Before I get into who I believe the top five centers in the NHL are, please keep in mind that this is my OPINION. Every one of us has an opinion, even though mine is always right and yours is always wrong, kidding. Even though this disclaimer appears before the article I look forward to those of you that will choose to ignore it and belittle me in the comment section because I purposefully hate you, your team, and your favorite player. Without further ado, my top five Centers in the NHL starting at number:
5. Tyler Seguin Dallas Stars
Career Stats: GP: 369 G: 139 A: 166 +/-: +73
Awards: 2011 Stanley Cup champion, two-time NHL All-Star
Tyler Seguin has been lights out this season and it’s part of the reason he comes in at number five on my list. Seguin and fellow line-mate Jamie Benn have been tearing it up the past couple of seasons. Now, Patrick Sharp joins the dynamic duo, so expect the points to keep piling up. Seguin’s quick release and his powerful one timer make him a threat anywhere on the ice, especially from the left circle on the power play. Aside from a 2011 Stanley Cup ring, Tyler Seguin does not have any more hardware in the NHL. He was however a big part in Jamie Benn’s Art Ross Trophy win last season. Most recently, Seguin became the first player in the 2010 draft class to 300 points after notching his seventh career hat trick against his former team.
4. Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Awards: 2012, 2014 Stanley Cup champion, three-time NHL All-Star
Anze Kopitar is an incredibly valuable two-way center for the Los Angeles Kings. It’s no wonder why Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is pulling out all the stops to get him signed before he hits unrestricted free agency, much like Yzerman and Stamkos down in Tampa Bay. Kopitar was an integral part in both of the Kings’ Stanley Cups. Kopitar is a physical presence on the ice and boasts an excellent shot as well as the ability to make tape to tape passes anywhere on the ice. In addition to Kopitar’s skill set, he is an excellent pivot and the fact that he always seems to be in the running for the Frank J. Selke Trophy proves that. His work ethic and calming presence in the locker room makes him vital to the Kings. If Dean Lombardi knows what’s best for him he’ll break out the check book and give him whatever he wants, or else Kopitar will be suiting up for a new team come next season.
3. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Awards: 2010, 2012 winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, three-time NHL All-Star
Steven Stamkos is a stud. That is an indisputable fact. Even though Stamkos doesn’t have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup like a few of the guys on this list, but he’s more than a point per game player, all be it just barely. That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment for any player in this league. Steven Stamkos boasts one of the most fiercest shots in the game. Whether he’s ripping a ferocious wrister past an unsuspecting goalie, or unleashing an absolute clapper from the point, Stamkos brings it. Stamkos also has quite the physical side to his game. This became evident to me during last years Eastern Conference Final when Stamkos absolutely crushed the much bigger Kevin Hayes, which I enjoyed very much since Hayes spurned the Blackhawks. It won’t be long until Stamkos hoists the cup,, well it may be a little longer than anticipated if he heads to Toronto this offseason.
2. Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
Awards: 2 Gold medals, 2007, 2014 Art Ross Trophy winner, 2007, 2013, 2014 Ted Lindsay Award winner, 2007, 2014 Hart Memorial Trophy winner, 2010 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, 2009 Stanley Cup champion, five-time NHL All-Star.
If Sidney Crosby isn’t the number one center on your list, then he’s definitely number two. Crosby is an unbelievably skilled play maker that has the ability to make you look just plain dumb if you’re trying to defend him. If you’re lucky enough to play along side him rather than against him he’ll make you into a star, look alive Chris Kunitz. Crosby is a world-class talent and future hall of famer, however his name is only engraved on Lord Stanley once. That’s a big reason why, at least for me, he comes in at number two on MY list.
Career Stats: GP: 580 G: 228 A: 287 +/-: +172
Awards: 2 Gold medals, 2010 Con Smythe winner, 2013 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner, 2010, 2013, 2015 Stanley Cup champion, four-time NHL All-Star.
The magnitude of awards speak for themselves. Although Toews doesn’t light up the scoreboard like some of the other guys on this list, his leadership and poise make him one of the best leaders not only in hockey, but in all of sports. When Sidney Crosby calls you to ask if it’s okay if he captains the Canadian Olympic team instead of you, you know you’ve made it. To go along with his offensive skill Toews boasts an incredible knack for playing defense as well. This is evident by his 2013 Selke Trophy win, as well as being named a finalist for the award multiple other times. Countless analysts have made it clear that if they had to build a team around one player it would be none other than Captain Serious.
Well there you have it. Feel free to curse me since I purposefully left out your favorite player to spite you. Who are your top five centers in the NHL right now? Feel free to comment and let us know. Thanks for reading.