A skilled centre is crucial to any NHL team, and any fantasy hockey team. They are key point producers, key defensive players, and really need to compete well at every aspect of the game.
The league has many talented centre's and this article is here to provide you with a list of the 10 best fantasy hockey centre's in the NHL today.
This article is the third in a series of articles that will outline the 10 best fantasy hockey players at each position in the league today.
There's no denying Evgeni Malkin is a talented player, and could easily be in the top five of this list, but something in his game before he went down to injury was lacking, and it is concerning whether or not he can recover and regain the stellar play we are used to.
In limited action last season Malkin recorded 37 points, a -4 and 18 penalty minutes.
Considering that was in 43 games that is a little concerning. Malkin can be a point a game player, he can be a penalty minute a game player, and he does have the potential to be a plus player.
But the injury does have me a little concerned, and any fantasy hockey GM should be aware that he may or may not return to his all world form that he is known to play at.
Eric Staal is one of those players that can do a lot with not much to work with. In the past Staal hasn't had elite players to play with, but has managed to get the job done nonetheless.
This year he does have some talent to work with, but has lost his main winger to the Canadiens, so he may have trouble adjusting, but if he can he does have the potential to score 40 goals, and pick up a point a game.
Staal won't be dominant in the +/- department, but he does fill in nicely at other aspects of the game, and can provide solid numbers for any fantasy hockey general manager.
Jonathan Toews has really come into his own has a solid offensive player, and one of the better defensive forwards in the game today, he has all the tools to be a successful fantasy hockey player.
These attributes translate to solid numbers, 32 goals and 44 assists in 80 games played, and a very good plus 25.
Toews is one of the most serious players in the league, and that attitude means he gives 110% on the ice every shift. His numbers are constantly improving every year.
Next year we could easily see a point a game player, which would really bump him into the fantasy hockey elite.
Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews are very similar players, in regards to fantasy hockey.
Toews recorded 76 points last season, Kopitar recorded 73 in a few fewer games. The two had an identical plus/minus ratio, and their PIM's were only 6 apart, so really the two are interchangeable, but what puts Kopitar on top?
Simply put it's potential.
Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings are poised to have a very good season, and being the star player on a top team, should translate to elevated point totals.
Kopitar doesn't usually get the same mention as Toews or some other centre's but he is a very talented individual and one of the elite centre's in the game.
Datsyuk is quite possibly the most skilled player in the NHL, and could also be named the best all around player in the league as well.
Simply put, he is among the leagues best, and also one of the best fantasy players you could have.
During a shortened season, Datsyuk recorded 59 points in 56 games, and put up a plus 11 in the process.
The perennial Lady Byng winner is obviously not going to put up many PIM's but it isn't a huge concern as he does well enough in the other categories to make up for it.
Datsyuk is a point a game player, with the potential to put up 90 or more, which makes him a very solid pickup in your fantasy hockey pool.
Ryan Kesler is another one of those players that can really do it all. This years Selke trophy winner (best defensive forward) did just about everything for the Vancouver Canucks.
Kesler tied for the team lead in goals with 41, he finished third in team scoring with 73 points, was a top plus/minus player with a plus 24, and he also played the gritty physical game which is noted in his 66 PIM's.
Kesler is the complete fantasy hockey package, and is quickly becoming known as an elite level centre in the game, despite playing a majority of his time on the second line.
If Kesler is available it would be wise to scoop him up quickly.
Ryan Getzlaf is a premier player in this league. The first line centre for the Ducks has established himself not only as a top five centre in fantasy hockey, but a top five centre overall.
Getzlaf can play the offensive game, as was seen last year as he scored 76 points in 67 games. That put him on pace for 93 points if he played a full 82 games. He was a plus 14, and he also has a physical side to his game.
With Perry on his wing he can put up a lot of points, and next year should be no different. Depending on the number of players in your pool, Getzlaf is in all likelihood a first round player.
You know a class of player is good, when a 94 point player, one year removed from an Art Ross win, only sits third.
Henrik Sedin is one of the best centre's in the game. Playing alongside his brother has really done a world of good for him, and we are finally seeing the potential these two have.
Henrik only put up 19 goals last season, but he did record a league leading 75 assists. Couple that with a plus 26, and you have solid totals for your fantasy hockey pool.
The Vancouver Canucks have not gotten any worse in the offseason, so expect those totals to stay high next season.
Now, his point totals fell a little shy of Sedin's and his plus/minus was a fair bit worse, but there are a couple factors that put Stammer a head above Sedin in the rankings.
The first and likely biggest deciding factor is goal scoring ability. Finding a goal scorer in a hockey pool is decidedly harder then finding a set-up man. Stamkos got 45 goals last year, and broke the 50 mark the year before. In the last two seasons, Stamkos has scored more goals then any other player.
Secondly, Stamkos can play with an edge, that can put him in the box on a fairly frequent basis. Finding a guy that can put up penalty minutes, and not be a detriment to a team offensively, can be tricky as well.
The simple fact of the matter, is that Steven Stamkos is one of the best players in the game today, and is edging closer and closer every year to knocking our number one off the top of the charts.
Now the concussion is an obvious issue, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken their time easing Sidney back into play, and thing should be ready for next season.
Last season Crosby put up 32 goals and 34 assists in only a half a seasons work. That put him on pace for 64 goals and over 130 points. Whether he could have kept that pace up or not, we'll never know, but anyway you look at it, he is the best centre in the game today.
Crosby can do just about anything he is asked. He can score 50 goals, he can put up over 100 points, he will be a top plus/minus player, and he even takes some penalties.
Simply put Crosby is one of the, if not the best fantasy hockey player in the National Hockey League.
While the threat of re-occuring concussions is always there, if you have the chance to pick Crosby, you do it.