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Top-5 centers in the Western Conference?

August 5, 2019, 12:08 PM ET [28 Comments]
HockeyBuzz Hotstove
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Todd Cordell

1. Connor McDavid

Has put up at least 100 points in three consecutive seasons and clearly established himself as the NHL's premium gamebreaker. It's a sin he's only made the playoffs once on the incompetent Oilers.

2. Nathan MacKinnon

Was a Hart Trophy finalist in 2017-18 and you can make a case he was better in 2018-19, recording more points while posting a higher CF%, GF%, and SCF% at 5v5. I think the Avalanche are going to have a very good 2019-20 season and he'll no doubt be leading the charge. I could see another Hart finalist coming.

3. Ryan O'Reilly

Remember when people said ROR couldn't be a No. 1 center? Well, he recorded 77 points in 82 games for the Stanley Cup champions while playing top competition on a nightly basis. He also finished 5th among all players in Evolving-Hockey's Goals Above Replacement (GAR).

4. Elias Pettersson

This guy can hammer the puck, create chances for his teammates, drive possession, and he draws penalties in bunches. He's already one of the more dynamic players in the league and he's just getting started. I wouldn't be surprised if he ranks higher this time next year.

5. Mark Scheifele

Has recorded at least a point per game in three consecutive seasons for the Winnipeg Jets while taking on more responsibility – such as higher PK TOIs – each year.

James Tanner

1. Connor McDavid - obvious choice since he's - at worst - the 2nd best player in the NHL.

2. Ryan O'Reilly - A two-way centre in the mold of Peter Forsberg, Ryan O'Reilly is in competition for best all-round player in the NHL. He won a Stanley Cup and is still possibly underrated.

3. Nathan Mackinnon - Hart Trophy upside and the floor of being one of the fastest, most exciting to watch players in the NHL.

4. Tomas Hertl - His 2.61 5v5 Points/60 is top ten among centres and more than Eichel, Draisaitl or Kuznetov. He scores and rarely has to defend since he has a completely sick 54% possession rating.

5. Leon Draisailt - he only played half his minutes at centre, and he should never be separated from Mcdavid, but if he did/ when he does play centre, he's among the best in the game.

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