What's Happenin'? Sven back with my final position rankings going into this season - top 20 Centres. Forwards are incredibly deep this season and there are plenty of great veteran options down the middle, with a few young guns to look out for! Here are C's 11-20:
11. Elias Pettersson
Quite possibly one of the most disappointing 2020-21 players, Petey only managed 26 games played but registered 21 points. You were punching your laptop if you took a chance on him at his 2nd-3rd round ADP, but you’d be living under a rock if you didn’t think the 5th overall pick could bounce back. Fresh off signing his bridge deal, Vancouver’s top six looks dangerous as ever. Whether he has Conor Garland or Brock Boeser on his right side, Pettersson has the highest ceiling in this group. I’m grabbing him wherever I can this fantasy season.
12. Patrice Bergeron
Seemingly an ageless wonder, I would think it’s at least another couple years before Bergeron slows down. As long as he has Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak to play between, he’s a safe pick in my books as long as he stays healthy!
13. Mathew Barzal
I’m a season ticket holder in the “Barzal would be a 90-point player on any other team” club. Though I think a full 82 games with Anders Lee on his wing should get him back to the point-a-game pace, he is playing on the most defensively structured team on the league and plays Centre for them. I’m hoping we see him bump up to around three shots per game, but the assists and STP should be solid considering the weapons in their top six.
14. Steven Stamkos
Honestly, Stamkos is more of a winger nowadays but I wasn’t sure where to squeeze him into that article, so here we are. The game notes on Stammer are the same going into every season – if you’re willing to take the injury risk, he can be a game breaker for your team. He missed 20 games in the Covid year but was still very productive playing alongside Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn, and it’s likely they will be Tampa’s “2nd line” again this season. I never draft Stamkos, but the 80-point upside is still there.
15. Tyler Seguin
It’s hard to say what a player is exactly capable of after missing a full regular season. Seguin suited up for just three games in the Covid season, scoring two goals on eight shots. So basically what I’m saying is if he played 56 games he would have scored 38 goals… Kidding! If there’s anyone that is capable of bouncing back it’s this stallion. His 2019-20 was a bit of a down year, but his S% slipped to 7%, a career low. I could easily see Seguin getting back to the 25-goal, 65-point range with a very sexy shot rate.
16. Sean Couturier
Yet another C that has been overlooked for quite some time, Couts missed 20% of last season due to injury but still put up solid numbers. The -4 rating was his first minus since the lockout season, and his 10 STP were the fewest in four seasons. He is bound to bounce back much like many of his Flyers teammates this season, and I anticipate him being a great option in the middle of your draft.
17. John Tavares
Tavares’ output is as steady as they come so long as he’s top six on the Leafs, but the dip in ATOI last season scares me. It’s no secret the torch has been passed on to #3 on this list, and the game isn’t getting any slower. I wouldn’t suggest a massive regression from JT this season, but I would be shocked if he’s point-a-game this year. That being said, the floor is very high and safe.
18. Nicklas Backstrom
Currently considered week-to-week, Backstrom will miss time to start the season as he recovers from hip surgery. I’ve been super transparent about being completely off the Capitals this season, but you can’t not include one of the most underrated players of my hockey-viewing era. The Swede turned back the clock in our Covid season as one of the early sell-highs, but the scary drop in goals keeps him from being any higher on this list.
19. Anze Kopitar
Just when I think Kopitar is going to drop off the face of the fantasy earth, the Slovenian Stallion gets it done yet again. LA is one of the biggest wildcards going into this season, but with him and Drew Doughty running at full steam they could be a playoff team again. Though the S% took a dip last season, he’s at least two more years away from losing any of his 1C ice time. I’m confident taking Kopitar right around his ADP of 8th or 9th round.
20. Nick Suzuki
I was a little troubled on who to toss in here at #20. Joel Eriksson Ek had an unbelievable year last year, but I’m going to stick with one of the best players in the Playoffs last year. Suzuki matched his rookie point total last season in 15 fewer games, and proved he’s ready to play against other teams’ best players. With the departure of Phillip Danault I can see the ATOI eclipsing 20 minutes this year, which should mean more shots and STP. Suzuki has one of the higher ceilings on this list, but realistically I think he’s a full season away from that 70-to-80-point mark.