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Top-5 centers in the Eastern Conference?

August 3, 2019, 12:36 PM ET [42 Comments]
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Todd Cordell

1. Sidney Crosby

Crosby put up 100 points, posted remarkable on-ice numbers at 5v5 (54.52 CF%, 56.46 xGF%, 65.60 GF%), and led the league in Goals Above Replacemant, according to Evolving-Hockey. If he's not the best player in the NHL, he's still right there.

2. Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron is as good as it gets away from the puck and he just put up 79 points in 65 games. He remains a constant on this list.

3. Auston Matthews

Since entering the league, Matthews ranks a distant 1st in 5v5 goals/60 and he also drives play a little. I think the best is yet to come.

4. Sean Couturier

Couturier has always been one of the league's best defenders. With back-to-back 30+ goal, 70+ point seasons in his back pocket, he's clearly developed into a premium two-way threat.

5. Sasha Barkov

I know he posted ridiculous counting totals last season but his defensive numbers quietly took a bit of a hit. The Panthers actually allowed more shots, goals, and chances per 60 *with* Barkov on the ice than they did without. I'm going to bet it's just a one off.

James Tanner

#1) Crosby - he scored 100 points last year, and he is also among the league's best defensive players. If McDavid has surpassed him for the best player title, it's by inches. To be honest, it's a miracle he still remembers his own name, let alone is still the best player in the game. Crosby is a legend.

#2) Auston Matthews - He is 3rd in the NHL in 5v5 p/60 over the last two years, and is the 5th highest scoring player per minute if you include his rookie years. Since entering the NHL he is far and away the highest goal scorer per minute. He's not even close to his ceiling yet and he's already one of the three players in the NHL.

#3) Patrice Bergeron - the best defensive forward since Marian Hossa retired, he is also the centre on the league's best line.

#4) John Tavares - all due respect to the defensive game of Barkov, but I'll take Tavares near-50 goals and dominant two way play.

#5) Alexander Barkov - clearly an amazing player, he is among the best defensive centres and he got 96 points.

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