With good reason, whenever anyone refers to, "the most important position in hockey," they're referring to the goalie.
However, if one had to choose a (very close) "second most important position in hockey," the center position would be a hard one to argue against.
The center-man is the nucleus of hockey's five-man unit. He takes face-offs, has defensive responsibilities in his own zone, offensive duties at the other end that can very well tip the scales of a game, and even a playoff series.
What follows is a ranking of the best centers heading into the playoffs. Each team is represented, however, this isn't simply a list of each team's highest scoring center. The selections and rankings are based on a few different factors.
First, each center's season to date was taken into account.
Second, I looked at what each player meant to their individual team and their success this year.
Third, the talent of each player was thrown into the mix, as creativity and skill is something particularly important to a center.
Finally, and this may actually trump all of the proceeding, I took into account each guy's "last minute factor". That is, at the last minute of a playoff game, how important is it to have this player on the ice?
There may be a better way to select and rank players, and thus, you may not particularly agree with the selections. If not, great! Go ahead and post your own picks and make your case!