Part I: Centers
Lets just say for arguments sake the owners and players quit their whining and come up with a new CBA agreement around December, therefore giving us at least half a season. Although this may or may not be the case, lets just make pretend for a moment.
Besides the excitement of going to games, wearing your favorite players jersey, and screaming your heads off, we all look forward to something else come NHL season. Something that is a little more in our control yet can drive a man mad (or girl).
Yes. I’m talking about Fantasy Hockey.
Whether you’re in a paid league, unpaid league, Yahoo Fantasy, CBS Fantasy, or you’re just in it for the money or love and statistical side of the game, the bottom line is, if you’re a hockey fan, odds are, you’re a Fantasy Hockey fan too.
Unfortunately for us, without a hockey season, there will be no Fantasy Hockey, which means no gaining or losing money, no pulling out your hair when you find out your best player is ruled-out with a concussion, and no draft parties. Total buzz kill.
But just in case the NHL and NHLPA decide to grow up and come to an agreement, here is my list of the top 25 best and OBVIOUS players by position IF and WHEN there is a 2012-2013 season. Over the course of the next 5 days, I will be posting an article giving you the top 5 best players from each position.
Top 5 Best Centers
1. Evgeni Malkin- This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. Coming off his best season thus far being awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award, the 26-year-old and 4 time All-Star Evgeni Malkin is my choice for not only the best at his position, but the best fantasy player overall. Beyond Malkin tallying an incredible 109 points and 70 PIMS last season, he did it all without the help of power play line mate Sidney Crosby. Luckily for Malkin, James Neal stepped up to the plate and assisted the Russian all-star into scoring 50 goals for the first time in his career. Now with a healthy Crosby back in the line up, there is no telling how lethal those three will be on the power-play.
2. Steven Stamkos- I wasn’t completely sold on the talented Mr. Stamkos at first. But after back-to-back-to-back seasons of absolute greatness, including last years 60-goal season, it’s hard to not respect the 22-year-old and his offensive skills, especially when he has veteran forwards Marty St. Louis, and Vinny Lecavalier supporting him. The only issue with Stamkos is his inconsistent plus/minus. Though it’s not quite as poor as Alex Ovechkin’s, this is the only thing separating him from Evgeni Malkin.
3. Sidney Crosby- Lets be realistic. If it wasn’t for the burden of concussions that plagued Crosby and his last two seasons, chances are he would still be the Crosby that you all love to hate. You know, the really good centerman and youngest captain to ever win a Stanley Cup? Yeah, that one. Sid the kid was in tip-top shape when he returned to the ice after battling one too many head injuries last season. Although he only appeared in 22 games, he still managed to notch 37 points, a +15 plus/minus rating, and 14 PIMs. If Crosby remains healthy next season, you can count on Pittsburgh’s offense to be even more dominant than it was last season.
4. Henrik Sedin- It’s hard to overlook Henrik Sedin as he is ½ of one of the best dynamic duos in hockey. (The other half, being his brother Daniel.) In the past three seasons, Henrik has not missed a single game, has tallied 225 assists (which is 43 more than anyone else) and has accumulated 287 points, also being the most. While Daniel may be the flashy goal scorer, Henrik is an outstanding play-maker who earned himself 81 points last season and a ridiculous plus/minus rating of +23. But on top of all that, the Sedin brothers (or as some of you call them, the “Sedin Sisters”) are known to play dirty here and there so Henrik will give your fantasy team a heaping amount of PIMs as well.
5. Jonathan Toews- Unfortunately for this young centerman, he was dealt with a concussion last season that sidelined him for 23 games. But luckily for the 24-year-old captain, he is a bounce back type of player who will NOT disappoint. Toews has been in the league for 5 years now and has tallied 50+ points each year, with 76 points being his best. With coach Joel Quenneville having tendencies of changing his line ups from time to time, you know that Jonathan Toews will always have an All-Star winger on his side whether it’s Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, or Patrick Kane .
If you enjoyed this article, please check back TOMORROW for Part 2: Right Wingers.
Thank you for reading! Feedback is always encouraged! Please leave comments below!
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