Center Rankings For 2017 Fantasy Hockey
When it comes to the center position in Fantasy hockey, it’s not only rich with talent, but also very deep. The position is loaded with both veteran players and youth that can lead your team. In a perfect world, I would love to anchor my team with one of the Top 8 centers and then wait another three or four rounds before selecting another. In most Fantasy leagues, you are only required to start two centers, so you can afford to load up on your wings early, positions that are nowhere near as deep and will dry up much more quickly.
Be sure to check out George Kurtz' other positional rankings and Top 200.
- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins: Was there ever any doubt? Sure, his concussion history could scare you off, but he’s the best player in the NHL and I want him.
- Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers: The only reason that McDavid is not in the running for the top spot is his lack of PP goals. He only has six in two seasons. We need that number to pick up.
- Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars: Seguin will once again play on one of the top lines in the game with Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. The Stars may not be the run and gun team they once were, though, with Ben Bishop now in net and Ken Hitchcock behind the bench for a full season.
- Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins: The only drawback for Malkin is his inability to stay healthy. He hasn’t played a full season since 2008-09 and has missed an average of almost 20 games per season over the past four. He’s a point per game player, however, when in the lineup.
- Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs: The hardest thing to find in today’s NHL are goal scorers, which is why it was incredibly impressive that Matthews potted 40 goals in his rookie season. Another 40-plus campaign should be on its way.
- Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: He suffered his second major injury in four seasons last year, which might’ve killed your Fantasy team. I can understand being once bitten twice shy here but he had only missed five games the prior two seasons. I’ll still buy in for one more season.
- John Tavares, New York Islanders: Will Jordan Eberle be the answer to what wings can play with Tavares? They have had success together in the past (extremely small sample size). There will be lots of eyeballs on Tavares this season, as far as if/when he will sign a new contract with the Islanders and where the team will end up calling home.
- Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals: The only drawback to Backstrom is that he is more of a passer than a shooter. He has averaged less than 20 goals a season over the past four campaigns but almost 60 assists over that same time period.
- Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres: Last season may have been the breakout one for Eichel if not for high ankle sprain he suffered late in training camp. I have to believe that 30-plus goals are coming this year.
- Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets: If you’re unable to nab one of the bigger name centers, Scheifele is not a bad consolation prize. He has all the tools to be one of those named players, as he could easily repeat last year’s numbers of 32 goals and 50 assists.
- Ryan Johansen, Nashville Predators: The talent is there with Johansen but he hasn’t put it all together yet, which is why he heads our next tier of centers.
- Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks: He’s very much like Backstrom, as he looks to pass first and shoot second. He took only 138 shots last season. You can’t score if you don’t shoot.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals: The talent is there but it’s just hard when that entire offense filters through Alexander Ovechkin.
- Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers: His goal totals have decreased for four straight seasons to a measly 14 last year. Throw in that the team traded Brayden Schenn, a top line mate for Giroux, and it’s hard to see him bouncing back to a C1.
- Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks: Toews has for the most part always been a better NHL player than Fantasy one. Yes, he’s one of biggest reasons why the Hawks are cup contenders every season but he’s only surpassed the 30-goal mark twice in his career and the last time was in the 2009-10 season.
- Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins: Bergeron only missed three games last season but seemed to be banged up in one way or another from the start. That may have been the reason that he only netted 21 goals, his lowest total in a full season since 2009-10.
- Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings: Kopitar will turn 30 years of age before the start of the season and perhaps age is one of the reasons for his dismal goal total of 12 last season. The other reason could be his lack of quality wings flanking him, neither of which may change this year.
- Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames: He had wrist surgery following last season, which is always somewhat concerning for a hockey player. All seems to be well and another 30-goal season could very well be in his future.
- Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues: I still don’t understand why the Flyers traded him. I have to believe there was something behind the scenes. It’s not that the return wasn’t fair, just that it’s hard to trade a proven talent.
- Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks: Will this finally be the season that the Sharks relent and make Couture the first-line center? Probably not, but he’ll still produce on the second line as well.
- Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: The talent is there, it’s just up to Colorado to get it out of him. It would also be nice if the Avs stop letting all of his talented teammates leave one way or another.
- Kyle Turris, Ottawa Senators: He has been a solid goal scorer in three of the past four seasons. If he could ever get his PP production up he’d move into the Top 20 rather than just outside of it.
- Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens: It still wouldn’t surprise me if he’s moved eventually for a defenseman as that is an obvious team need. The early talk is that Montreal may move him back to wing. He’s been a yo-yo the past couple of seasons. It would be nice if they just left the talented young forward alone.
- Bryan Little, Winnipeg Jets: If you know hockey, look at the Top 2 lines for the Jets. There is quite a bit of talent there, as they may have one of the best groups of Top 6 forwards in the NHL.
- Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche: Will he be traded? Fantasy-wise you hope so. If he ends up with a better team his Fantasy value would rise, but it seems GM Joe Sakic is just afraid to pull the trigger on a deal.
- Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers: Was on his way to a breakout season last year before an injury derailed it. A 30-goal season is not out of the question.
- Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings: The only reason I have Carter this low is that the Kings may change his line mates (Tyler Toffoli/Tanner Pearson) and move them to the top line to try and get Kopitar going once again.
- Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning: Johnson had his breakout season in 2014-15 with 29 goals and 43 assists but he’s struggled ever since. Still, he’s a worthy pick if you can get him this late because if he rediscovers that magic, he can win a league for you.
- Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs: Was last season the beginning of big things for Kadri? It seems that as the team got better, so did he.
- Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks: The future Hall of Famer is miscast as a top line center. Hopefully, the Sharks realize this and move him down to a secondary role.
- Ryan O’ Reilly, Buffalo Sabres: Buffalo has a better offense than given credit for, but it’s unlikely that O’Reilly will better his career season from 2013-14 (28G, 36A).
- Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars: The Stars are likely to go with a power line of Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, and Seguin, which doesn’t leave much talent left for Spezza to play with.
- Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks: Not a whole bunch of upside here with Kesler, as he will likely do what he always does: 22 goals and 30 assists.
- Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers: Only eight PP goals in his NHL career keep his value down.
- Alexander Wennberg, Columbus Blue Jackets: The 46 assists last season make you stand up and take notice but he doesn’t shoot the puck enough as his 109 shots in 80 games tell you.
- Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild: Seemed to find the fountain of youth last season but I’m not banking on him getting a refill.
- David Krejci, Boston Bruins: The Bruins need Krejci to produce in order to be a competitive team this season. They are an aging team, especially up the middle with Bergeron and Krejci.
- Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings: He will be 37 years of age during the first week of the season. There just isn’t much left.
- Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild: Had his best season, goal-wise, since 2009-10, a whopping 18. There just isn’t much upside here.
- Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers: Do the Rangers have a top line forward on their roster? They certainly don’t for Fantasy.
You can feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.