is a good two-way forward as well.
8. Joe Thornton- He is no longer the well known man he was, but he has quietly continued being one of the best centers in the league. When he was given the captaincy a couple of years back, he took the responsibility and has done very well.
7. Henrik Sedin- His brother Daniel was ranked second among left wings, but I doubt he'd be anywhere without Henrik. Henrik is to Daniel what Nick Backstrom is to Alex Ovechkin, except Henrik is more important to their mutual success. He'd be higher if center was not so deep.
6. Pavel Datsyuk- When I started these rankings, I talked about how it annoys me when people say Datsyuk is better than OV. That being said, he is still one of the premiere centers in the league, and he is an absolute magician with the puck, not to mention one of the best two-way players in the league.
5. John Tavares- Tavares had a breakout year last year, and with captain Mark Streit gone, he will probably assume more leadership. This kid has so much talent he could be poised for a few scoring titles and awards before he retires.
4. Jonathan Toews- Toews is one of my favorite players in the league. He does it all, pass, score, play D, etc. He is also a great leader. Long story short, he is the sort of player anybody would want on his team.
3. Evgeni Malkin- He is overshadowed by Sidney Crosby, but not really. Perhaps the second best Russian in the league today (behind a certain Moscow native), Malkin has a penchant for scoring goals in every way possible. He is like a dangerous combination of Datsyuk and Tavares.
2. Steven Stamkos- Stammer has been playing his heart out for a miserable Tampa Bay team. He won the 'Rocket' Richard last year, and was second in goals this year. Alas, it hasn't been enough, as the Lightning have missed out on the playoffs both years, but there is no denying this kid's talent.
1. Sidney Crosby- I'm not gonna say anything.

So what do you think? Put your thoughts/rankings in the comments, and come back tomorrow for the final rankings: the Right Wings.

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