In a position so deep it almost seems unfair to only list five, the centers of the NHL carry the strongest part of your roster. If you are fortunate enough to find the arbitrary (C,RW) or (C, LW) combo platter, then you’d better have a good reason not to snag that fella. The bonus to having a center in a wing position is obviously to pile up the faceoff stats, and apply your centers to multiple places in your lineup.
We’ll leave it up to Yahoo and ESPN to determine who is lucky enough to get anointed with the multi-positional designation, but you spark plugs keep an eye out. With the top five spots getting a fancy numeral next to them, I’ll go ahead and give you another five choices in no particular order to watch.
Honorable Mention: Henrik Zetterberg-Detroit(Yahoo and ESPN almost always slap the LW,C on Hank for some reason), Jason Spezza, Henrik Sedin-Vancouver, Jonathan Toews-Chicago, Anze Kopitar-Los Angeles, Ryan Getzlaf-Anaheim, Joe Thornton-San Jose,
5. Claude Giroux/Philadelphia-The ginger haired Flyer will look to build off of his magical season last year. Flyers-Penguins on opening night will bring Giroux and his pal 87 back together. Don’t expect a bro-hug.
4. Steven Stamkos/Tampa Bay-The NHL’s leading goal scorer last season will hopefully get some support from the rest of his team this year. The one-man show for the Lightning hit 60 last season, and will likely be among the league leaders again.
3. Pavel Datsyuk/Detroit-My vote for the most complete player in the NHL goes to Datsyuk. His fantasy stock would be higher if he played less defense and didn’t put his team first. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
2. Evgeni Malkin/Pittsburgh-Last years’ winner of almost every award including Jack Adams Coach of the Year (kidding…well kind of). Malkin might be the the most offensively talented player in the world, but seems to take some nights off from time to time. When he’s on, he’s unstoppable. He literally carried the Penguins last season while their captain was resting his melon.
1. Sidney Crosby/Pittsburgh-Crosby will be back with a vengeance this season. Not the “slap fight with Giroux” type of vengeance, the kind where he shows everyone why he might be the most talented player on the planet. Crosby hasn’t played a complete season in three years and cannot be happy how last season ended. The season opening game in Philadelphia will be absolutely epic.