Top 5 Centers in the NHL

Hockey article at Knup Sports

A list of the best centers in the NHL from 5-1 and explanations as to why.

The NHL’s most important position is the Center due to the fact they need to drive the offense for their team and have more defensive responsibility than wingers. This article will rank the top five centers currently playing in the NHL based on 50 percent of the 2022-23 season, 25 percent of the 2021-22 season, and 25 percent of 2020-21.

5. Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby is arguably the greatest player of his generation, but he is older now, and that’s why he ranks at number five. Crosby still is one of the game’s best playmakers and averages over a point a game.

Crosby is also still one of the game’s best defensive forwards finishing 14th in the Selke voting in 2020-21 and top 40 in 2021-22. Crosby still has the elite skating and puck skills he has always had and provides veteran leadership as he looks to add one more Stanley Cup to his resume.

4. Leon Draisaitl

Leon Draisaitl is currently one of the game’s best goal-scorers and is arguably the best finisher on the power play in the league. He currently leads the NHL in power-play goals with 23 and led the league in 2020-21 with 15.

Draisaitl was top 10 in Hart voting each of the last two seasons and will definitely be top 10 this year. Being the second-best center on his team tends to have people overlook him, but just like Evgeni Malkin with Crosby years ago, Draisaitl still deserves his spot on this list.

3. Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews led the league in goals each of the last two seasons and has the best wrist shot of anyone currently in the league. Matthews also took home the Hart Trophy last season while also being the first player since Steven Stamkos to score 60 goals in a season.

Matthews has dealt with injuries this year but is still over a point per game player and has the Toronto Maple Leafs second in their division. Matthews simply needs more playoff success to jump ahead of the next two guys on this list.

2. Nathan MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon is a nightmare for defenses when he’s in open ice, as he might be the second-fastest player in the league. MacKinnon has the size and skill to match, as shown by his over-a-point-per-game stats from each of the last two seasons.

MacKinnon also had dealt with injuries, but why he ranks ahead of Matthews is simple, he’s the reigning Conn Smyth winner. A playoff run for the ages last season cemented his spot on this list.

1. Connor McDavid

I will not bore anyone with an explanation; if you don’t have Connor McDavid number one, stop talking about hockey and go watch the NBA.

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